Clemson 56, Maryland 45

C.J. Brown found out during warmups that he would be making his

first college start against the eighth-ranked team in the

nation.

If he was nervous, it sure wasn’t evident by the way he

played.

Brown ran for 162 yards, scored one touchdown and passed for

three, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Maryland from blowing an

18-point lead in a 56-45 loss to Clemson on Saturday night.

Brown and Danny O’Brien competed in practice during the week,

and it wasn’t too long before kickoff that Brown got the nod from

coach Randy Edsall.

”Me and Danny were both preparing that we were going to be the

starter, and then we found out during pregame warmups, right before

the game, what Coach Edsall decided to do,” Brown said.

Brown was magnificent. In addition to his rushing total, he

completed 17 of 35 passes for 177 yards.

”Being my first start, I was excited,” he said. ”I had the

nerves, I had the energy. It felt good to get out there and show

what I could do. It just stinks that we came up short. Top 10 team

in the country coming into our house, in Byrd, great

atmosphere.”

The quarterback made a big impression on Clemson defensive

coordinator Kevin Steele.

”We couldn’t catch Brown,” he said. ”He added a new dimension

to their offense.”

Tajh Boyd threw four touchdown passes and freshman Sammy Watkins

scored three TDs for the Tigers (7-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast

Conference), who trailed 28-10 late in the first half and 35-17 in

the third quarter. Boyd went 26 for 38 for 270 yards as the

catalyst of an offense that amassed 576 yards.

Watkins scored on an 89-yard kickoff return that put Clemson up

49-45 with 7:24 left. Watkins returned an earlier kickoff 70 yards,

and his 345 all-purpose yards set a school record.

Andre Ellington rushed for a career-high 212 yards and two

touchdowns for the Tigers, who have scored at least 35 points in

all but one game this season.

”We overcame some big, big mistakes,” head coach Dabo Swinney

said. ”We’re 4-0 in the ACC, and that’s a good place to be.”

Maryland (2-4, 1-2) provided Clemson with an enormous scare, but

the Tigers had too much offense for the Terps to overcome.

After Brown threw a 32-yard TD pass to tight end Matt

Furstenburg to put Maryland up 45-42, Watkins took off on his

decisive kickoff return and Ellington clinched it with a 44-yard

touchdown run with 3:55 to go.

A near-upset wasn’t good enough for the Terrapins, who have lost

four of five.

”They don’t measure how close you were,” said running back

Davin Meggett, who scored twice. ”Either you win or you don’t.

Either she’s pregnant or she’s not.”

Edsall said: ”This is a tough one. I thought that we did some

good things tonight, but we just didn’t do them consistently good

enough for the 60 minutes.”

Maryland took its second 18-point lead early in the third

quarter when Brown capped a 78-yard touchdown drive with a 22-yard

pass to Furstenburg.

Boyd responded with a 13-yard TD pass to Watkins to make it

35-24. After each team kicked a field goal, Boyd connected with

Watkins for 51 yards, ran for 4 and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass

to Watkins. The 2-point conversion got Clemson to 38-35 entering

the fourth quarter.

The comeback became complete when Boyd threw a 12-yard touchdown

pass to Jaron Brown with 11:26 left to end an 80-yard drive.

Clemson would be forced to rally again, but Boyd, Watkins and

Ellington were up to the challenge.

Maryland led 28-17 at halftime, but left the field lamenting

several missed opportunities. The Terrapins dropped two potential

interceptions, and Ronnie Tyler muffed a long pass late in the

second quarter inside the Clemson 25.

The Tigers opened the game with a 95-yard drive but had to

settle for a field goal. Maryland then punted, but Watkins dropped

the kick and the Terrapins recovered. Two plays later, Meggett ran

in from the 9.

A second turnover produced a second Maryland touchdown, this one

a 46-yard interception return by Cameron Chism that made it

14-3.

But Watkins took the subsequent kickoff 70 yards to the Maryland

30. That set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Ellington, who had 81

yards on 12 carries in the first quarter.

The Terrapins then let their offense do some work, and Brown

complied. He threw a 40-yard pass to Furstenburg, then completed

the 70-yard march with a 7-yard pass to Meggett.

Clemson punted again, and Brown ran for 47 yards in a 70-yard

drive, including a 21-yard sprint to the end zone for a 28-10

lead.

Not to be outdone, Boyd passed and ran for 69 yards during a

73-yard march that ended with his 6-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre

Hopkins.