Clemson Beats Virginia Tech 23-3 in Battle of the Undefeated
Oct. 1, 2011
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Tajh Boyd and No. 13 Clemson became the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to beat ranked teams three weeks in a row, and did it resoundingly with a 23-3 victory against No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Boyd, a Virginia native recruited by the Hokies, threw for a touchdown and dissected a top-10 defense for the second week in a row in snapping the Hokies' 12-game ACC winning streak.
The Tigers got rushing touchdowns from Andre Ellington and Mike Bellamy and finished with 323 yards against a defense that was ranked fourth nationally, allowing just 231 yards per game.
The Hokies (4-1) had a miserable night offensively, gaining 258 yards.
The Tigers led 10-3 at halftime and doubled the edge quickly after halftime.
Following an 11-yard punt by Scott Demler, who dropped the ball while rolling toward a rugby style kick and them seemed to kick the end of the ball, Boyd hit Jaron Brown for 27 yards. Andre Ellington ran for 7 and Boyd found Dwayne Allen on the next play for a 32-yard touchdown.
Allen got inside rover Eddie Whitley on the play and made it look easy.
Boyd finished 13 for 32 for 204 yards, the touchdown and one interception.
The rest of the half featured drive after drive that started, then stopped for the Hokies, and when they came up short on a fourth-and-4 from the Tigers 12, Clemson put the game away.
The Tigers' 88-yard drive featured Boyd passes of 20 yards to Allen and 13 to Jaron Brown on a third-and-5 from the Tigers' 42, and Bellamy's 31-yard burst for the touchdown.
That sent Hokies fans who filled the stadium and sat through 40 degree temperatures with a stiff breeze and drizzle falling during parts of the game streaming glumly for the exits.
But nothing the Hokies did all night suggested the outcome would be different.
A fumble by David Wilson set up Clemson's first score. Wilson was hit by Carlton Lewis while breaking through the line, and the ball popped into the air, right to Jonathan Meeks. He returned it inside the Hokies' 5, but a holding call brought it back to the Tigers' 41.
Boyd hit Brown between two defenders for 16 yards on third-and-4, but three straight incompletions from the Virginia Tech 14 forced a 31-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.
The Hokies tied it in the second quarter when Jayron Hosley jumped in front of Boyd's pass and returned it 14 yards to the Tigers' 31. It was Hosley's 12th career interception, and just the second thrown by Boyd this season.
An 18-yard run by Wilson on third-and-2 from the 23 got the Hokies to the 5, but two runs by Wilson netted just 3 yards, and a false start pushed the ball back to the 7. After Logan Thomas threw incomplete under pressure, Cody Journell made a 24-yard field goal with 4:35 left in the half.
That left Boyd with plenty of time, and Hokies linebacker Wiley Brown helped out with a 15-yard personal foul on the kickoff. Starting at the Virginia Tech 48, Boyd did some dazzling work passing and running to drive the Tigers them to the go-ahead touchdown before the half was over.
On third-and-10 from the 48, he hit Ellington for 11 yards. On third-and-8 from the 35, he found Sammy Watkins open deep downfield for 23 yards, and then ran 9 yards on the next play.
Ellington's 1-yard run gave the Tigers a 10-3 lead.
The only threat the Hokies mounted after halftime ended the with a fourth-down from Logan Thomas that Danny Coale had no chance of catching, followed by the Tigers clinching drive.
Thomas was just 15 for 27 for 125 yards and was sacked four times.