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Player of the Game: No. 2 Clemson 54, Syracuse 0

Nov 5, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) outruns a Syracuse Orange defender on a quarterback keeper during the second quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Suffice it to say Deshaun Watson seems tired of people discussing his issues this season.

Watson put any doubts about his ability to execute a well-rounded game to rest early in Saturday’s 54-0 beatdown of Syracuse, leading second-ranked Clemson to a first-half explosion that rivaled any output the Tigers have had to date. At the same time, as his competition for college football’s top honor impressed all across the country, the junior quarterback announced his intention to continue his Heisman campaign into November.

Prior to exiting just before halftime with a minor shoulder injury, Watson put on a show. He completed 13 of his 16 pass attempts for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he rushed for another 39 yards and a score on seven carries. It may not have been his most productive day, but it was one of his most impressive in terms of aesthetics and efficiency.

Although he has struggled to complete downfield throws at times this season, Watson has typically excelled in the intermediate passing game. That was his bread-and-butter today. He hit Mike Williams and Deon Cain on multiple occasions on seam routes and posts, attacking the middle of the field with an aggression rarely seen since the start of the season.

Watson also found his touch on his only deep pass of the game, hitting Cain in stride for a 65-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline that gave the Tigers a 16-0 lead on the drive after after Watson’s one-yard walk-in score. Later, he hit Cain on a 23-yard bullet to move the chains on third down, a play that led to a 14-yard touchdown toss to Williams. At that point, Clemson led 23-0 midway through the second quarter.

All told, Watson’s day ended after he took a tumble following a strong tandem tackle after a cutback run in the second quarter. By then, he had amassed 208 total yards and helped the Tigers hit the gas pedal and speed away from the Orange.

Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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