(AP) Boyd leads Clemson to 56-7 win over Wake Forest
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
Tajh Boyd became the second Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback to account for 100 career touchdowns and got No. 3 Clemson’s offense back on track in a 56-7 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Boyd threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another score. He stands at 102 TDs in college, joining former North Carolina State star Phillip Rivers in the ACC’s century club. Boyd passed for 311 yards and ran for 69 to surpass Charlie Whitehurst as Clemson’s total offense leader.
The Tigers (4-0, 2-0) have won their first four games for the second time in Boyd’s three seasons as starter. He had been out of sync the past two games, but found his rhythm quickly against Wake Forest (2-3, 0-2).
Boyd had touchdown throws of 64 yards to Sammy Watkins, 75 yards to D.J. Howard and 14 yards to Mike Williams as Clemson built a 35-7 halftime lead.
Clemson’s single-game scoring record came in an 82-24 win over Wake Forest during the Tigers’ national championship season in 1981 _ and they looked as if they planned to better that mark early on in this one.
Clemson scored on its first three possessions, with Boyd returning to the form he showed in a home win against Georgia on Aug. 31. His play against the Bulldogs made him a Heisman Trophy contender, but two consecutive sluggish performances had quieted all that talk.
It looks as if that mini-slump is over.
Boyd connected with favorite target Watkins to get the scoring started. Zac Brooks added a 10-yard touchdown run before Howard turned a simple swing pass into a second long scoring play that brought Boyd to the century mark.
Rivers accounted for 112 touchdowns with the Wolfpack from 2000-03.
Wake Forest’s defense then stepped up, with nose guard Nikita Whitlock sacking Boyd to stall one series and the Demon Deacons sending the Tigers off the field for three straight three-and-outs.
But Boyd eventually cranked up the Tigers’ offense once again. He ended a 67-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run, powering through the line when he was initially stopped on a fourth-and-short leap.
Boyd’s final touchdown pass went to freshman Williams, a sliding 14-yard grab that gave Clemson a 35-7 lead. Williams was in because starter Martavis Bryant was held out the opening half after he made a throat-slash gesture when he scored at North Carolina State on Sept. 19.
The Tigers outgained Wake Forest 361-142 over the first 30 minutes. The Demon Deacons’ lone score came on Tanner Price’s 10-yard pass to Sherman Ragland III in the opening period.
Things didn’t get much better for Wake Forest in the second half. Boyd was back for Clemson’s first series and directed a 10-play, 46-yard drive that finished with tailback C.J. Davidson’s first career score. Boyd was off to the sideline after that, smiling and enjoying watching the backups play.
The Demon Deacons managed just 80 yards in the second half. Coach Jim Grobe put freshman Tyler Cameron and little-used junior Patrick Thompson in at quarterback for Price.
Clemson starting tailback Rod McDowell had just three carries before leaving with an ankle problem. He did not return.