Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Tajh Boyd threw three touchdown passes and ran one in to lead the ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers to a 59-10 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Boyd completed 24-of-29 passes for 377 yards with an interception. Sammy Watkins caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns for Clemson (8-1, 6-1 ACC), which has won four of the last five meetings against Virginia.
Roderick McDowell added 12 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown while also contributing three catches for 37 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers. Chad Kelly, D.J. Howard and C.J. Davidson each added a rushing touchdown of their own,
David Watford scored the lone touchdown for Virginia on one of his seven carries that totaled eight yards. Watford also completed 16-of-35 passes for 130 yards and an interception. Kevin Parks had 16 carries for 82 yards to lead Virginia (2-7, 0-5) in rushing.
"Obviously, Clemson is an excellent football team. Tajh Boyd is as-advertised, and Sammy Watkins as well," said Virginia coach Mike London.
"They took advantage of a lot of things that we couldn't capitalize on. Their defense is fast and athletic. They played well. We didn't play well enough or coach well enough. We've played a lot of good teams, and that's one of the better ones we've played."
Clemson received the kick to start the game and didn't hesitate to put points on the board. Boyd completed the four passes he threw on the drive, three of which were to Watkins with the last one a 33-yard touchdown.
Two drives later Virginia pieced together a scoring drive of its own. The team took 10 plays and 54 yards to break through. Watford completed two passes and ran twice, one rush for nine yards and the other rush for a 6-yard touchdown.
On the Tigers' next possession Boyd completed four passes in a row, before two runs, one 3-yard run by Howard and the other by Davidson for a 2-yard touchdown, which made the score 14-7 Clemson with 2:59 left in the first.
The score stayed that way until late in the second quarter, as a Jayron Kearse interception of Watford gave the team the ball at the Virginia 33, and Boyd hit McDowell for a 10-yard score to make it a 21-7 game with 4:18 left in the half.
The Cavaliers were moving on their ensuing touch, until Kearse hit Khalek Shepherd just as he crossed the line of scrimmage to cause a fumble which was scooped up by Tiger DeShawn Williams at the 50-yard line.
The Tigers then used the short field to their advantage as the fifth play saw McDowell run the ball in from 25 yards out on a 3rd-and-1, which brought the score to 28-7.
Getting the ball back with 55 seconds left in the half, Boyd was on a mission to get more points. Starting with the ball on his own 14-yard line, Boyd completed the six passes he threw for 84 yards on the eight-play 86-yard drive. Boyd ran the ball in from a yard out with 13 seconds left in the half, which brought the score to 35-7 Tigers.
Clemson stopped Virginia on its opening drive of the second half and took three plays to score after getting the ball back. Boyd found Watkins down the right side of the field for a 96-yard touchdown pass, which was the second longest in school history.
"Tajh controls the offense and that's what he has been doing," said Watkins. "All the five years he has been here, that is what we expect out of him and he played a great game. He was doing the right things with check downs and finding the right people."
Virginia came back on its next drive and put up a 40-yard field goal from Alec Vozenilek. The drive was highlighted by a 27-yard pass from Watford to Taquan Mizzell.
Cole Stoudt came in to replace Boyd and after that the teams traded several possessions, Clemson finally put more points on the board in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Kelly was brought in to replace Stoudt for the fourth quarter and on his first possession he led the Tigers to a touchdown. The score was put up by Kelly on a 38-yard scramble, which brought the score to 49-10 Clemson.
A 41-yard field goal from Ammon Lakip, and a 10-yard TD run by Howard later in the fourth capped the scoring in the game.