Boyd, Clemson strike early and often against Wake

Scott Keepfer, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said it took Tajh Boyd 59 plays to find his groove last week against N.C. State.
On Saturday afternoon against Wake Forest, it took just three.
Boyd, the Tigers' record-setting senior quarterback, connected with Sammy Watkins for a 64-yard touchdown on the third play of the game and No. 3 Clemson rolled to a 56-7 victory over Wake Forest.
"We wanted to make sure we started off this game with a bang," Boyd said. "The crowd barely had a chance to sit down."
Boyd certainly got his, taking a seat on the bench after leading the Tigers to their sixth touchdown midway through the third quarter.
In 2 1/2 quarters, Boyd completed 17 of 24 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 2 yards for a fourth score, giving him 102 for his career in terms of touchdown responsibility, which ranks second all time to former N.C. State standout Philip Rivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Rivers had 112.
Boyd also was Clemson's leading rusher in the game with 69 yards on 17 attempts and for good measure broke the school record for consecutive passing attempts without an interception with 166.
"The most impressive thing about him is how much he has progressed since he has been at Clemson," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "He protects the football and does a great job throwing the ball and scrambling when he needs to."
Clemson improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in ACC play. Wake Forest slipped to 2-3, 0-2.
Boyd said he'd been putting too much pressure on himself in recent games but returned to having fun in front of a homecoming crowd of 80,607 at Memorial Stadium.
On a day that he also became Clemson's career leader in total offense with 9,971 yards, Boyd regained his smile.
"I was smiling out there a lot today," he said.
He had plenty of reasons. Boyd directed touchdown drives on the Tigers' first three possessions and Clemson forged a 35-7 halftime lead. The Tigers' eight touchdowns came from seven different players and the team's high-octane offense amassed 573 yards.
"There were no lulls in our play," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We played a ton of guys and they played to our standard of excellence. We played outstanding in all three aspects of the game."
The defense certainly did its part, limiting the Demon Deacons to 222 total yards, including only 60 on the ground.
Wake Forest's lone score came late in the first quarter with Clemson already ahead 21-0. Quarterback Tanner Price directed an eight-play, 54-yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard scoring strike to Sherman Ragland III. But that was about the last bright spot for Wake Forest.
"My biggest disappointment today was that we did not play good fundamental football," Grobe said. "If you aren't fundamentally sound against a team like Clemson, it can come back to bite you, and the score shows that."
Clemson's 56 points were the second most scored by the Tigers against Wake Forest, trailing only the 82 points the Tigers put on the board against the Deacons during their 1981 national championship season.
Watkins caught just one pass in the second half but led the Tigers with six receptions for 113 yards. It was his ninth career 100-yard game.
Several young players had career firsts for the Tigers. Sophomore Zac Brooks scored his first rushing touchdown and freshmen Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett had their first career touchdown receptions.
For Wake Forest, All-ACC receiver Michael Campanaro caught seven passes for 75 yards, but Price had a miserable afternoon. Wake's senior quarterback was under pressure all day and struggled to a 14-of-22 afternoon for 125 yards. He was intercepted once and sacked three times.
NOTES: Clemson was 6-for-6 in the red zone, improving the Tigers' offense to 16-for-16 this season in red zone opportunities. ... In four career games against Wake Forest, Boyd had 1,255 yards of offense, a Clemson record for total offense against the same opponent in a career. ... Grobe remained two victories shy of tying "Peahead" Walker for the Wake Forest school record of 77 victories. ... The Demon Deacons fell to 2-23 all time against ranked Clemson teams.

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