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Clemson rallies past Terps to stay unbeaten

Oct 16, 2011 - 6:25 AM College Park, MD (Sports Network) - Sammy Watkins caught two touchdown passes and his kickoff return for a touchdown proved to be the game-winner as eighth- ranked Clemson rallied to take a 56-45 win over Maryland in an ACC battle.

Watkins had eight catches for 105 yards and returned five kickoffs for 207 yards, including an 89-yard return in the fourth quarter to give Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) a lead it never relinquished.

Andre Ellington had 212 yards on 24 carries and scored twice, including a 44- yard touchdown late in the fourth that sealed the win. Tajh Boyd went 26- for-38 with 270 yards, four scores and an interception for the Tigers.

"I could not be more proud of this football team," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. "We were 18 points down, but there was no panic on the sidelines. The entire team stayed together as did the players. The staff did not panic."

C.J. Brown passed for 177 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-35 attempts, and was intercepted once, for the Terrapins (2-4, 1-2), who have dropped four of their last five games. Brown also ran the ball 22 times for 162 yards and a score while Matt Furstenburg had five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

"This was a tough one. I thought that we did some good things tonight," said Maryland head coach Randy Edsall. "We just didn't play consistently good enough for the 60 minutes. We will come back in tomorrow and watch the tape. We will grade all of the guys and keep working and getting better."

Maryland held a 35-17 lead early in the third quarter, but Clemson began its comeback when Bashaud Breeland picked off Brown. Just three plays later, the Tigers made it a 35-24 game on a 13-yard TD catch from Watkins a little over four minutes into the third.

Maryland followed with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended on a 27-yard field goal from Nick Ferrara to again make it a two-score game.

However, the Tigers got a field goal of their own as Ellington's 55-yard run set up a 23-yard boot between the uprights by Chandler Catanzaro with 6:15 to play in the third.

After holding Maryland to a three-and-out, Boyd and Watkins got together for a 51-yard reception down to the Maryland 15. Two plays later, Boyd again hit Watkins on a 15-yard score and Boyd connected with Dwayne Allen for the two- point conversion to make it a 38-35 game with 3:25 left in the third.

With a drive that spanned the third and fourth quarter, the Tigers completed the comeback and took the lead when Boyd found Jaron Brown for a 12-yard score and a 42-38 lead with 11:26 to play in the fourth.

The Terrapins, though, came right back with an answer to the drive and went 66 yards over 13 play and made it a 45-42 contest with 7:35 to play on a 32-yard catch from Furstenburg.

Watkins, though, took the kickoff at his own 11 and raced untouched down the right side into the end zone to give Clemson a 49-45 lead with 7:24 to play.

The Tigers held the Terrapins on a 4th-and-9 and were able to seal the win on a 44-yard run into the end zone from Ellington with 3:55 to play.

Clemson started the game with the ball and went 95 yards over 14 plays, but a 3rd-and-goal at the three fell a yard short and the team went to Catanzaro for an 18-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 8 1/2 minutes left in the first.

Maryland was held near midfield and forced to punt, but Watkins fumbled and the Terrapins recovered. Two plays later, Davin Meggett punched the ball in from nine yards out for a 7-3 lead.

After an exchange of punts, Clemson had the ball near midfield, but Cameron Chism picked off Boyd and took it into the end zone on a 46-yard score for a 14-3 lead with 2:23 left in the first.

The Tigers benefited from a 70-yard return by Watkins on the ensuing kickoff and got into the end zone four plays later on a three-yard run from Ellington to make it a four-point contest.

The Terrapins answered on their ensuing drive which spanned the first and second quarter and was capped on a seven-yard TD catch by Meggett from Brown for a 21-10 lead just over a minute in.

Maryland kept up the pressure and forced another punt from Clemson to get the ball back at its own 40. Seven plays later, Brown rolled into the end zone on a 21-yard score and a 28-10 advantage with 8 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

Clemson followed with a score to keep the game close as the team needed just over three minutes to move the ball 73 yards and finished the drive on a six- yard catch from DeAndre Hopkins.

The Terrapins started the second half with the ball and in under two minutes added to their lead as Brown and Furstenburg hooked up on a 22-yard score for a 35-17 advantage.

Game Notes

Clemson hosts North Carolina next Saturday...Maryland plays at Florida State next Saturday...The Tigers had 576 yards total offense while Maryland finished with 468...Meggett finished the game with 16 carries for 69 yards...Boyd had 37 yards on 11 rushes...Clemson leads the series with Maryland 32-26-2.