Aug. 30, 2011
Clemson vs. Troy Complete Game Notes
Clemson vs. Sun Belt This will be Clemson’s sixth game against a Sun Belt Conference team. The Tigers are 5-0 in the previous meetings and all those meetings have taken place since the turn of the century. Clemson has played Middle Tennessee twice, wins by the same score, 37-14, in 2003 and 2009.
Clemson also defeated Florida Atlantic to open the 2006 season, downed Lousiana Monroe in 2007 by a 49-26 score, and a 35-10 win over North Texas to open last season. This will be Clemson’s first game against Troy, the best team in that league over the last five years.
Clemson has outscored Sun Belt Conference teams 212-70 (42-14 on average) in those five previous games.
Clemson in Season Openers Clemson has won 21 of its last 27 season openers. That includes an 8-4 record the last 11 years when Clemson has played its most challenging season opening games.
Clemson has lost three of its last nine season opening games, but all three were to top 25 teams, twice to Georgia (2002 and 2003) and in 2008 to Alabama in a game played in Atlanta. Clemson has played five openers against top 25 teams in the last 12 years after having played just five top 25 teams in opening games between 1936 (first year of the AP poll) and 1999.
Clemson has had some exciting season openers in recent years. In 2004, against Wake Forest, Clemson won a thriller 37-30 in overtime in a game that was televised by ABC. Clemson won at home in 2005, a 25-24 win over 17th ranked Texas A&M on a 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean with two seconds left. Clemson also beat a 19th ranked Florida State team in the season opener of 2007.
In 2009, Clemson opened the season with a 37-14 win over Middle Tennessee in a game at Death Valley. C.J. Spiller took the open¬ing kickoff 96 yards for a score, the only time a Clemson player has returned the opening kickoff of a season for a touchdown in Clemson history.
The Tigers are 85-22-8 (.775), regard¬less of site, in their first game in the previous 115 seasons. Even though this is the 116th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 110 home openers in its history because five sea¬sons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 110 home openers entering today, Clemson has an 85-17-8 record (.810) against 35 different opponents.
Ellington is Back One of the story lines for Clemson this year is the return of Andre Ellington. The junior is Clemson’s career leader in yards per attempt with 6.33 yards per rush (min of 1000 yards rushing). In his two years he has 186 attempts for 1177 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. C.J. Spiller is second behind Ellington with a career average of 5.85 yards per rush.
Last year Ellington had 686 yards in 118 attempts for a 5.8 average. He suffered a toe injury at Boston College and played just three snaps over the last five games of the season. At the time of his injury he was 30th in the nation in rushing yards per game and 10th in scoring. As it was, he ended the season with a team best 12 touchdowns even though he basically played just eight games.
Ellington also had an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last year in the win over Maryland and could return kickoffs again this year. He had a career high 166 yards rushing in the win over Georgia Tech in just 20 carries. Then he was injured the following week at Bos¬ton College.
The media has recognized Ellington’s worth to the Tigers. He was named first-team preseason All-ACC and is a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, the Maxwell Award and the Paul Hornung Award.
Boyd Impressive in August Camp Sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd has been impressive in August preseason camp. In three scrimmages he completed 28-41 passes (68.3 percent) and threw five touchdown passes against just one interception.
Boyd threw two touchdown passes in the final five minutes of Clemson’s 31-26 Meineke Car Care Bowl loss to South Florida last year to make the game close. The Tigers nearly recovered an onside kick to get another chance.
Boyd will be under center in the season opener against Troy and it will be his first college start after seven game appearances as a freshman last year.
Clemson quarterbacks have done well in their first college start in recent years. In fact, since 1977, Clemson quarterbacks are a com¬bined 14-6 for 70 percent. Four of the last five Clemson quarterbacks have won their first start with the only loss coming in Dabo Swinney’s first game as head coach against Georgia Tech in October of 2008.
Three Sons of Former Tigers on 2011 Team Three sons of former Clemson football players are on the 2011 Tigers team. Starting offensive tackle Landon Walker is the son of Gary Walker, who was a letterman on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team. The same goes for freshman Shaq Anthony, a first-year freshman whose dad, Vernie Anthony also lettered on the National Championship team.
Freshman defensive lineman DeShawn Williams is the son of running back Ronald Williams, who was the leading rusher on Clemson’s 1990 team as a first year freshman with 941 yards, still the Clemson record for a first-year freshman. Williams played for the Tigers from 1990-92.
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