Tigers Hang 70 on Helpless Chippewas

Jacoby Ford

CLEMSON – Central Michigan and its 110th-ranked defense was exactly what Clemson needed to help put to ease many of the offensive ills for the Tigers, which had scored just two touchdowns in their last 34 possessions.

Clemson mauled the Central Michigan defense to the tune of 656 yards and 10 offensive touchdowns on its way to a 70-14 destruction of the Chippewas Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

It was the most points scored by a Tigers team since 1981 and the first time in school history that they had at least 300 yards rushing and passing in the same game. It is also the second-most amount of total yards gained in school history.

Thank God for the Chippewas.

"I think there was a pretty big difference in the talent level in this game," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "We had lost the last couple of games and these boys had been beat down pretty good the last two weeks and I think we were ready to play. … I think they just caught us at a bad time."

It was evident from the outset that the Tigers (5-2, 2-2 ACC) were going to work on the running game, and in particular C.J. Spiller. Both were accomplished in spades as Clemson rushed for 341 yards, 96 of which came from Spiller. He also scored a touchdown.

"I was real proud of the offensive line," Tigers offensive coordinator Rob Spence said. "It was just a matter of time until they jelled and came together."

Not to be out done, redshirt junior quarterback Cullen Harper set a few more school records. He was an amazing 20-of-22 for 273 yards and five touchdowns.

His 91 percent completion percentage is the highest for a single game in Clemson history. Also, his five touchdowns tie his own school record that he set earlier this year.

But this was more than just rolling up yardage and stats for the offense. This was a game that will be used as a confidence booster as the Tigers prepare to finish out the rest of their season.

Other than Spiller, no single player or unit needed a pick-me-up as much as the offensive line, which has been the subject of much criticism by the media, coaches and fans.

With Thomas Austin as the starting center and Brandon Pilgrim at right guard, the Tigers were able to protect Harper better than they had. They also were able to open up holes for the two star tailbacks.

"We had our mind set that we were going to come out and run up and down the field," Austin said. "We've been wanting to show what we're capable with blocking and running the ball."

However, all this came against one of the worst defenses in the nation and a team that entered giving up 45 points per game on the road.

"We did the same thing against N.C. State and we wound up losing two straight games," Spiller said. "We can't let what happened today get too much in our heads."

For the most part, that was the sentiment of nearly all the players interviewed after the game. They no doubt have already heard such musings from their head coach, who said there was almost nothing that either took place or learned that can or will carry over next week at Maryland.

"I don't have an extra week, the talent level is going to be different, the environment is going to be different, the schemes are going to be different," Bowden said. "That's what I mean when I say that you can't take a whole lot from this game. …

"I just don't think it's going to be that significant. Five wins isn't a significant amount of wins and that's how many we have."

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