Furman Falls To 11th-Ranked Clemson, 41-7
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Tajh Boyd passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead FBS consensus 11th-ranked Clemson to a 41-7 win over Furman Saturday in front of 81,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Boyd's two scoring strikes covered 30 yards to Brandon Ford and 39 yards to Martavis Bryant in the second half to help the Tigers (3-0) put away the Paladins (0-3).
Andre Ellington ran for 59 yards and two scores, and Sammy Watkins scored on a 58-yard dash for Clemson, which also got a pair of Chandler Catanzaro field goals covering 46 and 22 yards.
Furman was paced by true freshman quarterback Reese Hannon, who completed 19-of-29 yards and for 235 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate start and second appearance as a Paladin. The Greer, S.C., product connected on a 37-yard scoring strike to Jordan Snellings in the second quarter to make it a 17-7 game.
Clemson racked up 498 yards in total offense to Furman's 352 yards. The Paladins controlled the football for over 38 minutes, but Clemson's quick strike offense proved to be the game's biggest difference as the Tigers needed just 2:53 of clock to score their first two touchdowns, which combined to cover 166 yards.
"We played a very good football team, obviously," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler. "They have a good scheme and execute it well. We did a pretty good job controlling the football, but the fact that they scored so quickly had something to do with that. I thought we played pretty hard. That was an area we needed to progress in, and we did that, and we played with a little more emotion.
"We were in position sometimes to make a play here and there but other times we weren't in position and lost a receiver once or twice. When you come into Clemson with a freshman quarterback (Reese Hannon) playing in his second game, his performance says a lot about our offensive coaches, the game plan they put together, and a lot about Reese. I thought he did a good job, as did the guys around him, because it's not a one-man thing. That was encouraging."
The Paladins' took the opening kickoff and moved 63 yards to the Clemson 5, but Furman's Will King was intercepted in the end zone after the Paladins first lined up in a field goal set before attempting a fourth down pass going for the touchdown.
"It was an aggressive call," added Fowler. "We're trying to win the game. The ball's on the five-yard line, and you don't throw an interception, it's a 95-yard field."
From that point the Tigers needed just seven plays and 1:44 of clock to cover 80 yards to grab a 7-0 lead on an Andre Ellington 10-yard run.
Sammy Watkins scored Clemson's second touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, taking a ball around right end and out-running the Paladin secondary on a 58-yard dash that capped a five-play, 86-yard possession and help give Clemson a 14-0 lead.
Catanzaro's 46-yard field goal stretched the lead to 17-0 before the Paladins got on the board with their own quick strike. A 39-yard run by Jerodis Williams gave Furman the ball at the Tiger 37, and on the next play Hannon executed a play action strike to Snellings behind Clemson's defense to make it 17-7 following the PAT at the 4:38 mark of the second quarter.
The Tigers led 20-7 at intermission and broke the game open with two third quarter scores, the first of which was set up by a 27-yard Quandon Christian interception return to the Furman 14. An Ellington 1-yard run off right tackle five plays later stretched the advantage to 27-7, and on the next possession Boyd hooked up with Ford, who had slipped behind Furman's secondary, for a 30-yard touchdown play to increase the margin to 34-7.
Furman plays at Presbyterian next Saturday in a CSS televised game. Kickoff is set for noon.
Freshman cornerback Reggie Thomas (Abbeville, S.C./Abbeville H.S.) earned his first collegiate start and registered four tackles and an interception, which he returned 27 yards.
Sophomore Marcus McMorris (Newberry, S.C./Newberry H.S.) also posted his first collegiate start today, getting the nod at free safety for Nathan Wade, who was limited in practice during the week.
Tony Caldwell earned his first start of the season and second of his career at fullback.
Junior wide receiver Ryan Culbreath's six receptions (for 69 yards) tied a career high for catches set last week versus Coastal Carolina.
Quarterback Reese Hannon's 19 receptions were spread among nine different receivers. Another catch was hauled in by Paladin junior offensive tackle Dakota Dozier on a batted ball.
In six quarters and three overtime periods of action this year, Hannon has completed 41-of-64 pass for 490 yards and five touchdowns (1 INT).
The loss gave Furman its first 0-3 start to a season since 1979.
The loss was also the 30th straight setback the Paladins have suffered to Clemson dating back to 1938.