(Saturday, September 20th)
Final Score: (23) Clemson 54, South Carolina State 0
Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - James Davis ran for 95 yards and three touchdowns to lead 23rd-ranked Clemson to a 54-0 rout of South Carolina State at Death Valley.
C.J. Spiller added 63 yards rushing for the Tigers (3-1), who dominated from start to finish on the way to their third straight win after a season-opening loss to Alabama. Cullen Harper completed 15-of-24 passes for 151 yards and added a rushing touchdown in the victory.
Clemson finished with 189 yards on the ground and held South Carolina State to minus-10 yards rushing. The Bulldogs (2-2) have been blanked in both of their games against FBS competition, having dropped a 17-0 decision at UCF to open the season.
Malcolm Long completed 22-of-35 passes for 162 yards with three interceptions in defeat.
Clemson wasted no time and scored on its opening possession. Davis broke off a 25-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and added a 23-yard burst before capping the five-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Harper was intercepted on Clemson's second series and South Carolina State drove the other way for a field goal try, but Blake Erickson's 38-yard kick was wide right with just under 4 1/2 minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Tigers drove deep into South Carolina State territory on the ensuing possession, but Harper was again picked off. Chris Chancellor then followed with an interception of Long at the Clemson 40-yard line in the first minute of the second period.
Harper attempted just two passes on the next series, as the Tigers went almost exclusively to the ground, and Davis finished the nine-play drive with a five- yard touchdown run to give Clemson a 14-0 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the opening half.
Long was picked off on the second play after the ensuing kickoff and Clemson started from the Bulldog 24. Davis then capped a six-play drive with his third touchdown run of the game, another one-yard score, for a 21-0 edge.
"Guys are improving week in and week out, and they showed it today," said Davis. "The offensive line especially improved; I'm so proud of those guys."
The Clemson defense produced a safety on the first play after the next kickoff when South Carolina State snapped the ball out of the end zone, and the Tiger offense followed with a 50-yard scoring drive following the free kick. Harper connected on four passes of more than 10 yards, including a 22-yard strike to Michael Palmer that set up the quarterback's one-yard touchdown run for a 30-0 edge with 3:42 left in the half.
Harper, despite the two picks, completed 13-of-19 passes for 125 yards in a dominant opening half. The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 232-68 and registered 17 first downs to SC State's three. Davis had 87 yards rushing and South Carolina State totaled minus-yards on the ground.
"We've just got to continue to get better and better each week," noted Harper. "I think our confidence is right where it needs to be. I thought we ran the ball well, I thought James [Davis] came out and did a great job, then I thought the defense did a good job today."
The second half was more of the same, as Long was picked off on the first series of the third quarter. Chris Clemons returned the interception 32 yards for a score and a 37-0 cushion.
Mark Buchholz tacked on a 27-yard field goal with 6:02 to play in the third and backup quarterback Willy Korn led the Tigers to a pair of fourth-quarter scores.
Korn ran one yard for a touchdown in the first minute of the period, then threw a five-yard scoring pass to Palmer late in the contest to account for the final margin. Korn completed each of his seven passes for 76 yards and added 19 yards on four carries.
Davis averaged 8.6 yards on 11 carries...The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs, 416-152...South Carolina State was penalized 18 times for 134 yards...This was the first-ever meeting between the schools...Clemson hosts Maryland next Saturday.
09/20 18:17:48 ET