COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland nearly made its last ACC meeting with Clemson one to remember before succumbing, 40-27, to the ninth-ranked Tigers on Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The depleted Terrapins had a first half lead and closed to within three in the third quarter before Clemson (7-1 overall, 5-1 in the ACC) pulled away behind another strong effort from quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Boyd's five-yard run at 13:04 of the fourth quarter stretched Clemson's lead to 26-13, and tied an ACC record.
Watkins set a school record with 14 catches, and Boyd tied the ACC career record for touchdown responsibility with his 112th to equal Phillip Rivers' record set at North Carolina State from 2000-03.
But Clemson couldn't consistently get the ball into the end zone early against a stingy Maryland defense.
The Terrapins (5-3, 3-1), still searching for a sixth victory and bowl eligibility lost for the second straight week and the third time in the last four games.
Watkins finished with 163 yards receiving and Boyd was 28-of-41 for 304 yards. Boyd also rushed 13 times for 35 yards, as Clemson bounced back from last week's disappointing 51-14 loss to Florida State.
Sophomore Caleb Rowe, making his third career start, passed for 282 yards, hitting 19-of-45 for two touchdowns for Maryland.
The Tigers tacked on a three-yard scoring run by Roderick McDowell with 7:57 to play, and Rowe led a frantic 68-yard march, ending with a five-yard scoring pass to Amba Etta-Tawo with 5:58 remaining.
McDowell added a 45-yard scoring run, part of his 30 carries for a career-high 161 yards.
Stubborn Maryland had closed to within 16-13 in the third quarter following two Brad Craddock field goals, each after a Clemson fumble. But the Tigers mounted a 68-yard drive to cash in on Chandler Catanzaro's fourth field goal of the day, a 24-yarder at 6:42 to make it 19-13.
Clemson led, 16-7, at halftime, thanks to Boyd's five-yard scoring pass to tight end Jordan Leggett nine seconds before intermission. The score was set up by a 30-yard catch-and-run by Watkins, who had 10 first half receptions for 127 yards.
Before that score, the battered and bruised Maryland defense, missing four starters, held the high-powered Tigers to three field goals.
And after that first field goal, the Terrapins even managed a lead in their last ACC Homecoming game, as backup quarterback Rowe connected with backup wide receiver Lavern Jacobs for a 71-yard score and a 7-3 lead at 8:59 of the first quarter.
It was the Terrapins' longest scoring play of the season.
Maryland's offense also was playing minus five injured starters, including quarterback C.J. Brown, running back Brandon Ross, tight end Dave Stinebaugh and big-play wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long.
NOTES: The Tigers won what is probably the last meeting between the two long-time ACC rivals for a while, as Maryland is moving to the Big Ten next year. Clemson leads the all-time series, 34-26-2. ... Clemson will continue their streak of 38 consecutive weeks in the national polls, the seventh-longest such streak in the nation. ... When Maryland recovered a third quarter Clemson fumble, it was the first turnover produced by the Terrapins in the last four games.