Watkins continues stellar season

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sammy Watkins picked up right where he left off the last time he stepped on to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

As a freshman in 2011, Watkins torched Maryland in just about every way imaginable.

During Saturday night's 40-27 win over the Terps, Watkins set a single-game Clemson record with 14 catches and finished with a game-high 163 yards receiving.

"The coaches did a great job with the game plan this week," Watkins said. "We knew what coverage they were going to run and Tajh [Boyd] and the line did a great job with holding up and keeping their poise."

Dabo Swinney called to his All-American wide receiver a "difference maker."

"Proud of him for his performance, the consistency that he played with," Swinney said. "The fumble, the guy did a great job of stripping it out of there, gang tackling. But what a heck of a game that he had tonight.

"He did a lot of things for us, down the field, underneath, a little bit of everything."

On the defense

"I'm really proud of the guys. Our guys really showed a lot of fight. After the one play early, really buckled down and played pretty good." - Brent Venables

"Didn't finish the game like I would have liked to have seen us. They were tremendous all night. Outside of the one big play…really, really held up, for the most part, very well." - Swinney

"There will be some things to get corrected. Obviously, the things we were doing well a good, solid 3½ quarters, we didn't do so well the last two drives. We didn't re-route, didn't bang, [and] didn't put our eyes where they belong. We just kind of floated right along and they were able to drive up field, so that was very discouraging, but not going to let it be reflected on how our guys played for a major part of that game." - Venables

"The defense could have pouted and put their head down when they go out there and get the ball twice, backed up to your goal line, they didn't. They responded. That's what great teams do. That's what great competitors do. They responded." - Swinney

"We started doing a better job up front. Early, it was quick game, screen. We got a little bit of pressure on him, then we just tightened up on our coverage. We got a little bit more up tighter, up on them, tried to take away the quick throws and make him hold the ball a little bit longer. Then, we brought some good pressures, some really good pressures in some critical times that, I thought, affected him. Then, they had some dropped balls." - Swinney

The decision to defer

"I think a lot had to do with the wind. That was a big part of it. It just kind of came back [to] let's take a little bit off Tajh. Let's let our defense get out there and play a little bit. Let's put our defense on the field and see what we can do, and it worked." - Chad Morris

Big night for Hot Rod

"Hot Rod did some outstanding things today. When nothing was there, he went out and created. That's just what he does. He's been that type of player. He is that type of player. I'm just glad that he's on my squad." - Boyd

"It brought the safeties down when we ran play-action, so that's why Martavis [Bryant] had some big catches out there. The offense did well tonight, but we have a lot to work on." - Watkins

"I think, for me, I need to have more passion, more fun when we score touchdowns. But it was a joy to watch him score. He gets very excited and celebrates. But it's just awesome because sometimes you take getting in the end zone for granted." - Boyd

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