Clemson vs. Maryland Series
Clemson Has History of Great Return Performances against Maryland
Last Year vs. MarylandClemson 56, Maryland 45 – at College Park, MDEven though they trailed by 18 points with 11:56 remaining in the third quarter at Maryland, the #8-ranked Clemson Tigers never thought they were going to lose. And when freshman cornerback Bashaud Breeland intercepted a pass by C.J. Brown and returned it 29 yards to the Maryland 15, they believed it even more.
“I thought it was the spark,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “That is what I told the team. Breeland’s pick was the spark.”
Breeland’s first career interception set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins to pull the Tigers within 11 points, and from that point on, Clemson outscored the Terrapins 39-10 in rallying to a 56-45 victory. The wild comeback, which featured four different Tigers scoring touchdowns, was the second-greatest in school history, bested only by the 1992 team’s 28-point rally at Virginia.
It showed up when most thought it was over. However, Clemson never wavered in its approach, even when a muffed punt by Watkins at his own nine and a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cameron Chism gave Maryland an early 14-3 lead.
But Clemson kept fighting, as Andre Ellington scored on a three-yard run and DeAndre Hopkins caught a six-yard touchdown from Boyd to keep Clemson within striking distance at 28-17. The Tigers kept believing, even when Maryland took the opening drive of the third quarter and scored a touchdown thanks to a 22-yard pass from Brown to tight end Matt Furstenburg.
Boyd completed 11-12 passes at one point. Overall, he passed for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Boyd finished the night 26-38 with two touchdown passes to Watkins, one to Hopkins, and one to Jaron Brown.
The Tigers also stuck with their running game, as they rushed for 306 yards on 42 carries, with Ellington leading the way with 212 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard touchdown run with 3:55 left to seal the win. Ellington was named ACC Offensive Back-of-the-Week for his efforts.
Watkins, who was named ACC Receiver-of-the-Week and ACC Rookie-of-the-Week, made the best of his first-quarter fumble and turned in a night to remember. The first-year freshman broke C.J. Spiller’s school record for all-purpose yards in a game with 345 while also scoring three touchdowns, including an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave Clemson a 49-45 lead after Maryland had reclaimed the lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Watkins also had a 70-yard kickoff return in the first quarter that set up Ellington’s first touchdown.
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