Tigers outlast Trojans

By Cole Little


CLEMSON — The second-ranked Clemson Tigers extended their home winning streak to 17 games on Saturday, defeating Troy 30-24 at Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers (2-0) were led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was 27-of-53 passing for 292 yards and three touchdowns, as he moved ahead of Woodrow Dantzler for third place on Clemson’s all-time passing yards list.

The first quarter featured little scoring, as both teams struggled to develop any type of offensive rhythm. Favorable field position following a punt allowed the Trojans (1-1) to convert a short drive into the game’s first score, a 39-yard field goal by Ryan Kay. On the ensuing possession, the Tigers reciprocated with a 26-yard field goal by Greg Huegel.

9-14 Page 1B.inddThe second quarter was a far different story. Watson took advantage of a Troy turnover by throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow, marking the sophomore’s fourth straight game with a touchdown reception.

Interceptions played a key role in the second quarter, with Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers throwing three to Clemson linebackers Jalen Williams, Kendall Joseph and Dorian O’Daniel.

Williams’ interception, which was the byproduct of a tipped pass at the line, bailed out the Tigers, who had just turned the ball over in their own territory.

A 66-yard touchdown run by Troy running back Jabir Frye tied the score at 10-10.

Late in the quarter, Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud appeared to have returned a punt for an electrifying touchdown, but dropped the ball on the 1-yard line, and after a lengthy video review, Troy took over on a touchback.

After Kay missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds, the Tigers took a 13-10 advantage into halftime.

McCloud, who had seven catches for 86 yards in the game, had three receptions on a key third-quarter drive en route to a goal-line situation. Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins then made the second-most important reception of his college career later in the drive in the fourth quarter, a one-yard touchdown grab, the first of his career, that gave the Tigers a 20-10 lead.

Clemson scored to take a 27-10 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game when Watson found Deon Cain in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. After a Huegel field goal with 2:25 remaining, Troy drove 68 yards and scored to cut the deficit to 30-24, as Silvers connected with Deondre Douglas for a one-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds remaining. The Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kick and held on for the 30-24 victory.

The Tigers will host South Carolina State at noon this Saturday.