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Clemson gets revenge for loss last season; ends Auburn's win streak

Urban Meyer arrived in town a few days early this week to do reconnaissance for his Saturday telecast. As Meyer walked off the Clemson practice field Thursday evening he told lingering reporters this: "Clemson fans are going to wake up one morning and realize they have a really good offense."

Two days later, Clemson Nation awoke to find it has a really good offense.

Meyer, who led Florida to two national titles before becoming an analyst, proved to be sage-like as Clemson produced 624 yards of offense en route to a 38-24 win against No. 21 Auburn on Saturday, snapping the defending national champions' nation-best 17-game winning streak.

In the third game of the Chad Morris Era, Clemson (3-0) posted the third-best yardage total in program history, surpassing the 600-yard mark for eighth time.

"Is this a sign of an offense that is maturing and coming on and believing?

Absolutely," said Morris, the offensive coordinator. "This is just the spark these guys needed."

Eighty-two thousand at Memorial Stadium witnessed Tajh Boyd pass for 386 yards, the second best single-game total in program history - Charlie Whitehurst threw for 420 yards against Duke in 2002 - and watched Sammy Watkins set more freshman records with 10 catches and 155 receiving yards to go along with two touchdowns.

But besides Meyer, who saw Saturday's offensive explosion coming?

The Clemson offense was anemic a year ago, ranking 88th in the country in total offense. Clemson trailed Troy at the half in Week 1 and was tied with Wofford last week at the break.

What sparked the turnaround? What ignited the offense as Clemson trailed Auburn, 14-0, with 7:54 to play in the first quarter?

Coach Dabo Swinney gave a short answer after Saturday's win: "Recruiting."

Morris offered another word related to his quarterback: "Maturing."

To illustrate their points, see third-and-six on Clemson's opening drive of the second half.

On the play, Boyd checked down to Watkins, who turned a short pass into a 65-yard touchdown, showing rare burst and top-end speed to separate from defensive backs and give Clemson its first lead of the day, 28-21.

Tight end Dwayne Allen said jokingly of the explosive freshman: "Sammy Watkins is not a true freshman. You might want to check his birth certificate."

Against Troy, Boyd forced the issue on third downs in search of plays down the field. As a result, Clemson opened 0-for-9 on third downs against Troy.

Not so on Saturday, when Clemson was 14 of 18 on third down.

Boyd just didn't manage the game Saturday. He won it, appearing more poised and confident than he did two weeks ago in the opener.

Auburn defenders dared Boyd to beat them, overloading against run and leaving one-on-one matchups for Boyd to exploit, which the sophomore did, completing 30 of 42 passes.

"My comfort level with (Watkins and Allen) is extremely high," Boyd said.

Swinney hopes along with the infusion of talent, Saturday will give the team an injection of confidence, but not overconfidence, as Clemson hosts No. 5 Florida State next week to open ACC play.

"We've handled adversity around here," Swinney said. "It's just as important how we handle success."

Auburn

14

7

3

0

--

24

Clemson

0

21

14

3

--

38

FIRST QUARTER

Aub--Dyer 52 run (Parkey kick), 10:36. Aub--Blake 36 pass from Trotter (Parkey kick), 7:54.

SECOND QUARTER

Clem--Hopkins 4 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 14:56. Aub--Dyer 1 run (Parkey kick), 8:54. Clem--Allen 6 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 5:06. Clem--Ellington 2 run (Catanzaro kick), 1:11.

THIRD QUARTER

Clem--Watkins 65 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 13:45. Aub--FG Parkey 38, 5:00. Clem--Watkins 19 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), :16.

FOURTH QUARTER

Clem--FG Catanzaro 38, 11:48.

Att.--82,000 (at Clemson).

Aub

Clem

First downs

19

32

Rushes-yards

38-237

50-238

Passing

198

386

Comp-Att-Int

12-25-1

30-42-0

Return Yards

6

0

Punts

6-41.3

3-46.0

Fumbles-Lost

0-0

1-1

Penalties-Yards

5-40

6-50

Time of Possession

23:45

36:15

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING--Auburn, Dyer 16-151, McCalebb 10-34, Reed 3-20, Mason 4-15, Trotter 4-14, Frazier 1-3. Clemson, Howard 9-86, Ellington 14-46, Watkins 7-44, Bellamy 11-36, Boyd 7-30, Team 2-(minus 4).

PASSING--Auburn, Trotter 12-25-1-198. Clemson, Boyd 30-42-0-386.

RECEIVING--Auburn, Stallworth 5-71, Reed 3-31, Benton 1-41, Blake 1-36, McCalebb 1-17, Carr 1-2. Clemson, Watkins 10-155, Hopkins 7-83, Allen 7-80, Peake 2-41, Ja.Brown 2-22, Bellamy 1-4, Ellington 1-1.

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