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.