Recap: Maryland vs. Clemson
College Park, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - It wasn't always pretty, but Clemson found a way to bounce back from a dismantling by Florida State a week ago that all but ended its national championship hopes.
The ninth-ranked Tigers overcame three second half turnovers to beat the depleted Maryland Terrapins, 40-27, in the final meeting as ACC foes on Saturday from Byrd Stadium.
Tajh Boyd threw for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 28-of-41 passing for Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC), which has won seven games in a row on the road. Roderick McDowell carried 30 times for 161 yards and a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and Sammy Watkins had 163 yards on a school-record 14 catches.
"We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game, and it was," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "Good to get the win to get back on track."
Last season, Maryland (5-1, 1-3) was decimated with injuries at the quarterback position. The top four signal callers on the depth chart all suffered season-ending injuries, leaving true freshman linebacker Shawn Petty under center against the Tigers. Petty and the Terrapins lost, 45-10.
Maryland was undermanned once again Saturday, as starting quarterback C.J. Brown, tight end Dave Stinebaugh, running back Brandon Ross, and wide receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs were all out against Clemson. The Terps were left with backups at every skill position offensively.
"We talked all week long about playing as hard as we could and making it a 15- round fight," said Maryland coach Randy Edsall. "We are proving that we are developing depth in our program. The guys know that the coaches believe in them. We played hard under a tough situation. That is what you are supposed to do. That is what we coach."
Caleb Rowe completed just 19-of-45 passes for 282 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Levern Jacobs, Nigel King and Amba Etta-Tawo had touchdown receptions.
Clemson won the toss, deferred and forced a quick Terrapins' three-and-out. Boyd marched the offense down to the Maryland 13 but the drive stalled and the Tigers had to settle for a 31-yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal.
Rowe brought the home crowd to its feet on the third play of Maryland's next drive when he found Jacobs over the middle for a 71-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Terrapins on top.
Maryland's defense then forced negative plays on all three downs from inside the Terps' 6, leading to another short Catanzaro kick and a 7-6 edge late in the first period.
The Tigers managed two more trips to the red zone before halftime, scoring on both drives to take a 16-7 lead into intermission.
Catanzaro drilled his third field goal of the contest from 25 yards out to cap a 13-play, 67-yard march early in the second quarter, and Boyd found Jordan Leggett for a 5-yard score with nine seconds left in the opening half.
Watkins and McDowell fumbled on back-to-back offensive plays early in the third quarter, leading to a pair of 41-yard Brad Craddock field goals. Maryland gained just two yards on the two possessions following the turnovers.
Catanzaro put Clemson on top, 19-13, with a 24-yard field goal at the 6:42 mark of the third.
The Tigers capitalized when Reid coughed up the football early in the fourth quarter. Boyd eventually scored on a 5-yard QB keeper.
McDowell rushed for fourth quarter touchdowns of three and 45 yards around a 5-touchdown catch by Etta-Tawo.
"Our running game is probably the most impressive part about us," said Boyd. "It's something we've been looking forward to this whole season and to see it explode today was pretty awesome."
Rowe's 14-yard scoring strike to King against a soft Clemson defense capped the scoring with nine seconds remaining.Game Notes
Clemson now leads the all-time series, 34-26-2 ... The Tigers have won four
straight against Maryland ... Dabo Swinney improved to 13-12 on the road as
Clemson's head coach ... Clemson's seven-game road winning streak is the
longest since it won nine in a row away from home in 1978-79 ... Boyd now has
112 touchdowns via the run or pass in his career, tying him with Phillip
Rivers for most in ACC history ... Maryland has lost three of four after
starting the season with four straight wins ... Clemson ran 98 plays and
outgained Maryland, 551-364.