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Clemson stays perfect with win over Virginia Tech

Oct 2, 2011 - 3:31 AM Blacksburg, VA (Sports Network) - Andre Branch led the Tigers' defensive efforts with three sacks, as No. 13 Clemson stayed perfect with a 23-3 victory over the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies.

Clemson (5-0, 2-0 ACC) is off to its first 5-0 start since 2000. It's the first time in program history that the Tigers defeated three ranked opponents in consecutive weeks.

The nations touchdown receptions leader, Sammy Watkins, was held in check for just 38 yards on three catches, but tight end Dwayne Allen picked up the slack with 75 yards and a score on four receptions.

Tajh Boyd had 204 yards and a score on just 13-of-32 passing for Clemson. He scrambled for 28 yards on 10 rushes. Mike Bellamy had 47 yards on the ground, including a 31-yard score, while Andre Ellington racked up 40 yards on 16 carries.

"Defensively, we were good except for a couple of long plays," Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said of his team. "But overall, I thought we hung in there. We just couldn't take advantage of some opportunities offensively, and the kicking game couldn't give us field position the way we like for it to."

It was a tough evening for Hokies signal-caller Logan Thomas, who threw for just 125 yards, including an interception, on 15-of-27 passing.

David Wilson led all rushers with 123 yards on 20 carries for Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1). D.J. Coles caught four balls for 44 yards, while Danny Coale had five receptions for 41 yards.

Jarrett Boykin, who is No. 11 on the Hokies' career receptions list with 133, returned from a right upper hamstring injury after missing last week's contest against Marshall. He was ineffective as he totaled just 10 yards on three catches.

Virginia Tech punter Scott Demler struggled mightily with his punting, averaging just 29.4 yards a boot on eight punts.

"I've got to perform better. I had two good pooch punts, and I had one good punt that took an unlucky bounce. So I've just got to keep my head up and keep going," Demler said.

This is Virginia Tech's first loss in an ACC opener in its program's history. The Hokies, who joined the conference in 2004, were 7-0 in ACC openers. It's their first loss to Clemson since 1989.

Clemson's Xavier Brewer intercepted a Thomas pass on 3rd-and-4 in Tigers territory as Boykin let the ball go through his fingertips. But the Tigers were unable to turn the turnover into points as Virginia Tech's defense forced a three-and-out.

Wilson put the ball on the turf on Virginia Tech's second possession as Jonathan Meeks recovered and scampered all the way to the Virginia Tech five- yard line. But a Branch holding penalty on the return put the ball at the Clemson 41 instead. Carlton Lewis was credited with the forced fumble.

Clemson was able to turn the mistake into points this time, as Chandler Catanzaro booted it through from 31 yards out to put Clemson on top, 3-0.

It was the Hokies' turn to capitalize on a mistake as Jayron Hosley intercepted Boyd in the second quarter. The turnover led to a 24-yard field goal by Cody Journell to even the score.

Ellington's one-yard plunge capped off a 48-yard, nine-play drive on Clemson's ensuing possession to make it 10-3. Boyd had a 23-yard completion to Watkins to highlight the drive.

Allen hauled in a 32-yard touchdown on Clemson's first drive of the second half to increase its lead to 17-3. Jaron Brown made a 27-yard catch on the first play of the 66-yard, three-play drive.

The Hokies moved the ball 35 yards to the Clemson 12-yard line, but Logan Thomas' 4th-and-4 pass was wide of Coale with 9:48 to go in the game.

After the turnover on downs, the Tigers marched 88 yards in eight plays to put the game away with 6:12 remaining. Bellamy capped off the drive with a 31-yard touchdown gallop, but the extra point attempt was no good as Clemson increased its lead to 23-3.

Game Notes

The Tigers snapped Auburn's 17-game winning streak on September 17, and they followed that by ending Virginia Tech's 15-game regular season and 12-game ACC winning streaks...Clemson has finished undefeated three times in its program's history. They went 6-0 in 1900, 11-0 in 1948 and 12-0 in 1981...The aforementioned 2000 Clemson squad started their season 8-0 before dropping three of its final four games to finish 9-3...Clemson leads the all-time series against Virginia Tech 18-12-1.