Converting turnovers into points

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Dabo Swinney loves points off turnovers. His team rewarded him with 21 of them on Saturday.

Jayron Kearse facilitated 14 of them. And it all happened within the matter of a few moments in the second quarter of Saturday's win against Virginia.

"This is something I've been doing since I was young, making plays. That, I think, is in me," Kearse said. "My uncle, he's been doing the same thing. Just been talking to him, I think it's in our bloodline."

With just under seven minutes left in the first half, Kearse intercepted David Watford's third-down pass at the Clemson 30-yardline before returning it 37 yards to the Virginia 33.

Tajh Boyd hit Roderick McDowell on a 10-yard touchdown pass seven plays later.

"Jayron, I thought, was the real spark of the first half for us with the interception," Swinney said.

According to Kearse, he was just in the right place at the right time.

"The quarterback not being as accurate and me just being there making the play," he said.

Kearse wasn't done. Five snaps into the Cavs' ensuing drive he stripped Khalek Shepperd at midfield. Deshawn Williams recovered the fumble.

McDowell reached pay dirt again, this time on a 25-yard run, to give the Tigers a 28-7 lead with 1:29 remaining in the first half.

"After I got the interception and everybody got riled up I just felt, I like this feeling. So, I felt like, let me go out there and do this again. Let me see if I can go out here and make a play," Kearse said.

Seven more points were tacked on late in the fourth quarter after Korrin Wiggins intercepted Greyson Lambert deep inside Virginia territory.

D.J. Howard's 10-yard touchdown run on the ensuing Clemson drive provided the final points in the Tigers' 59-10 win.

"It's huge. I've been on the other side of that, too. I was in a game a couple of weeks ago when, all of a sudden, bam, bam, a couple of turnovers and points off of those turnovers, and the game kind of gets away," Swinney said. "That's why it's so important to take care of the ball and for us to win that turnover margin."

Brent Venables said the two freshmen defensive backs are "maturing."

"They're doing some things real well and others not so well," he said. "But, to see them continue to get playing time, learn from their mistakes, both had a good week of practice and preparation."

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