Watson leads No. 12 Clemson to 41-10 victory

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Even without all-ACC receiver Mike Williams, Deshaun Watson had a pretty good day throwing for 248 yards and three touchdowns in leading No. 12 Clemson to a 41-10 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday.

Williams was in a neck brace, out indefinitely with a fractured bone. Watson started slowly with an interception and Clemson led 3-0 after its first four drives.

But the quarterback found his rhythm and perhaps a new favorite target in Charone Peake, a fifth-year senior who caught scoring passes of 24 and 59 yards.

Clemson led 31-0 at halftime. Watson hit Artavis Scott with a 41-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

Clemson got a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown from defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and a 23-yard run from Wayne Gallman to move to 2-0 for the fifth time in six seasons.

The Mountaineers (1-1) brought a seven-game winning streak and its giant-killing reputation into Death Valley, looking for another Michigan-like takedown against the Tigers.

But Mountaineers quarterback Taylor Lamb was pressured into three first-half interceptions. One went right into the open arms of Watkins, who easily ran to the end zone for Clemson's first defensive lineman interception score in four seasons.

Two plays later, Lamb was picked off by linebacker Bel Boulware deep in Mountaineers territory and Watson capitalized with his first touchdown pass to Peake.

Appalachian State scored on a 31-yard field goal by Zach Matics late in the third quarter and a 1-yard TD catch by Barrett Burns in the final period.

Watson finished 19 of 26. There was a scary moment for the sophomore, coming off ACL surgery last December. Ryan Norton snapped the ball past him and Watson dived to recover. He was slow getting up as the sold-out stadium held its breath. Moments later, Watson popped up and easily ran to the bench before returning a play later.

Led by Watson, the Tigers have piled up 925 yards combined in two easy victories. Things figure to get tougher starting Thursday night at Louisville in a Atlantic Coast Conference opener. Then come games against No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 15 Georgia Tech.


AP college football website: collegefootbal.ap.org