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Saturday, January 4, 2014
Clemson slices Buckeyes with short passes

By ESPN Stats & Information


Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesOhio State didn't have an answer for Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins Friday
In a game that featured six turnovers and four lead changes, the Clemson Tigers had the last score and also the last takeaway to earn their first BCS bowl victory. The Tigers have now won consecutive bowls for the first time since winning the 2003 Peach Bowl and 2005 Champs Sports Bowl (Clemson did not go to a bowl in 2004).

Record-setting night
Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins was a combination the Tigers went to time after time to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. Boyd finished with 378 yards passing and 127 rushing yards, which tied an Orange Bowl record. He became the first player in Orange Bowl history to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 more. In addition, Boyd tied a career-high with five touchdown passes.

Watkins set Orange bowl records for both receptions (16) and receiving yards (227). His 16 catches are the most ever for any BCS game, while his receiving yardage is the second most in a BCS game behind only a 239-yard game from Josh Reed in the 2002 Sugar Bowl for LSU.

Watkins also caught two touchdown passes giving him 27 for his career – tying the Clemson school record set by DeAndre Hopkins.

Short, but sweet
Boyd and Watkins connected on 16 of 17 targets due in large part to short passes. Boyd’s average pass traveled 2.9 yards downfield against Ohio State, 4.7 yards shorter than his average pass distance this season. Only five of his passes traveled more than 10 yards downfield, his fewest such attempts in the last three seasons.

Watkins 227 receiving yards, included 202 yards after the catch. His previous career high of 137 yards after catch came against Auburn in 2011.

Running wild
While he kept his passes short, Tajh Boyd ran for a career-high 127 yards, highlighted by a 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He gained 116 yards on designed runs, 43 more such yards than any other game in his career.

Jungkyu Lee, Micah Adams and Jason Starrett contributed to this post