McCloud paying it forward

Sep 17, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (34) carries the ball while being defended by South Carolina State Bulldogs defensive back Devondre Powell (19) during the first quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

S.C. State’s Ahmaad Harris had to be the sickest man in the stadium on Saturday during Clemson’s 59-0 victory.

After Clemson running back Wayne Gallman scored from three-yards out to make the score 14-0 with 5:20 left in the first quarter, Harris caught Greg Huegel’s ensuing kickoff in the end zone and thought he went to a knee for a touchback.

The key word was “thought.” Instead, he just flipped it to the official, who realized the graduate student from Atlanta did not take a knee and got out of the way of the ball and let it bounce to the ground, where Clemson’s Denzel Johnson recovered it for perhaps the easiest touchdown in Clemson history.

On the sideline, Clemson wide receiver Ray Ray McCloud could not believe what had just transpired. Last week, he was the goat in a similar situation after he dropped the ball just before he crossed the goal line on what would have been a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.

“We were over there talking about that on the sideline. We were like, ‘That is ten times worse than mine,’” McCloud said.

McCloud’s mistake was the joke of the sports media world last week and even got rated No. 1 on ESPN’s Not So Top 10 Moments of the Week. But there will be a new No. 1 this week and his name is Ahmaad Harris.

“Once he makes a play or something, they will forget about that, but he will have it or a week,” McCloud said.

The Clemson wide receiver says he plans to reach out to Harris and let him know it is okay because at some point everyone is going to make a play like that, and that it will pass.

For McCloud it past quickly as he led the Tigers with seven receptions for 86 yards in the win over Troy, and then followed it up by leading the team again in receptions and yards against S.C. State, while also scoring on touchdown receptions of seven and 36 yards.

“Somebody did that to me so I’ll reach out to him,” said McCloud, who finished the game with four catches for 60 yards.

That someone who reached out to McCloud was Utah’s Kaelin Clay, who did the same thing McCloud did, on what should have been a 79-yard touchdown reception against Oregon in 2014. Instead, he dropped the ball at the one-yard line and the Ducks picked it up and ran it back for a 99-yard touchdown.

“He just told me, ‘Don’t let that define you. It happens to the best of us. I did the same thing. Fans are going to say what they say, just don’t let it bother you. You had a heck of a game. Just keep your foot on the gas,’” McCloud said.

Maybe they should not play anymore. Clemson and S.C. State have met four times in school history, and Clemson has outscored the Bulldogs 238-20.

Winners. Clemson has won 18 consecutive regular-season games. The Tigers’ last loss in regular-season play was at Georgia Tech in 2014. The Tigers play at Georgia Tech on Thursday evening.

3-0. Clemson is 3-0 for the second straight year and the fifth time in the last six years. Clemson was 3-0 just six times in the 48 seasons before Swinney became the full-time head coach in 2009.

No one plays FCS teams better. Clemson is now 31-0 against FCS teams.

Brooks has big milestone. Today was the 400th game at the FBS level for Clemson associate head coach and defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks.

Home sweet home. Clemson has now won 18 consecutive home games, a school record. It is the second longest active streak in college football behind 22 in a row by Florida State. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is now 48-6 in home games. The 88.9 winning percentage is the best in Clemson history, given a minimum of 15 games.

Record day. Fifteen Tigers recorded a catch, most in school history. Five Tigers completed a pass, most in school history. Clemson scored two touchdowns with 5:20 on the clock in the first quarter, the first time in school history the Tigers have scored “simultaneous” touchdowns.

Clemson’s 31 points in the first quarter marks the highest-scoring first quarter in school history. The previous high was 28 points at Duke in 2012.

Toss me a TD. Saturday’s game against SC State was the first time three different quarterbacks (Deshaun Watson, Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant) threw a touchdown pass in the same game since Clemson’s win over Presbyterian College in 2010.

TD Watson: Watson threw three touchdown passes today, giving him at least one touchdown toss in 18 straight games and at least one TD pass in 23 of his 26 career games.


–Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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