Tigers easily handle Hokies at home (US Presswire).
(AP) -- Each time Virginia Tech had a chance to build momentum and take control, Clemson was there to swipe it away.
were the three interceptions, two off of star quarterback Logan Thomas,
a fumble on a Hokies' punt return and two very big fourth-down stops in
Virginia Tech's 38-17 loss to the 14th-ranked Tigers on Saturday.
came down to about four, five, six plays," Virginia Tech coach Frank
Beamer said. "Those plays get the momentum going and the whole game
changes a little bit."
It changed plenty on a couple
of first-half plays. Ahead 7-0 and eager to go for the throat early,
Beamer chose to go for it on fourth-and-1 on Clemson's 18. Michael
Holmes was stopped short by linebacker Corico Wright and defensive end
Another moment came early in the
second quarter when a short punt by Clemson's Spencer Benton was touched
by Tech and recovered by Tigers linebacker Tony Steward. Six plays
later Tajh Boyd leaped for a 1-yard TD to put Clemson ahead for good
Still another occurred three minutes later,
with Thomas' pass sailing into the waiting hands of safety Jonathan
Meeks who took off for a 74-yard touchdown run.
"We just needed to make a couple of plays when they were there for the taking," Beamer said.
had 207 yards passing and a 29-yard scoring throw to Corey Fuller.
Thomas also rushed for 99 yards and his 19-yard touchdown in the run in
the fourth quarter gave the Hokies hope of a comeback.
that ended a short time later when a flanker pass by Marcus Davis was
picked off by Xavier Brewer. Boyd's second touchdown run ended the
Thomas has thrown five interceptions and
lost a fumble in his last 10 quarters against Clemson. No surprise the
Hokies have lost all three games.
Thomas said Virginia Tech did mostly what it wanted to on offense most of the game. "We played better than 17 points," he said.
ran for two touchdowns and passed for another for the Tigers, who were
held to their lowest offensive output of the season at 295 yards. Boyd
thought the team didn't come out as strong as he hoped for their first
game in two weeks. Still, Boyd said, in other seasons, such a showing
would lead to defeat. "I think it shows how far we've come," he said.
Ellington had a 12-yard touchdown run and 96 yards for the Tigers.
All-American receiver Sammy Watkins has his most productive game this
season with eight catches for 84 yards.
Dabo Swinney knew it was the defense that led the way in Clemson's
third straight victory over Virginia Tech. "They had a great
performance," Swinney said. "From the sidelines, I believe it was their
Boyd was 12 of 21 for 160 yards, 131 fewer than he averaged coming in.
tied a school record with its 11th straight home victory, something it
had done twice before from 1937-42 and 1989-91. To match the mark this
time, the Tigers had to count on their usually unreliable defense as
their high-flying offense was largely grounded. Boyd was sacked five
times after Clemson had allowed 10 its first six games.
Tech had entered this one stung by last year's failures against the
Tigers. After dominating Clemson for more than decade, the Hokies were
overrun in two games last year, including a 38-10 loss in the ACC title
Clemson celebrated Military Appreciation Day
and had walk-on receiver Daniel Rodriguez, U.S. Army veteran who was
awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, lead the team's charge down the
hill into the stadium carrying the American flag to loud cheers.
Rodriguez was also an honorary captain against Virginia Tech, the team
he grew up following.
"Everything just aligned for me in the game," Rodriguez said.