Boyd leads Tigers over N.C. State

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 20, 2013
Clemson struggled to get its offense running in high gear and spent much of Thursday night fighting to protect a slim lead. The third-ranked Tigers still did enough to stay unbeaten in the kind of game that often has slipped away in recent years. Tajh Boyd threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns to help Clemson beat North Carolina State 26-14, winning its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on the road. Clemson came in averaging 45 points and 490 yards but didn't score its first touchdown until late in the first half. ''We had two or three scoring opportunities that we didn't convert on and just missed them. Just that simple,'' Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. ''I thought we had a good game plan. I was pleased with how we were able to run the ball but disappointed with some execution in the first half. . . . But we cleaned it up, we battled hard and got it to the second half and we ended up coming alive.'' Boyd's 30-yard scoring pass to Martavis Bryant capped a critical third-quarter sequence -- including an apparent Wolfpack touchdown negated by an official's whistle -- that allowed the Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC) to seize momentum in front of a hostile crowd. Boyd found Bryant for another touchdown, with Bryant snatching the ball from defender Niles Clark for a 15-yard score that made it a three-possession game early in the fourth. Sammy Watkins added 10 catches for 96 yards, helping Clemson finish with 415 total yards. Shadrach Thornton scored the Wolfpack's first touchdown on a 21-yard run in the second for a 7-6 lead, but N.C. State (2-1, 0-1) couldn't complete the upset in coach Dave Doeren's first league game. The Tigers entered Raleigh with their highest ranking in 25 years and a prime spot in the national championship chase. They also came in with memories of their inexplicably bad performance here two seasons earlier, when the Wolfpack scored 27 second-quarter points en route to a 37-13 rout of the then-No. 7 Tigers. N.C. State followed that win with an upset of No. 3 Florida State here last year, and Doeren -- the former Northern Illinois coach -- said that history gave his veterans confidence they could do it again. But N.C. State's hopes of beating a top-10 team at home for the third straight season essentially ended in one frustrating sequence. Receiver Bryan Underwood, who stepped out along the sideline earlier in the game to cut short a long run, sprinted around the right side for what appeared to be an 83-yard touchdown to tie the game 13-13 midway through the third. But officials ruled Underwood stepped on the sideline at the Clemson 47 and blew the play dead, making it an unreviewable play -- TV replays appeared to show him remaining inbounds -- that led to boos raining down from the Carter-Finley Stadium stands. ''It was right in front of me,'' Doeren said. ''He didn't go out of bounds. Unfortunately, they blew it dead so they couldn't review it. It's an unfortunate deal. I know the guy felt bad about it. You can't do anything about it. That's just the way it is.'' Three plays later, Clemson's Vic Beasley knocked the ball loose from Pete Thomas on a sack for a fumble recovered by Spencer Shuey. Boyd and the Tigers' offense pounced on the opportunity, with Boyd hitting Bryant for the 30-yard score that made it 20-7 with 5:25 left in the quarter. ''I think for the offense we always go and find a way to make a play when it's needed,'' Boyd said. ''When we really need it, we go get it done. . . . It was huge. We had to make sure we got something out of it.'' Bryant's impressive grab for his second touchdown on Clemson's next drive made it 26-7 with 11:27 left -- and the booing over the Underwood call continued. ''It hurts, but hey, things happen in games,'' Underwood said. ''So you've got to bounce back with them, good or bad.'' Sam Cooper added an 11-yard touchdown catch with 2:23 left in the second that gave the Tigers a 13-7 halftime lead they wouldn't relinquish. Thomas threw for 213 yards on 20-for-36 passing for the Wolfpack and also ran for a late 4-yard score. N.C. State finished with 378 total yards, but failed to convert its first eight third-down tries and finished 3-for-16 for the game.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Best Names in College Football for 2016
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The NFL is thinking about eliminating the preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker