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Posted Sep 10, 2011
CLEMSON - It wasn't always pretty but at the end of the day the Tigers earned a hard-fought 35-27 win over Wofford.
Tajh Boyd threw three touchdowns and Andre Ellington ran for 165 yards as Clemson held on for a 35-27 victory over Wofford on Saturday.
The Tigers (2-0) hadn't faced the Football Championship Subdivision school since 2001 - and might wait that long again after this one. Clemson's defense struggled to stop the Terriers' triple-option attack and it wasn't until Clemson's Rennie Moore stopped Donovan Johnson on fourth-and-2 with 3:30 left that the Tigers could rest easy against Wofford (1-1), the defending Southern Conference co-champions.
Boyd had touchdown throws of 42 yards to Martavis Bryant, 38 yards to Sammy Watkins and 17 yards to DeAndre Hopkins. Ellington added a 74-yard TD run, the longest of his career. Ellington's total yards were one short of his career high, set last season against Georgia Tech.
Things will get more difficult next week when the defending BCS champion, Auburn, comes to Death Valley.
Still, the Tigers were happy to get away 2-0 for the second straight season - something they hadn't accomplished since 2000 and 2001.
The Tigers took the lead for good, 28-24, on Boyd's 5-yard touchdown run with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Wofford got within a point after Christian Reed's 38-yard field goal five minutes later, but could not come closer.
Boyd finished 18 of 29 for 261 yards. He also had four sacks in his second game running things for new offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
Clemson called on young players like Watkins and tailback Mike Bellamy to spark a second-half surge and power past Troy, 43-19, last week. The Tigers had hoped to carry that momentum against the Terriers and put them away in a hurry.
Instead, Wofford's pesky triple-option attack had the Tigers' inexperienced defense on its heels much of the opening quarter. After Clemson fullback Chad Diehl was stopped on fourth-and-1 at midfield, the Terriers took just five plays to break on top as Mitch Allen finished the drive with a 27-yard TD run.
Wofford kept it up two series later when Brenton Bersin ran 20 yards beyond the closest defender for an all-too-easy 66-yard scoring catch.
The Terriers used some surprise on their final score of the opening half when punter Kasey Redfern scrambled 28 yards for a first down on fourth-and-3 - Wofford punted fewer than four times a game last season - and a Clemson personal foul pushed the ball to the Tigers 13.
Breitenstein, the Southern Conference offensive player of the year last season, capped the drive with 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-13 lead. Clemson wasn't done in the opening half and got a little help from the Terriers. Boyd hit DeAndre Hopkins with a 17-yard pass on second-and-20 and Wofford jumped offsides a play later to keep the Tigers' drive going.
Boyd then delivered a well-thrown ball to Watkins between two defenders that the freshmen snatched from the air and took into the end zone. Hopkins converted a two-point play to tie things at 21.
Wofford's last lead came when it opened the second half with Reed's 24-yard field goal.
Allen finished with 92 of the Terriers' 272 yards rushing. Wofford led the FCS in rushing last season.
The game, played a day before the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, honored the military with a 21-gun salute, a flyover and a performance by The Citadel's Summerall Guard silent precision drill team.
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Sep 10, 2011
Teleconference news and notes
Sep 11, 2011
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