Clemson has Record Performance
By Brandon Rink
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A number of school and ACC records were set in Clemson's win over NC State on Saturday.
Clemson trailed by two possessions against NC State midgame Saturday for the first time since the loss at Florida State in late September.
The Tigers also surrendered a school record 48 points at home to the Wolfpack.
But going into a date with No. 12 South Carolina in Death Valley, Dabo Swinney welcomed the challenge.
“We made it harder than it had to be,” Swinney said. “And we gave them a couple of sparks. It’s a good thing, though, because we haven’t faced a lot adversity of late.”
Down 13-0 in the first quarter, NC State took to the air, hitting back-to-back one-play scores of 77-and-49 yards from quarterback Mike Glennon to receiver Tobais Palmer to seize the lead. The Wolfpack then extended it to 24-13 on their next two drives, as the Tigers offense sputtered – leaving Memorial Stadium in a stunned silence.
But Clemson responded, much like they have all season, going eight plays and 78 yards with the first of five Tajh Boyd touchdown passes, and the Tigers’ train kept rolling in a 42-0 run late into the third quarter for the 62-48 win.
Boyd did it all, rushing for a career-high 103 yards with three scores – breaking the ACC record for touchdown responsibility with eight total touchdowns, and totaling 529 yards with his second 400-passing yard game of the season (426).
The junior signal-caller was matched, in passing, by State’s Glennon, who hit 29-of-53 throws for 493 yards and five touchdowns. He connected with Palmer for 219 of them with three scores, as Palmer shattered the ACC record for all-purpose yards with 277 return yards and 496 total yards.
Postgame, both coaches credited the Tigers’ offensive line, which surrendered zero sacks (to the No. 1 team in the ACC in the category), after giving up six in the 37-13 loss last season in Raleigh.
“Looking back, I was impressed with their offensive line,” NC State coach Tom O’Brien said. “We couldn’t get any pressure at all. We couldn’t get to him.
“I think that was one of the things we’ve counted on in the past. Then (Boyd) pulls it down and takes off running. He’s talented, there’s no question about it.”
Mounting an impressive ACC Player of the Year (and even Heisman) campaign, Boyd has one more on the to-do list before this season’s out.
“Beat South Carolina,” he said. “We have not defeated them in three years.
“It is one of those deals where it has to happen.”
His coach, despite the constant verbal back-and-forth with USC’s Steve Spurrier, is taking the same approach he has all season with his players.
“We need to make every day in the rest of our season count,” Swinney said. “I’ve told them the whole season, every week is the biggest game of the year and we need to finish this season off strong.”
As Boyd pointed out, the Tigers have lost three-straight in the series, and by 20 points per contest, after Swinney’s predecessor Tommy Bowden went 7-2 against the Palmetto State rivals.
Saturday’s game will feature the highest ranking for the two teams coming in since 1987, when Clemson was No. 8 and South Carolina No. 12.
“I don’t know how you can add more juice to the game,” Swinney said. “This is a huge game. It’s state pride on the line.
“If nothing else, it might have a little more national relevance when you have top-10 type teams in the same state battling it out. I think that’s pretty special.”
Record Rundown by the Numbers
Every other minute, it seemed, record-after-record fell Saturday – here’s a rundown.
8 – Boyd’s total touchdowns (5 passing; 3 rushing) for an ACC record; Also Clemson tight end Brandon Ford’s touchdowns on the season, to tie the school mark for tight end scores.
41 – Boyd’s total touchdowns for the season, setting the ACC record, which he set last season.
48 – Most points given up by Clemson to an ACC opponent.
63 & 491 – Clemson re-set a single-season mark for touchdowns from last season, and therefore the points record as well.
102 – Plays run by Clemson, for the school mark.
429 – NC State receiver Tobais Palmer's all-purpose yards, setting the ACC mark.
529 – Boyd’s total yards, for the school record.
919 – Most combined passing yards for both teams.
1,351 – Combined offensive yards, breaking a 23-year old Clemson record set in the Tigers’ national title season of 1981 (1,106 against Wake Forest in a 82-24 win, which also had the most points for Clemson previously).
2,786 – Clemson receiver DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins’ career receiving yards through three seasons, setting the school record.
3,208 – Clemson center Dalton Freeman’s career snaps, breaking the school mark.