By Scott Keepfer
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd bowed out in style in the final home game of his career Saturday, passing for 288 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 52-6 romp over the Citadel.
Boyd completed touchdown passes to five different receivers in the first half as Clemson bolted to a 42-0 lead and coasted from there.
He left the game to a thunderous ovation from Clemson fans during a time out with 1:39 left in the third quarter.
The senior completed 21-of-28 passes and pushed his career passing touchdown total to 102, becoming the 18th quarterback in FBS history to throw for at least 100 touchdowns in a career.
"It was a very emotional day," Boyd said. "I don't think we could've ended it better than we did today. It was special."
Boyd scripted quite the home finale. He threw five touchdown passes in a game for the sixth time in his career and earned his 31st victory as the Tigers' starting quarterback, one shy of the school record.
"He embraced his role and enjoyed every second as the quarterback at Clemson University," coach Dabo Swinney said. "His vision was to leave his mark on Clemson, and he has done that."
In a fitting tribute on Clemson's Military Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium, receiver Daniel Rodriguez scored his first career touchdown on a two-yard shovel pass with 14:10 remaining in the game.
Rodriguez, a redshirt sophomore, is a Purple Heart recipient who fought for in Afghanistan.
Clemson, ranked seventh in the latest BCS standings, improved to 10-1 with one regular-season game remaining, a Nov. 30 date at arch-rival South Carolina.
The Tigers also remain in contention for a second BCS bowl berth in three years.
"I told the seniors we have gotten 31 wins in not quite three seasons," Swinney said. "But we are not done yet. We may be done at home, but we are not done."
The Citadel, an FCS member that has lost 16 in a row against Clemson, finished its season 5-7.
The Citadel slipped to 0-28 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
Clemson showed that it has caught on to defending the triple-option offense.
The Tigers, who held Georgia Tech to nearly 70 yards below its average in their most recent game on Nov. 14, throttled the Citadel's option attack as well, limiting the Bulldogs to 176 yards rushing on 76 attempts, an average of 3.1 yards per rush.
The Bulldogs also managed to complete only 1-of-4 passes for minus-4 yards, the lowest passing total by an opponent in Clemson history.
Quarterback Ben Dupree led the Citadel with 69 yards rushing on 23 carries, but the Bulldogs could muster no consistency in front of a Memorial Stadium crowd of 81,554.
Clemson, which leads the nation in tackles for losses, hit its average with 10 against the Citadel, one of which led to a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Quandon Christian.
The Bulldogs were only 4-of-17 on third down conversions and had 172 total yards. Their only offense came from two field goals by Thomas Warren field in the second half.
"Their defensive scheme is the best we have gone against in our four years running the triple option," the Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said. "The talent they have is something we have not seen in a long time."
Clemson used a variety of weapons to post its third consecutive 50-point game and fifth of the season, both school records.
Senior running back Roderick McDowell had 108 yards on 21 carries and a nine-yard touchdown reception.
Stanton Seckinger, Mike Williams, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant added scoring catches as the Tigers amassed 558 yards of offense for an average of 7.4 yards per play.
"The speed they showed on the field is so much different than what we saw in practice," Higgins said. "When we go through practice each week we have the scout team trying to simulate their speed, but you just can't do that when we have guys running 4.8 and they have good guys running a 4.4."
The victory was Clemson's 18th in a row by double digits against an unranked opponent, the second-longest such streak in the nation behind Alabama.
NOTES: Clemson junior WR Sammy Watkins had seven catches for 58 yards, becoming the Tigers' all-time leader in receiving yards with 3,071. He topped the record held by former teammate DeAndre Hopkins, now of the Houston Texans. ... Clemson K Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals and six extra points, pushing his school-record point total to 395, the second-highest total in ACC history. ... QB Ben Dupree of the Citadel had 69 yards rushing to push his career total to 2,679, the sixth-best in school history and the second-most by a quarterback. ... Citadel coach Kevin Higgins was denied his 100th career win and is 99-82-1.