Blacksburg, VA – The Clemson Tigers became the first team in ACC history to defeat ranked teams three weeks in a row with a 20-3 victory over No. 11 Virginia Tech.
“It was a great win for our team. I am just humble to be with this team. This is a special group of guys and I have been telling them all year. They had an opportunity tonight to show everyone else that they are special. I just can’t be more proud of them,” said Swinney.
For a change the defense was the key to victory Saturday at Lane Stadium. Clemson held the Hokies out of the endzone and gave up just 133 yards on the ground.
Xavier Brewer intercepted a pass with 10:01 to go in the first quarter on the Tigers 31 yard line. The pass bounced out of the hands of the Hokie receiver who would have had a first down. Clemson picked up a first down on a pass play to Dwayne Allen, but had to punt after Boyd was sacked on third down.
Jonathan Meeks grabbed a fumble in mid air and ran it to the three yard line of the Hokies, but a holding penalty on Andre Branch brought the ball back to the Tigers 41.
Clemson took advantage of the turnover with a field goal after an 11 play drive that went 45 yards. The Tigers had first and ten on the Hokies 14 but had to settle for the field goal. With 2:12 to go in the first Clemson led 3-0.
With 7:48 to go in the first half Tajh Boyd threw an interception at the Clemson 31. Tajh had thrown 141 passes without an interception before that play. Virginia Tech drove down to the Clemson 5 and had first and goal before the Tiger’s defense stiffened. The Hokies kicked a field goal with 4:35 to go in the half to tie the game 3-3.
Andre Ellington put the Tigers back on top with a one yard touchdown run. Clemson drove nine plays for 48 yards to go ahead 10-3 with 1:49 to go in the half. The key play on the drive was a 23 yard completion to Sammy Watkins on 3rd down and eight that gave the Tigers first and ten at the Hokies 12.
Tajh was 9-25 for 112 yards in the first half. Andre Ellington led had 11 carries for 29 yards at the half while Sammy Watkins had three catches for 38 yards. Clemson ran 44 plays in the first half.
Logan Thomas was 6-14 for 38 yards in the first half for the Hokies. David Wilson had 11 carries for 76 yards while Coale had three receptions for 21 yards for the Hokies at the half.
It didn’t take the Tigers long to get on the board in the second half. Clemson went 66 yards in 55 seconds on three plays. With 10:42 to go in the third Tajh Boyd hit Dwayne Allen on a 32 yard touchdown.
With 9:56 to go in the game the Hokies went for 4-4 and the pass was incomplete.
Mike Bellamy put the game away with a 31 yard touchdown run with 6:12 remaining.
The players gave head coach Dabo Swinney the game ball following the game. Dabo carried the ball with him into the postgame press conference and said he was not going to let go of it.
“Virginia Tech, man what a football team. It was a hard fought game and we had just enough offense and just a whole heck of a lot of defense and that was the ball game. Our special teams were outstanding. It was the first time we have beaten them since 1989 and it is their first loss in I think 13 ACC games and first regular season loss in 16 games,” said Swinney.
The Tigers will return to Death Valley next weekend when Boston College comes to town.