Clemson’s quarterbacks combined to achieve an uncommon feat on Saturday against S.C. State.
Deshaun Watson, Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant each threw a touchdown pass during third-ranked Clemson’s 59-0 victory, marking the first time since 2010 that three different Clemson quarterbacks threw for a touchdown in the same game since the Tigers’ win over Presbyterian College in September 2010.
That day, starter Kyle Parker threw two touchdowns before Tajh Boyd and Donny McElveen added one touchdown pass apiece.
Yesterday, Watson tossed three touchdowns, while Schuessler and Bryant each recorded one.
“It was cool to see everyone’s hard work pay off,” Schuessler said following the game. “Deshaun is always out there making all the plays, and we love it, but it’s also fun to get out there and finally have some hard work pay off.”
Together, the trio of signal-callers completed 23 of 31 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. Overall, Clemson compiled 555 yards of total offense.
Bryant said it was simply a matter of the quarterbacks “driving the car” well.
“’Drive the car,’ that’s what our motto here is,” Bryant said. “We’ve got all of these playmakers out here, and a great offense line, so just be the quarterback and do your job.”
After Clemson received the opening kickoff, Watson led a 10-play, 69-yard drive that he capped with a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud. The touchdown extended Watson’s streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 18.
Schuessler took over later in the first quarter with the Tigers up 21-0, and it took him only four plays to hook up with freshman receiver Diondre Overton for a 45-yard scoring strike.
Not only was it Overton’s first career touchdown reception, but it was also Schuessler’s first career touchdown pass.
“(Overton) just ran right past the corner, and the safety sat,” Schuessler said of the play. “He took off, and I just threw it up and let him do the rest.”
Schuessler was very efficient and posted Clemson’s highest quarterback rating in the game after finishing 7-of-11 for 118 yards and the touchdown.
“I feel good,” Schuessler said of his performance. “I obviously have some things I need to work on. We’ll get in there (Sunday) afternoon, watch the film and see what the coaches have to say about it. I feel like I did some good things, but I definitely have some things I need to work on and build off of.”
Bryant entered the game in the first quarter, as well, and concluded Clemson’s scoring in the fourth.
On first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Bryant lofted a perfectly placed, back-shoulder throw to Trevion Thompson for a touchdown.
It was Bryant’s first career touchdown pass, too.
“It was really good to get playing time out there, getting to throw one in the end zone to a receiver,” Bryant said. “That’s something I’m always going to remember, my first one here, so that was a really good feeling.”
Watson, Schuessler and Bryant shined on Saturday, though it didn’t stop there. Redshirt freshmen Tucker Israel and James Barnes played on Clemson’s final two drives and went 4-of-4 passing. It was the first time in Clemson history that five different Tigers completed a pass in the same game.
At the end of the day, after two weeks of uninspiring play on the offensive side of the ball, the game against S.C. State allowed the offense to get in sync and develop a much-needed rhythm heading into a short week of preparation for Georgia Tech on Thursday.
“Those first two games, we had some plays and mishaps that were uncharacteristic of us,” Schuessler said. “To get out there and come out of the gates running is good. We’re starting to hit our stride, so that once the bulk of our season gets here, we’re ready to roll.”