Sept. 17, 2011
Clemson, S.C. -- Tajh Boyd threw for four touchdowns and 386 yards to lead Clemson to a 38-24 victory over No. 21 Auburn at Memorial Stadium on Saturday to end the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games. Mike Dyer led Auburn with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Auburn got off to a fast start as the offense was clicking, and the defense held Clemson to back-to-back three and outs to open the game. Dyer scampered a career-high 52 yards untouched for a touchdown on his first play to give Auburn a 7-0 lead at 4:24 into the game.
On fourth and 4 from the Clemson 36 on Auburn's next possession, Blake Trotter fired a downfield strike to Emory Blake for a touchdown to put Auburn ahead 14-0 with 7:54 left in the opening quarter. It was Blake's sixth-straight game scoring a touchdown to tie Byron Franklin in 1980 for the second longest streak in Tiger history, two games behind Terry Beasley's record of eight straight set in 1971.
"This is kind of a great learning experience for our guys," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. "It's a tough away venue. We went up 14-0 and 21-7. We didn't play well. That's the bottom line. They outplayed us and out executed us. They did a great job converting, and we did a poor job stopping them. The third downs haunted us."
Auburn finished the first quarter with 182 yards total offense.
On the first play of the second quarter, Clemson cut the lead in half on a 4-yard Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins touchdown pass. Auburn answered with its longest scoring drive play-wise of the season with a 16-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in 5:57 that was capped on a 1-yard Dyer touchdown run from the Wildcat position as the Tigers increased their lead to 21-7 with 8:54 left in the half.
At that point, Auburn had outgained Clemson 272-90. From then, Clemson outscored Auburn 31-3 and outgained the Tigers 437-89 to take a 38-24 lead with 11:48 remaining in the game.
Clemson scored 14 straight points to close out the half, totaling 21 second quarter points. The Atlantic Coast Conference Tigers drew to within 21-14 on a Boyd's 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dwayne Allen on third down with 5:06 remaining in the half. Clemson had three third down conversions on the drive.
After stopping Auburn, Clemson tied the game at 21 on Andre Ellington's 2-yard rushing touchdown with 1:11 remaining as both teams combined for 520 yards total offense in the first half. Auburn outgained Clemson 285-235.
On a third and six on the opening possession of the second half, Boyd completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins on a four play drive to give Clemson its first lead of the game at 28-21 only 1:15 in.
"They had a great game plan," said Auburn defensive end Nosa Eguae. "They went out there and executed, and we didn't execute like we should have. They came out in the second half and put the touchdown on the board, and we weren't able to rebound after that."
On the first play after the turnover, Dyer had a 45-yard rush up the right sideline. Trotter then completed a 12-yard pass to Travante Stallworth on third down for a first down by a nose at the Clemson 26 to set up Cody Parkey's 38-yard field goal to draw Auburn within 28-24 with five minutes to go in the third.
Clemson answered with a 19-yard Boyd to Watkins 24 touchdown pass to make it 35-24 with 16 seconds remaining in the third. Boyd's fourth touchdown pass came on a 3rd down and 9, Clemson's ninth third down conversion in its previous 10 tries.
Clemson upped its lead to 38-24 on a 38-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro with 11:48 remaining. Auburn mounted a good drive, but it ended when Trotter threw an interception at the Clemson 5 yard line.
Clemson outgained Auburn 624-435 in total offense and ran 92 plays to Auburn's 63. Clemson was 14-of-18 in third down conversions to Auburn's 5-of-13, while possessing the ball for 36:15 to 23:45 for Auburn.
Barrett Trotter was 12-of-25 passing for 198 yards and one touchdown. Watkins led Clemson with 10 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Auburn's Winning Streak Comes to an End
No. 21 Auburn's luck ended Saturday along with its 17-game winning streak as Clemson piled up 624 yards in beating the defending national champions 38-24.
"It's been a long time since we lost," Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal said. "I guess it's a new feeling for us all."
And a new one for Clemson, which hadn't opened 3-0 since 2007.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd led the way, completing 30 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns in his third start. While Clemson's offense was rolling up yardage, its defense was shutting down an Auburn attack that had a knack for staging late-game rallies. That's what happened a year ago when Auburn overcame a 17-0 deficit to beat Clemson 27-24 in overtime.
This time, it was Boyd picking apart Auburn's defense, something Fairley, the Detroit Lions' first-round pick, rarely let happen last season.
Auburn (2-1) took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Boyd began hitting his targets over the final three periods. Clemson converted 10 straight third-down attempts during one stretch, sapping Auburn's energy said defensive back Ryan White.
"We got to get off the field on third down," White said. "That killed our spirit. You go on the road, that takes a lot of energy and you could see they rallied. They got the crowd into it and they couldn't be stopped."
Auburn may have a dynamic offense, but its was last in Southeastern Conference defense coming in and it showed at Death Valley. Clemson scored on five of six possessions at one point and its 624 yards was the most it ever totaled against an SEC opponent.
Trailing 38-24 in the fourth quarter, Auburn moved to Clemson's 8-yard line. But Barrett Trotter was intercepted by Coty Sensabaugh to end the threat.
"We're angry that we lost that game," Trotter said. "That goes without saying."
Michael Dyer led Auburn with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Clemson players jumped around in celebration when the clock struck zero and fans swarmed the field. Coach Dabo Swinney told his players they had greatness in them but had to decide to show it.
"I couldn't think of a better place to end the streak than Death Valley, South Carolina, baby," he said.
Clemson had lost 14 straight to Auburn since a 34-0 win in 1951. That was also the last time Clemson posted as many yards of offense (524) against an SEC opponent -- Clemson plays South Carolina, an SEC member since 1992, each year
Boyd's touchdown passes included throws of 65 and 19 yards to freshman receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins finished with 10 catches for 155 yards, both setting Clemson records for a freshman.
Trotter was continually harassed by Clemson's defense, particularly in the second half when he completed four passes. He finished 12 of 25 for 198 yards in his first road start.
Auburn expected to see a mirror-image of its offense out of Clemson: It's new coordinator Chad Morris is good friends and a student of Auburn offensive leader Gus Malzahn. But it was Malzahn's well-honed attack that got the better of things early on, threatening to give the Atlantic Coast Conference another black eye in nonconference play.
Malzahn said he and Morris spoke after the game and was glad for his friend's success. He's not happy that it came against Auburn.
"We're a work in progress," Malzahn said. "We got to find a way to get better at doing everything. I feel strong that this group will be a successful offense."
Dyer ran 52 yards for a touchdown on Auburn's second series and Emory Blake caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Trotter a series later for a 14-0 lead.
It was Blake's sixth straight game with a scoring catch, something Auburn hadn't seen since Byron Franklin did it in 1980.
Dyer's second rushing touchdown of the game put Auburn ahead 21-7 midway through the second quarter.
But Auburn's defensive cracks eventually showed up for Clemson to plow through. Boyd was 3-of-3 on third-down throws the next time Clemson had the ball, including a 6-yard TD pass to Dwayne Allen in the back of the end zone to end an 81-yard scoring drive.
Clemson went 75 yards the next time it got the ball, the big play coming on Allen's 23-yard catch to the Auburn 2. Andre Ellington finished things off with a touchdown run to tie the game.