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Clemson's Boyd accounts for eightTDs vs. N.C. State

The SportsXchange

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Both Clemson and N.C. State entered Saturday's game with the identical records they had going into last season's game, but the similarities ended there.

Last year Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was intercepted twice in the Tigers' 37-13 defeat; this year he made amends, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for three more as Clemson rolled past the Wolfpack 62-48 at Memorial Stadium.

It was a record-breaking day for both teams, which combined for the highest-scoring game in Clemson history.

"What an incredible game," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We made it harder than it had to be."

Once he settled in, Boyd made it look easy.

The junior quarterback continued his recent hot streak, passing for 426 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for a career-high 103 more and three touchdowns. His eight scores broke school and Atlantic Coast Conference records for touchdown responsibility in a game.

He also set a school record with 529 total yards, breaking the record set by Woodrow Dantzler in 2001 against N.C. State.

But Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris was most impressed with the way Boyd and the offense reacted after N.C. State scored 24 consecutive points to erase a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter.

"Nobody ever blinked," Morris said. "There was unbelievable confidence on the sidelines. It was, 'Let's do what we do.' "

The Tigers (10-1, 7-1) did just that, scoring 42 unanswered points.

"We expect to score every time we get the ball," senior center Dalton Freeman said. "If that's what we have to do to win, we will."

Clemson, ranked 11th in the BCS, ran a school-record 102 plays and amassed 754 yards -- the second-best total in school history behind the 756 yards the Tigers posted in an 82-24 win over Wake Forest in 1981. Clemson and N.C. State combined for 110 points, breaking the record for most points set in that 1981 game, and totaled 1,351 yards -- the most in Clemson history by two teams.

Both teams had a 400-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers in the game.

But the Tigers were most pleased with winning a 10th game in the regular season for the first time since their national championship season of 1981.

"I feel like we broke down a lot of barriers," Boyd said. "We really wanted to get 10 wins in the regular season. I'm proud of the way the guys pushed through today. We proved that we can consistently win -- now it's time to finish strong."

Clemson, which won its school-record 13th consecutive home game, was eliminated from contention for a third ACC Atlantic Division title in four years courtesy of Florida State's win over Maryland earlier Saturday, but the Tigers kept alive their hopes for a BCS bowl berth. Clemson plays host to arch-rival South Carolina in its regular-season finale on Saturday.

N.C. State (6-5, 3-4) got a record-setting day of its own from senior wide receiver Tobais Palmer, who amassed an ACC-record 496 all-purpose yards, including 244 in kickoff returns.

But this game was mostly about Boyd, who continued his torrid play of late by completing 30 of 44 passes for 426 yards. He has 18 touchdown passes and a 200.73 passing efficiency rating in the Tigers' last four games. Clemson has averaged 51.3 points during that span.

"You have to give credit to Clemson -- that's a really good offensive team," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said. "They're not a good matchup for us. But we left too many opportunities on the board, way too many opportunities to score. They had too much skill for us, I guess."

Clemson jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead and appeared headed to its fourth consecutive blowout victory. But N.C. State stunned the Tigers with a pair of long touchdown passes from Mike Glennon to Palmer, then added an 18-yard scoring pass to Rashard Smith and a Nikilas Sade field goal for a 24-13 lead early in the second quarter.

But it was all Clemson from there as Boyd threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more in a 42-0 run that gave the Tigers a commanding 55-24 lead with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

Sammy Watkins had a career-high 11 receptions for 110 yards, including a 27-yard score, and tight end Brandon Ford had five catches for 101 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, for the Tigers.

Senior running back Andre Ellington added 124 yards rushing on 22 carries, his first 100-yard game since Sept. 29.

N.C. State freshman Shadrach Thornton had 114 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts while Palmer had seven catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolfpack.

NOTES: Clemson sophomore wide receiver Martavis Bryant had just 10 receptions this season, but four have gone for touchdowns. ...junior receiver DeAndre Hopkins became Clemson's career receiving yardage leader with 2,786 yards when he caught a 62-yard scoring pass from Boyd in the second quarter. ...sophomore defensive end Vic Beasley had three sacks and leads the Tigers with eight this season. ... Palmer's 219 receiving yards against Clemson were the most by an ACC player in a game this season. ... The Wolfpack's Earl Wolff, a senior safety, had a career-high 17 tackles.
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