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Nov. 3, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Tajh Boyd threw for 344 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes for the second straight week to help No. 10 Clemson beat Duke 56-20 on Saturday night.
DeAndre Hopkins caught three of those TD tosses in the opening quarter for the Tigers (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who scored 42 points by halftime and rolled to their fifth straight win - all by at least 14 points. Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant also had first-half touchdown catches, helping Clemson rack up nearly 500 yards by halftime and 718 for the game.
The win moved Clemson into a tie with No. 9 Florida State atop the ACC's Atlantic Division, though the Seminoles beat the Tigers in September for the head-to-head tiebreaker in the division race to reach the ACC championship game.
The loss dropped Duke (6-4, 3-3) a game behind Miami for the Coastal Division lead.
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It was Duke's first loss in six games at Wallace Wade Stadium this season.
Boyd threw for a school-record 428 yards with five touchdown passes in an easy win at Wake Forest last week, then added another five TD passes by halftime against Duke. He also ran for a 21-yard score to give Clemson a 42-17 halftime lead, setting up the Tigers for a stress-free second half.
The Tigers played almost the entire game without Andre Ellington, the ACC's second-leading rusher. Ellington suffered an unspecified leg injury on a 26-yard carry on the game's first offensive play and didn't return. But it didn't matter with the Clemson passing attack humming so well.
Boyd hit Hopkins for a 5-yard touchdown 2 1/2 minutes in, then connected with him again over the middle for a 58-yard TD on a ball that slipped by the outstretched arm of top Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell for a 14-3 lead midway through the first.
Boyd and Hopkins connected again minutes later, this time for 45 yards out in a sign that Duke's secondary - featuring three players that had been named ACC defensive back of the week - was in for a long night. Boyd found Watkins for a 30-yard touchdown for a 28-10 lead with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, then found Bryant for a 41-yard TD midway through the second.
Boyd left the game late in the third quarter. Hopkins finished with four catches for 128 yards, reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season while also setting the program record with his 22nd career touchdown catch.
Sean Renfree threw for 240 yards and a 77-yard scoring pass to Jamison Crowder for the Blue Devils, while Brandon Connette also had a touchdown pass..