By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After a season ending injury cost star running back Andre Ellington the last five games of his 2010 season; it was very noticeable that the Clemson offense had to find itself a new identity. On Saturday against Wofford, Clemson fans were able to see the Ellington they know and love healthy getting back to his A-game.
Ellington ran for a 74 yard touchdown against the Terriers, the longest rush of his carrier, and he couldn’t have been happier after the game when we spoke to him.
“It felt great, just to see the fans get excited once again” Ellington said. “It was great to see my teammates get excited for me.”
Although Wofford put up quite a fight, the Tigers were able to come away with a 35-27 win. What did Ellington take away from the game? Was he surprised at how much fight the Terriers had in them?
“I wasn’t surprised at all, I knew those guys would come in here and give us their all,” Ellington said. “We had a lack of focus at the beginning of the game but got it going in the second half and came away with the win.”
The Tigers took the lead for the first time against the Terriers midway through the 3rd quarter. Did a sense of panic sink into Ellington at all while his Tigers were trailing?
“No not at all, we know what we’re capable of doing,” Ellington said. “We just have to go out there and communicate like we did and we’ll make big plays.”
So far this season, Clemson has developed a reputation for being a “Second Half Team.” How important is it to come out versus Auburn next week and play a good four quarters of football instead of starting off slow in the first half?
“We don’t want to develop that reputation,” Ellington said. “We’ve got to come out and play next week, and we can’t come out and just play the second half, we have to be prepared next week to play a full game of Clemson football.”
After a heartbreaking loss to the eventual National Champions last season, Ellington sees last year’s meeting as a bit of motivation going into next week’s meeting.
“We’ve got to use it as motivation,” Ellington said. “They’re a great team and if we go out there and play one half we’ll get beat we’ve got to play a full game. We just have to come out Monday and prepare well, we can’t take those guys lightly at all.”
Ellington finished the game on Saturday versus Wofford with 18 carries for 168 yards and Head Coach Dabo Swinney couldn’t be more pleased with his running back when we spoke to him after the game.
“It was good to see Ellington have a real tough workman like day,” Swinney said. “That touchdown run was the longest of his career so it was great to see him knock the rust off today from last season and get back into the groove.”