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10/06/2012 11:14 PM EDT
No. 15 Clemson runs and passes over Ga. Tech 47-31
CLEMSON 47, GEORGIA TECH 31

By JEFFREY COLLINS
Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Tajh Boyd threw for a career high 397
yards, but both he and his coach agreed he could have played
better in No. 15 Clemson's 47-31 win over Georgia Tech on
Saturday.



"Could have been some more out there," the junior quarterback
said. "Honestly, I came out too hyped. I was missing some
passes, some easy throws."



But Boyd and the rest of the offense settled down, running 93
plays and gaining 601 yards. It is the fourth time the Tigers
(5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have gained more than 500
yards this season.



DeAndre Hopkins had 173 yards receiving on seven catches and two
touchdowns, Andre Ellington ran for 82 yards on 24 carries and
Clemson ran 93 plays to just 60 for Georgia Tech (2-4, 1-3),
leaving offensive coordinator Chad Morris happy after a rough
opening two possessions.



"The only thing that's going to stop us is ourselves," Morris
said.



For all the offense, it was still a defensive play that turned
the game Clemson's way. Right after Boyd threw a 35-yard
touchdown to Hopkins that put the Tigers ahead 38-31 with 10:29
left in the game, Georgia Tech bobbled the kickoff and had to
start from its 2 yard line. Tigers linebacker Spencer Shuey
sniffed out an option pitch two plays later for a safety that
crushed the Yellow Jackets' chances. It was the first time
either team led by more than a touchdown.



"We got points and the ball. That was big," Clemson coach Dabo
Swinney said.



Orwin Smith was tackled for a safety. It was his only bad play -
he gained 117 yards on seven carries. Quarterback Tevin
Washington, who ran 16 times for 104 yards, also missed seeing
Shuey when he made the pitch. But he didn't think it cost his
team the victory.



"With a game like that, there are so many little things that add
up," Washington said. "It could have been something that
happened in the first quarter."



Georgia Tech had a chance to get back in the game. Linebacker
Daniel Drummond picked off a tipped pass with 8:32 to go. The
Yellow Jackets drove to the Tigers 20, but David Scully's
37-yard field goal was blocked by Josh Watson.



"If they had had a fake on, they would have got it," Swinney
said. "We really gambled and brought everybody thinking they've
got to kick it, they've got to get this field goal."



The offenses were expected to dominate. Clemson came in allowing
1,087 yards in its past two games, and the Yellow Jackets had
allowed 1,119 yards in their last two games.



Both teams chewed up yards. There were only two punts, with one
per team. Georgia Tech couldn't even stop Clemson at the end,
with Roderick McDowell running a yard for a touchdown with 50
seconds to go.



"If we take a knee right now, I was going to be disappointed,"
Boyd said of the last drive. "I know it's sportsmanship, but at
the same time, we got down there, we've got to go get it. This
is a rivalry game for us."



The rivalry has recently been slanted Georgia Tech's way. Even
with the win, Swinney is 2-4 against the Yellow Jackets.



Clemson's offense hummed for the most part. The Tigers only
struggled when they got close to the end zone, settling for
three field goals and three touchdowns on six trips inside the
Georgia Tech 6 yard line. Clemson was 13-of-19 on third down,
but three they failed to convert were with goal to go.



Sammy Watkins, back from missing a because of a virus, caught
six passes for 42 yards and ran twice for four yards.



Georgia Tech's 2-4 start is its worst since they went 1-10 in
1994.



"Right now we've got to play close to perfect," Yellow Jackets
coach Paul Johnson said. "Clearly we have to score more points."



Along with completing 26 of 41 passes, Boyd also ran for a
touchdown and caught one pass - a 2-point conversion. The ball
was snapped to running back Andre Ellington, who pitched to
Hopkins, who threw the pass to Boyd. The points were critical,
because Clemson would take a nine-point lead after the safety.



Boyd also set a school record for career touchdown passes with
51, beating Charlie Whitehurst's 49 TD passes.



After the game, Swinney heaped praise on his quarterback, saying
he does what every coach wants a player to do - get better with
every game.



"That's where he had grown the most as a football player. Last
year, when he would struggle at times, he would go out and it
was like, I've got to get it all right now. He couldn't go to
the next play. He's still ticked off about the last series,"
Swinney said. "But he's grown beyond that."

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