CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson made short work of visiting Ball State on Saturday, efficiently dispatching the visiting Cardinals with a 45-point first half en route to a 52-27 victory. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver DeAndre Hopkins struck early and often, combining for three touchdown passes in an eight-minute span of the second quarter as Clemson won its eighth consecutive home game. Playing before a crowd of 78,000 at Memorial Stadium, the 12th-ranked Tigers removed most of the drama from this one in quick fashion, scoring on seven of their eight first-half possessions. Andre Ellington staked Clemson (2-0) to a 13-0 lead with two short touchdown runs in the first quarter, but Ball State's Horactio Banks, who finished with 120 yards on only seven carries, scored on a 54-yard run to cut Clemson's lead to 13-7 heading into the second quarter. Then Boyd got hot, connecting with Hopkins on touchdown passes of 13, 34 and 15 yards on consecutive possessions as Clemson's lead swelled to 35-10. Roderick McDowell added a 27-yard scoring run and senior kicker Spencer Benton kicked a school and Atlantic Coast Conference-record 61-yard field goal on the final play of the half to cap the Tigers' onslaught and provide the Tigers with a 45-10 halftime cushion. Benton's kick broke by four yards the previous school record held jointly by Chris Gardocki, who kicked a 57-yard field goal against Appalachian State in 1990, and Obed Ariri, who had a 57-yarder against Wake Forest in 1977. Hopkins, who had 119 yards on a school-record 13 receptions in last week's victory over Auburn, was once again the Tigers' workhorse, as star receiver Sammy Watkins sat out his second and final game of a suspension. Watkins was suspended for the first two games of the season as punishment for his on-campus arrest for marijuana possession on May 3. Hopkins matched a school record by recording his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game. Boyd yielded to backup quarterback Cole Stoudt late in the first half and did not return. Ellington also played sparingly, carrying only 13 times for 41 yards. Ball State (1-1), which had a school-record 36 first downs in a season-opening victory over Eastern Michigan last week, found yards tougher to come by against Clemson. The Cardinals managed only seven first downs and 159 total yards in the first half. Jahwan Edwards, who had 200 yards rushing in the Cardinals' opener, managed only 54 yards on 11 carries. NOTES: Clemson starting left guard David Beasley sustained an ankle injury on the Tigers' second possession of the game and did not return. He was replaced by fellow sophomore Kalon Davis. ... Clemson's Reid Webster, a second-team left guard, was suspended for Saturday's game and next week's game against Furman for a violation of team rules. ... DeAndre Hopkins' three receiving touchdowns tied a single-game school record shared by Rod Gardner (2000), Tony Horne (1997) and Dreher Gaskin (1953).
- Ball State