CLEMSON, SC (Clemson University) - Tajh Boyd stood atop The Hill, flashed his trademark smile and waved goodbye to the Death Valley crowd. Then he went out and put on one last show.
The senior quarterback threw five touchdown passes - to five different receivers, all before halftime - and No. 7 Clemson beat The Citadel 52-6 on Saturday on Senior Day at Memorial Stadium.
"It was sweet," Boyd said. "I don't think there's a better way to end your home career - I had five touchdowns or whatever, but it was just enjoying the moment with the guys out on the field, some of the linemen, the defense, talking to Sammy (Watkins) and those guys, and just the memories that you'll take from that."
Boyd completed 21 of 28 passes for 288 yards and tied the school record with five touchdown passes, the sixth time he has done that in his career.
Another senior, Roderick McDowell, led the Tigers with 108 rushing yards on 21 carries, his third game with at least 100 rushing yards this season.
"It was a very emotional day for me," McDowell said. "It was very touching knowing it's my last time running down The Hill, playing with these boys at home, and our fan base at home, I love it. I'm going to miss it so much."
Boyd's favorite target, junior wide receiver Watkins, also became Clemson's all-time leading receiver on the day, surpassing the record of his former teammate DeAndre Hopkins, who had 3,020 receiving yards in his career.
With the victory, Clemson (10-1) has now won at least 10 games in three straight seasons, its longest such streak since it had four straight 10-win campaigns from 1987-90.
"I told the seniors to leave Clemson better than when they got here," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "Tajh has made us an elite program again. He embraced his role and enjoyed every second as the quarterback at Clemson University. His vision was to leave his mark on Clemson, and he has done that."
Clemson was forced to punt on the game's opening drive, but Watkins caught an eight-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage that gave him 3,021 yards receiving in his career, which moved him past former teammate Hopkins atop the school's all-time receiving yardage list.
"I didn't even know at first," Watkins said. "I knew I needed seven yards (to tie the record), but I realized it after they announced it. It's a great accomplishment. I cherish those moments."
The Tigers opened the scoring on the next possession, as Boyd hit tight end Stanton Seckinger down the sideline for a 24-yard touchdown to put Clemson up 7-0.
After a punt by The Citadel, the Tigers doubled their lead with a 30-yard touchdown to Mike Williams on a corner route, as Boyd marched the offense 95 yards on eight plays and needed just 1:57 to do it.
Boyd threw his third touchdown pass of the day early in the second quarter, lofting a fade to Watkins, who went up and snatched the ball away from a defender for an eight-yard score.
"Tajh did a great job of putting it on my outside shoulder, and I made a play," Watkins said. "Coach Swinney really wanted me to score that touchdown so I could get out of the game, so it was a great feeling."
The Clemson defense got involved in the scoring on the ensuing possession, as Garry Peters hit Bulldog quarterback Ben Dupree on an option play to force a fumble, and Quandon Christian scooped up the ball and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
"I had my eyes set on the end zone, and Grady (Jarrett) had a great block that got me there," Christian said. "It was an awesome feeling. ... I didn't want to let the ball go when I got it. So I ran to the sideline with it."
The Tigers stretched their lead to 35-0 as Boyd hooked up with Martavis Bryant on a 19-yard touchdown.
Boyd got his fifth touchdown pass of the half thanks to the handiwork of McDowell. Boyd swung a pass out of the backfield to his senior classmate just inside the 15, and the running back juked a pair of defenders, outran two more and dove across the goal line for a nine-yard score.
The touchdown made it 42-0 with 1:12 left in the first half, and that was the score at halftime.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, with Chandler Catanzaro making a 32-yarder to make the score 45-3. The kick also gave him 395 points in his career, which made him the second-leading scorer in ACC history.
Boyd, meanwhile, played the first two drives of the second half for the Tigers, and he began to run back out on to the field for a third.
But Clemson called a timeout, and Boyd trotted off to the sideline, where he was met with a big hug from Swinney and a huge ovation from the crowd.
"Martavis said, 'You can get the (single-game passing touchdown) record if you stay in the game and get one more touchdown, man,'" Boyd said. "I think I've got enough records. We were just trying to get the win and come out healthy."
