Tigers win fourth straight with early KO of Wake Forest

Clemson did most of its good work early and that was enough to dispose of Wake Forest on a record-setting Thursday night for the 14th-ranked Tigers.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw five first-half touchdown passes, while receiver Sammy Watkins became the first player in school history to pile up 200 receiving yards in a game in a 42-13 victory over Wake Forest in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at BB&T Field.

Boyd racked up a school-record 428 passing yards despite exiting midway through the fourth quarter.

Watkins finished with 202 receiving yards on eight catches, breaking a record of 197 set by teammate DeAndre Hopkins three games earlier against Boston College.

The Tigers (7-1 overall, 4-1 ACC), who’ve won four games in a row, bolted to a 35-0 lead. They went more than 21 minutes between points before D.J. Howard’s 1-yard touchdown run capped an 86-yard fourth-quarter drive.

Fullback Tommy Bohanon caught two touchdown passes for Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4), which lost for the third time in its last four games.

Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro had his string of successful field goals end at 20 when he was wide left on a 48-yard attempt in the third quarter. His school-record streak, which included 12-for-12 accuracy this year, was the fourth-longest stretch in ACC history. His previous miss came against Wake Forest last year.

Even with the lopsided score, the Demon Deacons were more effective on offense than five days earlier when they defeated Virginia. They eclipsed the 213 yards of total offense from the Virginia game with more than three minutes left in the third quarter against Clemson.

Wake Forest, which has lost four consecutive meetings with the Tigers, had a chance to make it a two-possession game by moving into Clemson territory in the opening minute of the fourth quarter before punting.

Boyd threw five first-half touchdown passes, while Watkins piled up 177 receiving yards by halftime.

Watkins made a catch between two defenders and then wound his way down the Wake Forest sideline for a 61-yard touchdown grab and run as Clemson built a 14-0 lead barely more than a minute into the second quarter.

The Tigers added to the score with tight end Sam Cooper’s 12-yard scoring catch in traffic. Hopkins made a 12-yard touchdown pass with 3:56 to go before halftime.

Four plays after a Wake Forest fumble, Boyd connected with Charone Peake on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

The Demon Deacons had time to score before the break, with Tanner Price’s 8-yard pass to Bohanon with 12 seconds left closing the margin to 35-7. The six-play drive was aided by two personal foul penalties on the Tigers.

Clemson struck first on Boyd’s 9-yard third-down pass to tight end Brandon Ford with 4:03 left in the first quarter.

This came after Wake Forest reached the Clemson 39-yard line on its second possession, but opted to punt on fourth-and-2. The Tigers marched 80 yards, with the scoring play set up by a 57-yard completion from Boyd to Watkins.

There were two 80-yard scoring drives among the Tigers’ 343 yards of total offense in the first half. Clemson’s defense posted four sacks before halftime.

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