ATLANTA (AP) - Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions and No. 14 Clemson opened the season with 26-19 victory over Auburn on Saturday night.
Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome - basically halfway between the two campuses - Clemson shook off any hangover from last season's embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn (0-1) even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.
The second half was a battle of field goals before Tajh Boyd lofted a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins, who made a brilliant, twisting catch in the corner of the end zone with 9:17 remaining.
*Clemson andAuburnboth wore home uniforms this evening. It is the first time both teams wore home uniforms in a Clemson game since the 2009 game against Coastal Carolina. Clemson was dressed in all orange and CoastalCarolinain all black for that Halloween day game in 2009.
*Clemson is now 14-0 under Dabo Swinney inOrangejerseys and white pants.
*Clemson had lost six straight games in the city ofAtlantaprior to tonight. The last win was a 27-14 win overTennesseein the Chick-Fil-A Bowl at the end of the 2003 season.
*Clemson is now 3-5 all-time in the Georgia Dome.
*Clemson has now beatenAuburntwice in a row after suffering 14 straight losses to the Auburn Tigers between 1952-2010.
*Clemson now has six wins over top 25 teams over its last 21 games.
*Clemson’s game captains for tonight were Dalton Freeman, Malliciah Goodman, Andre Ellington and Xavier Brewer.
*Clemson dressed 80 players for this game. Twenty-five are freshmen, including 11 in their first year, 28 are sophomores, 15 are juniors and 12 are seniors. Six of the 12 seniors already have their Clemson degrees.
*Clemson’s first string offensive line played all but one play this evening. Giff Timothy missed the last offensive play of the game.
*Clemson had 320 yards rushing and 208 yards passing tonight. Clemson is now 58-0-1 all-time when it has at least 200 rushing and 200 passing in the same game.
*Clemson ran 87 plays in tonight’s game. The most plays Clemson had in a game last year was 92 againstAuburn. One other note of interest on plays. Clemson’s 48 plays is half way to 96, the total number of playsBallStateran in its opening game last Thursday night againstEastern Michigan. Clemson andBallStateplay next Saturday at Clemson.
*Tonight’s victory was the first season opening game won away from home since 1985 when the Tigers opened the season with a victory at Virginia Tech on a field goal by David Treadwell on the last play of the game.
*Auburnwas ranked 25th by USA Today in the preseason poll. This is just the fourth time Clemson has opened the season with a win over a top25 team. But, it is the third time it has happened since the 2005 season.
*Clemson freshman Daniel Rodriguez played on the kickoff coverage teams for the Tigers in the first half. Rodriguez had received national attention as a US Army vet who desired to play college football after he returned from serving his country. He earned a Purple Heart in the war inAfghanistan. This was the first career action for the 24-year old since the 2005 football high school season.
*Andre Ellington rushed for a career high 231 yards this evening. His previous high was 212 atMarylandlast year. He now has three consecutive games with at least 100 yards on the ground. He had 20-125 against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game last year, then had 10-116 againstWest Virginiain the Orange Bowl. Ellington now has 10 career 100-yard rushing games, more than any other active ACC player.
*Ellington’s 231 yards rushing rank as the fifth most in a single game in Clemson history and is the most since C.J. Spiller had 233 in the ACC Championship game of 2009 against Georgia Tech. Ellington’s 231 rushing yards are the most by a Clemson player in a season opener. The previous mark was 204 by Buck George against Presbyterian in 1952. Ellington’s performance tonight was the most by a Clemson running back against an SEC team.
*Tajh Boyd had a career high 58 yards rushing on 19 attempts this evening. He actually went 88 yards forward and lost 30 yards on four sacks, all in the first half. His previous high was just 37 yards againstBostonCollegeandMarylandlast year.
*DeAndre Hopkins had a school record 13 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown tonight. The previous record for receptions was 12 by Airese Currie againstMiddleTennesseeStateon Sept. 13, 2003. His position coach for that game was Dabo Swinney.
*Chandler Catanzaro was a perfect 4-4 on field goals this evening. He made each of his last eight field goals last year, so he is now a perfect 12-12 over a span of six games. The Clemson record for consecutive made field goals is 14 in a row by Obed Ariri in 1980.
A young boy found a missing Anderson County man after a lengthy search Sunday evening.