The Tigers added to the lead at the end of the drive with Cole Stoudt at the controls. Facing fourth-and-goal, Stoudt shoveled the ball to Daniel Rodriguez, who took the pass two yards for a touchdown to make it 52-3 in the fourth quarter.
It was the first career touchdown for Rodriguez, who carried an American flag down The Hill prior to the game as part of the Military Appreciation Day festivities.
"It's just awesome to be a part of this culture and part of this university," Rodriguez said. "Coming from what I've gone through to coming here, it's just been a great transition from leaving one military family to a Clemson family."
Rodriguez is a U.S. Army veteran who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal With Valor for his heroism at the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan.
"It was a special moment getting to see Daniel Rodriguez in the end zone," Swinney said. "God has a way of working it out, and it was great to see our own Purple Heart recipient get a score."
* Clemson is now 31-5-1 all-time against The Citadel, including a 13-1 record at Clemson. The Tigers have now won 16 straight games against the Bulldogs.
* Clemson has now won at least 10 games in three straight seasons. That is the longest such streak since the Tigers had four straight 10-win seasons from 1987-1990.
* Clemson is now 28-0 all-time against FCS opponents.
* Clemson is now 16-4 all-time in Military Appreciation Day games.
* The Tigers have now won 18 straight games over unranked teams by double-digit points.
* The 2013 senior class earned their 37th win in today’s game. That is tied for fourth-most wins by a senior class in Clemson history with the 1981 and 1984 senior classes.
* The win also gave the 2013 senior class 24 home wins, tied for the most in Clemson history with the 2012 class.
* Clemson scored at least 50 points for the third straight game and the fifth time this season, both school records.
* Clemson held The Citadel to -4 passing yards in the game. That is the fewest passing yards by an opponent in Clemson history.
* The Tigers also held the Citadel to 172 yards of total offense. That is the fewest yards of total offense against the Tigers since 2009 when Clemson held Coastal Carolina to just 170 yards.
* The Tigers held the Bulldogs to just six points in today’s game. That is the fewest points allowed by Clemson since 2011 when the Tigers defeated Virginia 23-3 in Blacksburg, VA.
* Clemson scored six touchdowns in the game, each by a different player.
* Clemson is now 71-0-1 when totaling at least 500 yards of total offense and 64-0-1 when recording at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing.
* Clemson has now recorded 26 takeaways on the season. That is the most since 2009 when the Tigers had 30 takeaways.
* Clemson had 10 tackles for loss in the game and now has 105 for the season.
* Tajh Boyd threw five touchdown passes in today’s game to give him 102 for his career. He is the 18th player in NCAA history to reach the century mark and the first player in ACC history to do so.
* Boyd threw five touchdown passes in today’s game for the sixth time in his career. It was also the third time that he accomplished the feat in the first half.
* With the win, Boyd now has 31 wins as a starting quarterback, just one shy of the Clemson record of 32 held by Rodney Williams.
* Sammy Watkins passed DeAndre Hopkins to break the school record for career receiving yards with an eight-yard reception on the first play of the game. Watkins finished the game with seven receptions for 58 yards to give him 3,071 receiving yards for his career.
* Watkins is now fourth in ACC history in receptions with 217 and sixth in receiving yards with 3,071.
* Chandler Catanzaro scored nine points in today’s game to give him 395 for his career. He is now second in ACC history in points, trailing only Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins, who had 466 in his career from 2009-12.
* Catanzaro also made his 66th career field goal in today’s game. He is now tied for sixth in ACC history in career field goals.
* Roderick McDowell rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries in today’s game. He now has three games with at least 100 rushing yards this season.
* Quandon Christian recovered a fumble and returned it 22 yards for the score. It was the fourth touchdown by a defensive player for the Tigers this season, which is the most in a single season since 2006 when Clemson also had four. Christian is the first player since Howard Bartley in 1998 to score his first career touchdown on senior day.
* Purple Heart recipient Daniel Rodriguez scored his first career touchdown on Military Appreciation Day. It came on a two-yard pass from Cole Stoudt in the fourth quarter.
* Jay Jay McCullough rushed the ball for the first time in his career and finished the game with six straight carries for 43 yards.
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