Tigers get a sneak Peake at rising star in first scrimmage

Clemson held its first intra-squad scrimmage of fall workouts on Saturday as the Tigers prepare to open the season September 1 in the Georgia Dome against Auburn.

Sophomore receiver Charone Peake caught two touchdown passes to pace the offense, while Xavier Brewer had seven tackles and Lateek Townsend was involved in three sacks to lead the defense in Clemson’s first full scale scrimmage of the preseason.

Peake caught three passes for 64 yards and the two touchdowns.  He caught a six-yard scoring pass from Cole Stoudt and a 37-yard scoring pass from Morgan Roberts.

Jaron Brown caught the other touchdown pass of the scrimmage, a 56-yard scoring throw from first-team quarterback Tajh Boyd. Stanton Seckinger, a red-shirt freshman from Isle of Palms, SC, had three receptions for 43 yards, including a 27-yard reception from Stoudt early in the scrimmage.

Sammy Watkins had two receptions for 35 yards, the first two completions on the first drive of the scrimmage from Boyd.

Another highlight of the scrimmage was a 55-yard field goal by senior Spencer Benton. While Chandler Catanzaro missed a field goal, he was successful on his other three attempts, from 36, 39 and 41 yards.

Six quarterbacks worked for Clemson on the day.  Boyd was 5-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown with one interception.  Stoudt was 3-6 for 40 yards and a touchdown with one interception.  Chad Kelly was 4-7 for 28 yards and an interception and Morgan Roberts was 3-3 for 56 yards and a touchdown.  Donnie McElveen and Nick Schuessler, also saw action.

In terms of rushing, Rod McDowell was the top rusher with nine rushes for 46 yards. D.J. Howard had 8-41 and Andre Ellington, who played sparingly to give the younger backs more experience, had 5-22.

Boyd had a 32-yard touchdown rush to highlight the ground game as well.  Clemson’s running backs had 22-109 on the day, nearly a 5.0 average per carry.

Defensively, Xavier Brewer led the way with seven tackles.  The senior defensive back also had a sack, and a pass broken up.  Kellen Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma who is not eligible this year, added six tackles including two for loss, while Jonathan Meeks had five tackles.  Tig Willard had three tackles, but added two pass deflections, one that led to an interception.

There were many big plays from the defense. Rashard Hall (48-yard return), Bashaud Breeland and Taylor Watson all had interceptions.  There were no lost fumbles by the offense.

Lateek Townsend had a pair of sacks and was involved in another half sack.  Josh Watson had tackles for loss on consecutive plays at one juncture.  Tarvaris Barnes and Tra Thomas also had two tackles for loss.

There were no new injuries of significance reported after the scrimmage.  Gifford Timothy missed the scrimmage as he recovers from a knee injury. Zak Brooks was also held out with a neck strain.  Kicker Ammon Lakip (foot) and defensive back Martin Jenkins (pulled leg muscle) also missed the scrimmage with an injury.

“It was a good first scrimmage,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney.  “We made some mistakes, but they are correctable.  I thought the defense played well.  We saw a lot of activity around the ball.  Xavier Brewer had a good scrimmage, as did Lateek Townsend.  He was involved in three sacks and that was big.

“We have made good progress this first week. There is still much to do, but I like the attitude of this team.  They come to work.  They go about their business.”

The scrimmage concluded Clemson’s first full week of preseason work.  The Tigers will take Sunday off, then resume on Monday with a pair of workouts. The Tigers will scrimmage again next Saturday and hold Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium on Sunday, August 19 from 3-5 p.m.

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