It took a while for No. 9 Clemson to get over its loss to Florida State last week.
The Tigers muddled their way through one half against Maryland before putting on the afterburners and finally pulling away from the Terrapins for a 40-20 win.
It was Clemson’s seventh straight road win, its longest streak since a nine-game run in 1978-79.
Credit the Clemson defense for stepping up in this one. One week after getting embarrassed by Florida State, the Tigers forced four turnovers and limited the Terrapins to just 56 yards of offense in their 11 possessions spanning the second, third and most of the fourth quarters.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd got back on track, completing 28 of 41 passes for 304 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tailback Roderick McDowell chipped in 161 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries as the Tigers piled up 236 yards on the ground. Oh, and Sammy Watkins showed what he was capable of, too, catching a school-record 14 passes for 163 yards.
All in all, the Tigers ran 98 plays and finished with 551 yards and 30 first downs.
Meanwhile, Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe (filling in for an injured C.J. Brown) was erratic, completing 20 of 46 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had two interceptions. Much of his yardage went to Levern Jacobs, who caught eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown while filling in ably for the injured Stefon Diggs.
This was just the type of game that past Clemson teams might’ve slept through, but the senior leadership of Boyd helped snap the Tigers out of it. He knows there’s still a chance that Clemson finishes strong and makes it to a BCS bowl.
He’s right. And that’s just one reason Boyd will probably go down as the school’s all-time greatest quarterback.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.