Posted October 05, 2013 on
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Tajh Boyd kept his Heisman Trophy aspirations intact, throwing for 455 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters of work, and No. 3 Clemson beat Syracuse 49-14 on Saturday to spoil the Orange's Atlantic Coast Conference debut.
Boyd, who matched his school record in TD passes, hit Adam Humphries with scoring passes of 60 and 42 yards in the first quarter to help stake the Tigers to a big early lead, and they held the Orange at bay.
Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) entered the game as one of just 20 undefeated teams remaining in the Bowl Subdivision, and the Tigers made sure they wouldn't slip up against the Orange (2-3, 0-1) and their raucous Homecoming crowd of 48,961 by taking a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
The Tigers entered the game with 12 straight wins by double digits against unranked teams, beating the opposition by an average of 27 points. Only top-ranked Alabama has a longer streak (21) in the FBS.
Syracuse had won six straight at home dating to the 2012 season opener and had beaten two eleventh-ranked teams handily in the Carrier Dome the previous two seasons, but the Tigers demonstrated they're a cut above.
Boyd had a near flawless first half against Syracuse's blitzing defense, hitting 15 of his first 17 passes for 317 yards and four scores as his receivers repeatedly broke free in the Syracuse secondary. Sandwiched between the two scoring catches by Humphries was a 1-yard touchdown run by Zac Brooks that was set up by an 18-yard pass from Boyd to Sammy Watkins.
The Tigers upped the lead to 28-7 when Boyd hit Stanton Seckinger in the right corner of the end zone early in the second quarter.
Boyd, who had his first interception of the season when Julian Whigham picked off a deflection in the second quarter near the Syracuse goal line, finished 20 of 27 passing with two interceptions. He hit Martavis Bryant with a 40-yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter for a 35-7 lead and completed his stellar day with a 91-yard strike to Watkins late in the third.
His performance against the Orange - he also rushed for 16 yards - pushed his career total offense to 10,442 yards in less than three full seasons. That's third all-time in the ACC, behind only North Carolina State's Philip Rivers (13,582) and Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton (10,640).
The Orange's extra week of rest wasn't much help. The Clemson defense held Syracuse to 139 yards of offense in the opening half and nearly half that total came on Jerome Smith's 66-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Terrel Hunt, making just his second career start for the Orange, finished 8 of 24 for 52 yards with three interceptions and was sacked four times.
The Syracuse defense had to put pressure on Boyd, disrupt his rhythm, and force him to play the game on the run, and the Orange offense had to play keep-away to prevent the high-powered Tigers from switching into high gear. Clemson gave an early indication that strategy would be difficult to implement on both sides of the ball.
After winning the toss and electing to receive the opening kickoff, the Tigers took all of 34 seconds to score. Boyd froze the defense with a fake, then hit a wide-open Humphries over the middle for a 60-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Humphries had three catches for 118 yards in the first half as the Tigers outgained Syracuse by 300 yards before the break.
The Orange scored on their first possession of the second half, Prince-Tyson Gulley bursting for 28 yards to make it 35-14, but Syracuse was unable to capitalize on an interception midway through the period as Ryan Norton's 42-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.
Syracuse never quit and left a solid impression, with some trickery thrown in. Devante McFarlane gained 38 yards to the Clemson 19 on a fake punt on a fourth-and-9 play late in the third, but the Orange failed to convert on a fourth-and-4 play.
Boyd quickly made them pay. Standing at his own goal line, he hit Watkins in stride with an arcing spiral at the 45-yard line, and Watkins easily beat defender Ri'Shard Anderson for a touchdown.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford made the trip north, and he was excited to welcome Syracuse to the conference, which joined the ACC in July.
''It's just great to have Syracuse part of this conference,'' Swofford said before the game. ''I think what we can see ahead is unlimited potential in football.''
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AROUND THE WEB
It took just 38 seconds for Tajh Boyd and the explosive Clemson offense to jump on the board inside the Carrier Dome Saturday. The Tigers tamed the Orange 49 – 14 in SU’s inaugural ACC game thanks to Boyd’s masterful performance. They didn’t hesitate to score quickly and efficiently as they turned in three of their touchdown drives in less than a minute. Clemson took a...
Syracuse loses 49-14 to #3 Clemson. Here’s my knee-jerk reaction:
-Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense is fantastic. The Tigers carved up the Syracuse secondary right from the opening drive. That’s one of the best attacks in the country. If the Tigers beat Florida State they have a very real shot at the national championship game. SU’s defense just doesn’t have the talent to...
Syracuse defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough smiled a nervous smile. Just the thought of preparing to face Tajh Boyd can have that effect.
At least Bullough has had a bye week to help prepare for Clemson's star quarterback and the No. 3 Tigers (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who visit the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
''He challenges everybody,'' Bullough...
It started so simply for Clemson.
A quick pass left for 6 yards to Sammy Watkins on the first play from scrimmage, then a quick pass right to Adam Humphries for another 16 yards. The pressing Syracuse defense on its heels after just two plays, Tajh Boyd then dropped back, watched Humphries break open, and hit him for a 60-yard touchdown.
Three plays, 34 seconds. 7-0.
Here are your NCAA College Football Week 6 Beastmode Performers.
QuarterbackTajh Boyd, Clemson: 20 of 27 for 455 yards, 5 TDs and 2 Ints at Syracuse.
Running BackAndre Williams, Boston College: 30 carries for 263 yards, 5 TDs vs Army.
Wide ReceiverJeremy Johnson, SMU: 18 Receptions for 217 yards, 3 TDs vs Rutgers.
ConsiderationsFor the second week in a row, QB Jameis Winston, Florida...
Clemson is giving Syracuse a rough welcome to the ACC this afternoon, as the Tigers have taken a 35-7 lead into halftime at the Carrier Dome. The thing is – it could have been worse. Clemson elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal just before the half ended, but Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd was sacked by defensive tackle Jay Bromley before the play could really develop.
Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M had the week off to prepare for Ole Miss. Though the toughest part of Manziel’s season, his matchup with Alabama, is behind him, he still has plenty of chances to make an impact in the Heisman race with strong performances against schools like upcoming Auburn and Mississippi State, not to mention a showcase meeting with LSU as the...
Without a doubt, this Clemson Tigers team is the most talented team that has come to the Carrier Dome in a long time—maybe even back to the Auburn team that travelled to the Dome in 2001 that went undefeated just two years later.
Here are some keys for the Orange to keep the game close and maybe have a chance to win it in the end.
Matchup of DBs vs. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins...
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Quarterbacks Tajh Boyd of Clemson and Jameis Winston of Florida State head up the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Player of the Week honorees for Week 6 after leading their teams to conference victories with eye-opening performances on Saturday.
Boyd was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week after throwing for a school-record 455 yards and five touchdowns...
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows what'll happen should the third-ranked Tigers start thinking about their showdown with Florida State instead of Boston College on Saturday.
''We'll get beat,'' he said flatly.
Goodbye, undefeated season and so long national title hopes.
Swinney this week will remind his Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) to keep...
Coming off a productive bye week, Cameron Lynch is ready to get the show on the road against Clemson. The junior linebacker talks about Clemson's high-powered offense, quarterback Tajh Boyd and more inside.
What there to say? The Clemson Tigers are for real. Tajh Boyd is certainly for real. And Sammy Watkins is for real. As a whole, they just looked bigger, stronger and faster (at least for a while). The Syracuse Orange had some opportunities but refused to get out of their own way long enough to take advantage of those opportunities. And in the end, Clemson rolled to a 49-14 victory...