Clemson rides defense, special teams to win over Maryland
The Clemson offense continued to struggle on Saturday, but big plays on defense and special teams propelled the Tigers to their first conference win of the season, a 31-7 win over Maryland.
On the day that Clemson retired C.J. Spiller's No. 28 jersey, Andre Ellington did his best Spiller impression with an 87-yard kickoff return to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Jaron Brown's 41-yard punt return in the third quarter set the Tigers up at the Maryland 21-yard line and led to an Ellington touchdown.
Xavier Brewer intercepted a Danny O'Brien pass late in the fourth quarter and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to end any hopes of a Terrapin comeback.
Clemson gained just 213 total yards on offense, struggling to run the ball against a Maryland defense that dared the Tigers to pass by run-blitzing throughout the game.
Ellington had just 41 yards on 16 carries. Jamie Harper was held to eight yards on eight carries. Each back had a one-yard touchdown run.
The passing game remains a problem for the Tigers. Quarterback Kyle Parker threw for a season-low 106 yards, only completing seven of his 20 passing attempts.
Parker did rush for a career-high 41 yards on 10 carries.
The Clemson defense stifled Maryland's running game but allowed O'Brien to throw for more than 300 yards. Each of O'Brien's three interceptions, however, ended Maryland drives in Clemson territory.
Brewer, DeAndre McDaniel, and Darius Robinson each had an interception for the Tigers.
Da'Quan Bowers recorded three sacks and now leads the nation in sacks (nine) and tackles for loss (15.5).
The win was Clemson's first over Maryland since 2007, when the Tigers beat the Terrapins 30-17 in College Park.