Crawford's big day

CLEMSON - In Clemson's landslide victory over injury-struck Maryland, three Tigers scored their first career touchdowns.

Two of those came in the first quarter, and one of those was by a defensive player.

Facing a linebacker-turned-quarterback as the Terps' signal caller, the Tigers dialed up the pass rush on first down with seven minutes remaining in the 1st quarter.

Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty fumbled, and there at the right moment was sophomore defensive end Corey Crawford, who picked it up and ran 16 yards for the touchdown.

"I don't even know what happened," Crawford said. "The ball came out, I scooped it up, and ran for my life to get the touchdown."

If a defensive touchdown is scored, it's often because of a pick-six by a defensive back or linebacker; rarely does a defensive end get his name printed in the box-score.

"It's hard, those don't come every day," Crawford said. "The feeling is indescribable, I'm so happy right now."

Those rather giddy words spoken by Crawford were not just because he scored a touchdown. The Tigers set a school record today winning their 12th consecutive game in Death Valley.

"This is big," Crawford said. "We are setting a new standard. When we play at home, you win no matter what. From here on out, and for [future] Clemson teams to come, that's the standard."

The defense is also setting a new standard for the second half of the season. The Tigers defense has given up just seven touchdowns in the past four games and has generated 13 sacks. Today alone, Clemson had nine tackles for loss by seven different players.

The sophomore knows it's all about improvement and taking steps forward in Coach Venables' first season as defensive coordinator with the Tigers.

"Our defense is getting better every game," Crawford said. "The coaches challenge us every week to get shutouts and turnovers. Every week since the Georgia Tech game we have been playing hard and living up to the challenges."

Asked what went through his mind when he saw the ball leave Petty's hands, Crawford said, "Oh I had to get it. Get it and run as fast as I can. I was standing there by myself. I had to get it and go."

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