Clemson - Maryland video rewind

Here's what CUTigers.com picked up from ESPN's broadcast of No. 9 Clemson 40, Maryland 27.

When you watch a game at home or in the stadium, you miss stuff. You're watching with eight or 83,000 of your closest friends, you're cooking, enjoying yourself, watching the wrong thing, and something important slips by.

That's why I've started doing this feature – a weekly rewind of Clemson football, the good and the bad. It helps me pick things up, and I think it'll help you, too.

Without further ado, here's what I picked up from ESPN's broadcast of No. 9 Clemson 40, Maryland 27: We're welcomed to the telecast by one of Clemson fans' favorite teams – Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham. Jeannine Edwards is the sideline reporter.

Patrick opens by noting Clemson's "crushing disappointment" against Florida State and wondering if the Tigers will have carryover from their first defeat of the season.

Cunningham notes that "so goes Tajh Boyd, so goes the team." Well-said. But he also calls Maryland coach Randy Edsall "a sensational program builder," so there's that.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said a key was "doing the little things" right, but Maryland's first punt – muffed and then recovered by Adam Humphries – is not a promising sign.

I like the way Chad Morris is building Boyd's confidence with short passes to Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.

That said, it's not promising that the first drive stalls out in the red zone, forcing Clemson to settle for a Chandler Catanzaro field goal. Edwards notes that there's "a lot of coaching going on" with Morris and Swinney on the sidelines.

Clemson has a tendency to give up "chunk" plays on offense, and an early Maryland drive doesn't help that trend.

Sophomore safety Travis Blanks takes a terrible angle on a short pass to Levern Jacobs, leaving the middle of the field wide open for Jacobs to sprint for a 71-yard touchdown. 7-3 Terrapins. Blanks was initially in position before taking a poor angle right, opening Jacobs' path.

Edwards reports that Swinney says "you might as well not even play safeties if you can't do your job."

Rod McDowell is running hard early. Getting some good holes from the shuffled offensive line as well.

He makes a very nice read on a zone handoff from Boyd and breaks two tackles on the way to a big gain.

Smart move by Boyd to target Bryant in the end zone against 5-7 Maryland cornerback William Likely to draw a pass interference penalty. But after first and goal at the Maryland 2, everything goes haywire. McDowell bobbles a handoff, resulting in a busted play. And Boyd is hammered for a sack, twisting his left knee in the process.

"This is not nearly as good as last year's offense, even though they keep saying it's as good," Cunningham says. "They just look terrible. Boyd faked left and nobody blocked the pass play. Clemson can't get out of their own way. This feels like it's about the third straight week it has happened."

Martin Jenkins continues to play well through a variety of injuries, making a nice pass breakup on Nigel King. However, the secondary gives Maryland too much cushion, and Levern Jacobs comes up with a nice catch. The Terrapins lead 7-6 after a quarter.

Jayron Kearse has spelled Blanks after his miscue, but he is also guilty of poor tackling on a long Albert Reid run. However, Kearse bails out the defense with a leaping interception of a Rowe pass in the end zone. He has tremendous length and potential.

Boyd continues in the game, with ESPN reporting that he took "some aspirin" on the sideline. Leave it to Mike Patrick to completely screw up a story on Sammy Watkins.

Patrick retells the story of Watkins growing up in a crime-infested neighborhood in Fort Myers, Fla., but then reports that Watkins "got in trouble going to Fort Myers in the offseason, which led his mother to move to Clemson."

Or, you know, got in trouble in a Clemson campus parking lot, Mike. Yeesh.

Clemson finds Maryland's red zone again, but stalls again. McDowell is absolutely swallowed on a third-down screen pass, and Catanzaro kicks his third field goal of the day for a 9-7 lead. "This is not a typical Clemson offense," Cunningham says. "No way I thought Clemson would run in the mud in the red zone. They've gone the wrong way."

Punting on fourth and 1 near midfield? Oh, Randy Edsall. You'll fit right in in the Big 10. Sammy Watkins has been impressive. He leaves his mark on a Maryland safety, putting his shoulder down and trucking forward for more yardage.

But once again, the Tigers bog down in the red zone. Boyd makes a questionable decision to throw the ball away in the tackle box while pursued by Maryland linebacker Phil Petty – who started at quarterback in the Terps' visit to Clemson last fall. It's intentional grounding, which pushes them out of field goal range.

It appears that center Ryan Norton turned Petty loose.

"Once they get inside the 20, Clemson forgets how to play offense," Patrick says.

Late in the half, it's clear that Boyd's knee is affecting him. He's become one-dimensional. Luckily, he still has Watkins, who gets the ball deep in Maryland territory again. This time, Boyd finishes the drive with a five-yard touchdown toss to underused Jordan Leggett, giving the Tigers a big 16-7 lead with seconds left in the half.

Smart play by Jenkins to break up a deep toss via pass interference. He knows that in college, that penalty is a 15-yard penalty and not a spot foul. As the second half begins, Patrick asks Cunningham: "A question I couldn't have asked you before the game legitimately – can Maryland beat Clemson?"

"Will they?" Cunningham asks. "That's a different story."

Says a lot about how that first 30 minutes went.

Jenkins continues a solid game with great coverage of a pass to Amba Etta-Tawo. Same for Korrin Wiggins, who makes a nice play on a deep ball.

Clemson's offense continues its struggles as Watkins loses a rare fumble at his own 23. Really big for the defense to steel and hold to a field goal and 16-10 lead.

McDowell undoes some of his earlier good by getting a ball stripped inside his own 25.

"That's inexcusable," Cunningham says. "No way your running back should be fumbling there." Maryland gets another field goal, and cuts the lead to 16-13.

The booth discusses how Dabo Swinney said Clemson would "major in the minors" this week.

"So far in the minors, Dabo's getting about a D-," Cunningham says. "Bad snaps, going the wrong way on plays, the offensive line completely missing the assignments."

On the sidelines, Edwards relays how Swinney asked the team if "they would hit the ground and crack like an egg, or bruise on the inside like an apple where no one can see you, or bounce like a ball."

Then, she reveals a tennis ball with "bounce back" printed on it, given to every player this week.

I'm sure some poor graduate assistant had fun printing "bounce back" on 120 tennis balls.

Boyd clearly appears gimpy, although he does run for the first time since the first half and pick up a first down. But once again, the drive bogs down in the red zone as McDowell is blown up in the backfield. No push from the offensive line, and another field goal and 19-13 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, the game's biggest play: Breeland forces a fumble, which is recovered by Spencer Shuey and run to the Terps' 22.

Boyd has found strength in his legs: his runs of 12 and five yards, the second for a game-breaking touchdown and 26-13 lead, are very tough.

On Boyd's interception, it appeared that freshman receiver Mike Williams should have broken off of his route, but he didn't look back.

But Maryland can't do anything with the ball, and Rowe throws up a duck of a pass under pressure on fourth and 21.

Brent Venables is fired up, high-fiving Shuey and Quandon Christian as they come off the field.

If Martavis Bryant can find consistency, the offense will be better for it. Very big 41-yard throw down the right sideline to set up McDowell's first rushing score of the season and a 33-13 lead.

Up 33-20, it's clear that Clemson has worn down Maryland's defense. McDowell gets a big hole for a 45-yard touchdown run and a 40-20 advantage.

Swinney and Venables aren't happy with Maryland's final touchdown, but the result is academic. This was far from pretty, but it was a 13-point win on the ACC road. That'll have to be good enough for today.

CUTigers.com Top Stories