(14) Clemson 26


Auburn 19


Coverage: ESPN

7:00 PM ET, September 1, 2012

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

1 2 3 4 T
#14CLEM 3 10 3 1026
AUB 7 3 6 319

Top Performers

Passing: T. Boyd (CLEM) - 208 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Ellington (CLEM) - 25 CAR, 228 YDS

Receiving: D. Hopkins (CLEM) - 13 REC, 119 YDS, 1 TD

Clemson gets 231 yards out of Andre Ellington to drop Auburn

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Sammy who? DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions, filling the void left by star receiver Sammy Watkins, and Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards to lead No. 14 Clemson to a 26-19 victory over Auburn in the season opener 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 even without 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.

"No one is celebrating more than Sammy Watkins back in Clemson," coach Dabo Swinney said.

Ellington broke off a couple of long runs to set up a chip-shot field goal with just over a minute remaining for the final margin. Auburn got the ball back one more time, but with only one timeout. The Southeastern Conference team didn't even get it across midfield, the game ending on a desperate heave by new quarterback Kiehl Frazier.

The 5-foot-10 Ellington scooted around and through the Auburn defense on 26 carries, the longest of them a 68-yarder that set up Clemson's first touchdown.

"I certainly didn't get it all on my own," Ellington said. "I'm just thankful to have a great line in front of me."

Hopkins broke Airese Currie's school record of 12 receptions against Middle Tennessee State in 2003, finishing with 119 yards receiving.

Boyd did his part, too, completing 24 of 34 for 208 yards and carrying the ball 19 times for 58 yards. Clemson finished with 320 yards rushing and 528 yards overall, marring the debut of new Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, returning to the stadium where he spent the past four seasons with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

"Our credit goes to the guys up front," Swinney said. "When you rush for 320 yards and win the turnover margin, you're going to win a bunch of ballgames."

Frazier had a 54-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake, hitting the receiver in stride to put Auburn ahead 7-3 late in the first quarter. The sophomore, who beat out last year's starter, Clint Mosey, for the job in fall camp, showed plenty of potential but is still a work in progress. Frazier passed for 194 yards despite completing just 11 of 27.

"I did all right," Frazier said, "but I made a lot of mistakes and left some plays out there on the field."

Tre Mason led Auburn in rushing with 107 yards.

Both teams kicked four field goals. Cody Parkey connected from 37, 46, 27 and 36 yards for Auburn, the last of them putting his team ahead with 12:50 remaining. Chandler Catanzaro was just as accurate for Clemson, booting it through from 24, 40, 37 and 18 yards.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Boyd threw behind tight end Sam Cooper, the ball bouncing off his hands and right to Auburn linebacker Daren Bates for an interception. He returned it to the Clemson 35.

Mason ran it three times, taking the ball inside the Clemson 10, but a crucial holding penalty on Greg Robinson, a redshirt freshman making his first college appearance at left tackle, cost the Tigers a chance for the second TD. They wound up settling for yet another field goal by Parkey.

That wasn't enough to hold off Clemson.

Boyd broke off a 27-yard run after faking a handoff out of the shotgun and scrambled for another first down on third-and-5, keeping the drive going with a 10-yard gain. Ellington slid around right end for 8 yards, then took off up the middle for a 9-yard run. Finally, on first-and-goal at the Auburn 4, Clemson stuck it in the end zone.

Credit Hopkins for that. Boyd took one step back and floated a pass toward the corner. Even though cornerback Chris Davis grabbed at the junior receiver, drawing a flag, Hopkins went up and got it. He corkscrewed his body around to snag the ball, managing to get a foot down before he tumbled out of bounds.

Frazier had a second-quarter interception that was essentially a punt, lofting a desperation pass down the field on third-and-15 that was picked off by Rashard Hall way down at the Clemson 15.

Turns out, that just gave Ellington more room to run. He burst down the field on his 68-yarder, and the officials tacked on a few more yards when Jonathan Mincy was flagged for a personal foul at the end of the play. On the very next snap, Roderick McDowell scored on a 7-yard run to put Clemson ahead 13-7.

Clemson gave the maligned Atlantic Coast Conference a much-needed win over an SEC opponent on the second of back-to-back openers at the Georgia Dome between the two leagues. Tennessee romped past North Carolina State 35-21 the previous night, a game marred by the death of a 20-year-old fan who fell out of the upper deck.


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2817
Total Yards528374
3rd Down Conversions8-174-13
4th Down Conversions1-10-1

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

FG05:22Chandler Catanzaro 24 Yd 30
TD03:38Emory Blake 54 Yd Pass From Kiehl Frazier (Cody Parkey Kick) 37
FG10:06Chandler Catanzaro 40 Yd 67
TD07:26Roderick McDowell 7 Yd Run (Chandler Catanzaro Kick) 137
FG01:24Cody Parkey 37 Yd 1310
FG08:38Cody Parkey 46 Yd 1313
FG04:39Chandler Catanzaro 37 Yd 1613
FG00:55Cody Parkey 27 Yd 1616
FG12:50Cody Parkey 36 Yd 1619
TD09:17DeAndre Hopkins 4 Yd Pass From Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro Kick) 2319
FG01:24Chandler Catanzaro 18 Yd 2619

Research Notes

Andre Ellington ran for 228 yards in Clemson's win against Auburn. Ellington is the only the third ACC player since 2004 with multiple 200-yard rushing games. Seven ACC _teams_ don't even have multiple 200-yd rushing games by an individual in that period.
In the Tigers vs Tigers battle... Clemson wins consecutive meetings with Auburn for the first time since 1950-51. From 1952 until 2010, they played each other 14 times. Auburn was 14-0. Since then, Clemson is 2-0.
In the Tigers vs Tigers battle... Clemson wins consecutive meetings with Auburn for the first time since 1950-51. From 1952 until 2010, they played each other 14 times. Auburn was 14-0. Since then, Clemson is 2-0.
Clemson now has a win against an SEC team in 9 of the last 11 seasons. Clemson Wins vs SEC Teams Last 11 Seasons 2012 Auburn 2011 Auburn 2010 None (0-2) 2009 Kentucky (bowl game) 2008 South Carolina 2007 South Carolina 2006 None (0-2) 2005 South Carolina 2004 South Carolina 2003 South Carolina, Tennessee (bowl game) 2002 South Carolina

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