Tigers welcome Watkins back to team, Furman to Death Valley

Clemson will need to remain focused when it hosts in-state FCS rival Furman on Saturday and not look ahead to next week’s ACC showdown against Florida State.

The No. 11 Tigers’ powerful offense is coming off a 45-point first half against Ball State, its highest total since 1981, when they won the national championship.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney insisted his team has made too many mistakes and still has a lot of improvement to make. That doesn’t bode well for Furman, which lost to Coastal Carolina 47-45 in triple overtime last week.

Neither does the return of Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins, who missed the first two games while serving a two-game suspension. Clemson has won 29 straight meetings and leads the series 41-10-2. Furman last won in 1936.

The Tigers (2-0) have not been slowed on offense, where quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receiver DeAndre Hopkins have been a handful for the opposition. Boyd has thrown for 437 yards and four touchdowns, all of them to Hopkins, who has 19 catches.

Ellington has rushed for 269 yards and two touchdowns. The offense has surpassed 500 yards in both games. Clemson’s defense had intermittent success last week: They allowed 252 rushing yards, but allowed four or fewer yards on 27 of Ball State’s 40 rushing attempts.

The Paladins (0-2) have shown the ability to score: They average 33 points and 399 yards, but have yet to score in the first quarter. Jerodis Williams leads the team with 183 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Conway High grad and Furman quarterback Dakota Derrick suffered a broken collarbone in last Saturday’s triple-overtime loss to Coastal Carolina. Reese Hannon, who took most of the snaps last week, will get the start.

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