Clemson, SC – Tajh Boyd threw for 160 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a pair of scores as No. 14 Clemson rolled past Virginia Tech, 38-17, on Saturday.
Andre Ellington carried the ball 19 times for 96 yards and a touchdown and DeAndre Hopkins had three catches for 68 yards and a score for the Tigers (6- 1, 3-1 ACC), who have won 11 straight games at Memorial Stadium for the third time in school history. Jonathan Meeks had two interceptions in the win, including one which was returned for a touchdown.
"(The defense) had a great performance. From the sidelines, I believe it was their best game of the season," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We struggled with some missed tackles, but they did really well at getting turnovers, including that pick 6."
Clemson will look to set the school record with 12 consecutive home wins when its hosts Maryland on Nov. 10.
Logan Thomas completed 15-of-28 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for 99 yards and a score, but was picked off twice. Corey Fuller had four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies (4-4, 2-2), who haven't beaten Clemson since 2007.
"Our guys battled hard. We played a very good football team today. I think in the end, it gets down to about four, five, six plays-a couple that we didn't make and a couple that they got points off of or got field position off of. The whole third quarter, we just needed to pick up some first downs and play on our side of the field," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said "The effort was great all the way around. We played hard. It came down to about four, five, six plays. Those plays get the momentum going and the whole game changes a little bit."
After forcing a Clemson three-and-out on the game's opening drive, the Hokies took an early 7-0 lead when Thomas connected with Fuller on a 29-yard catch- and-run for a touchdown.
Boyd's pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by Michael Cole, but Clemson stopped the Hokies on 4th-and-1 at the Tigers' 18. Clemson then drove 73 yards before stalling at the Hokies' 9-yard line. Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 27-yard field goal to pull the Tigers within 7-3.
Earlier in the drive, Hopkins dropped a sure touchdown on a 42-yard pass from Boyd. Hopkins appeared to catch the ball in stride, but dropped it before he could establish possession as he crossed the goal line.
Meeks picked off Thomas on the Hokies' next touch, but Clemson couldn't cash in on the turnover and was forced to punt. The Tigers got off a towering punt that bounced off a Virginia Tech blocker and was pounced on by Clemson.
Following a 10-yard loss on a botched reverse attempt, Ellington broke a 22- yard rush to get Clemson inside the Hokies' 14. Boyd was stopped at the one on 3rd-and-7, but was able to pick up a fresh set of downs and punched it across on the next play to put the Tigers up, 10-7.
After trading punts, Virginia Tech took over on its own 15-yard line. A 39- yard pass to Dryell Roberts gave the Hokies the ball at the Clemson 45, but Thomas was intercepted by Meeks two plays later and the shifty defensive back returned it 74 yards for a touchdown to go up 17-7.
Virginia Tech, however, bounced back and added a field goal with three seconds left in the first half to make it 17-10 heading into the locker room. A 22- yard completion to Fuller put the Hokies on the Clemson 30, and after Thomas was stopped on 3rd-and-4, Cody Hournell nailed the 40-yarder.
The teams traded punts for the most of the third quarter until Clemson finally found the end zone when Ellington ran in for a 12-yard score. Boyd's 27-yard completion to Sammy Watkins got the Tigers down to Tech's 10, but Roderkick McDowell was tackled for a loss of two yards. Ellington scored on the next play to make it 24-10.
After forcing a punt, the Tigers added to their spread when Boyd found Hopkins down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown.
The Hokies answered back when Thomas ran it in from 19 yards out to pull within 31-17.
But Clemson put it out of reach as Boyd leaped over the line for a touchdown with 1:33 left, giving the Tigers the decisive 38-17 advantage.
"There were some missed plays...and it was like we were losing as many yards as we gained. Virginia Tech tried to challenge us, but we were able to finish those plays in the second half," Swinney said. "Any time you score that many points against Virginia Tech, you had a good day. Now we just have to prepare for the quick turnaround against Wake Forest."
Clemson has scored 35 points or more in 10 games during its home winning streak.
Clemson won 11 games at Memorial stadium from 1937-1942 and also pieced together 11 straight home wins in 1989-1991. The Tigers' last home loss came Nov. 27, 2010 against South Carolina ... The Tigers lead the all-time series 20-12-1 ... Watkins finished with eight catches for 84 yards ... Virginia Tech will see its first season in eight years with single-digit victories.