Tigers try to knock off third straight ranked foe in Hokies

Clemson has vaulted itself into the Atlantic Coast Conference title picture with consecutive wins against ranked opponents, and with a third in a row, the Tigers could establish themselves as a dark horse for the national title.

But doing so will require No. 15 Clemson to pull off an upset on the road and snap a couple more impressive streaks when it visits No. 10 Virginia Tech. The Hokies have won 12 straight ACC contests, including last year’s ACC championship game, and 15 consecutive regular-season contests.

Clemson snapped Auburn’s 17-game winning streak with a 38-24 win two weeks ago. The Tigers are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2007, and haven’t started 5-0 since winning their first eight games in 2000. Clemson leads the all-time series 17-12-1, but Virginia Tech has won five straight meetings dating to 1989. The only previous time the Tigers and Hokies met as top 15 teams was in 1956, when Clemson won 21-6 at home.

The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) survived a scare from FCS Wofford before escaping with a 35-27 win Sept. 10, but they have beaten consecutive ranked opponents since, including a 35-30 win last week against Florida State. Sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd passed for 386 yards against Auburn and 344 yards against Florida State, joining Charlie Whitehurst as the only players in school history with consecutive 300-yard passing games.

Boyd has passed for at least three touchdowns in each of his four collegiate starts. Boyd’s favorite target has been freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who already has set the school’s freshman record with six touchdown receptions and has 17 catches for 296 yards in the past two games.

The Hokies’ (4-0, 0-0) offense has been nearly as impressive as the Tigers, averaging 34.8 points and 430.2 yards. Virginia Tech has struck a nice balance with 6-foot-6, 254-pound sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas leading the passing game and running back David Wilson leading the ground game with more than 100 yards rushing in three of four games this season.

Jarrett Boykin, already the school’s all-time leader with 133 receptions, needs only 57 yards to pass Ricky Scales as the Hokies’ all-time leader in receiving yards. But Boykin is nursing a hamstring injury and might not be available. Virginia Tech has won 19 of 20 conference openers under coach Frank Beamer, including all seven since joining the ACC.

Clemson’s wins over Auburn and Florida State mark only the fourth time in school history the Tigers won back-to-back games over ranked opponents. Clemson has never beaten three consecutive ranked teams.

TV: ESPN2. Line: Virginia Tech -7

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