By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
Each week we take a look back at what the Clemson Tigers did right and what they did wrong on the gridiron. Today we grade the third-ranked Tigers’ performance at every position in Saturday’s 56-7 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Tajh Boyd was called out by offensive coordinator Chad Morris last week after a lackluster performance in the win over NC State. Well, Boyd answered the challenge. Playing with more poise and focus, he threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 69 more and another score. He also set interception avoidance record with 166 attempts without a pick. Backup Cole Stoudt was 10-11 for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Roderick McDowell got hurt early, but D.J. Howard came in and played well in his place. He ran the ball hard and did it all on that 75-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Boyd. Zac Brooks ran for a score, while C.J. Davidson had two from a yard out.
Wide Receiver / tight ends
Sammy Watkins got the Tigers going with a 64-yard touchdown from Boyd and finished the game with 113 yards. Mike Williams and tight end Jordan Leggett caught their first career touchdowns.
The Tigers have up two sacks, again early in the game. They responded well after that. Ryan Norton and backup Jay Guillermo were both sick and taken into the locker room to receive an IV. Shaw Anthony did a decent job starting at right tackle for Gifford Timothy who was out with a concussion.
Defensive end Vic Beasley got his sixth sack of the season, while the front constantly harassed Wake’s quarterbacks. Clemson had 10 tackles for loss and held Wake to 1.9 yards per carry.
Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony again played well, especially when it came to lining up the defensive line and getting everyone in the right gaps. Quandon Christian also had a sack. Ben Boulware had an interception. The linebackers played a big role while the Demon Deacons had only 222 total yards.
There were no interceptions, but the tackling was a little better plus Wake completed just 16 of 31 passes for 162 yards. The secondary allowed just 35 yards in the second half.
Wake Forest did have a long return and Bradley Pinion shanked a punt. Other than those two things, the special teams unit was solid. Chandler Catanzaro was perfect on his extra points.
Dabo Swinney had his team ready to play again as the Tigers won their 12th straight game against a non-ranked opponent, all by double digits. Chad Morris had the offense in rhythm as they piled up 573 yards and the defense held Wake Forest to 222 yards.