Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson added another team record to his résumé on Saturday in the ACC Championship game.
The Heisman Trophy candidate completed his first 10 passes against Virginia Tech after completing his final nine against South Carolina. The 19 consecutive completions is a Clemson record, breaking Nealon Greene’s record of 17 from 1997. Green completed his last 13 passes against Virginia and first four against Maryland.
Watson entered the game as the hottest quarterback in the country.
In the month of November, he passed for 1,298 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 75.5 percent of his passes.
Tigers starting linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was ejected from the game in the first quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Virginia Tech fullback Sam Rogers.
The ejection was the first of the year for Clemson. Fellow linebacker Ben Boulware was called for targeting against Boston College, but after replay the call was overturned.
O’Daniel was replaced in the lineup by Jalen Williams. Williams made four tackles in the first half with a tackle for loss and pass breakup.
No one was sure what the crowd for the ACC title game would be like after the game was moved from Charlotte to Orlando, but Clemson fans provided a home-field advantage for the Tigers, despite having to travel to the Sunshine State.
A report from USA Today on Friday afternoon stated that “tens of thousands of free ticket vouchers went out to Disney employees” as the ACC tried to fill up the stadium. But the bottom two levels of the Clemson side of Camping World Stadium were packed, and several thousand Tigers fans were in the upper deck. Clemson had an obvious advantage in terms of the crowd.
Virginia Tech’s first touchdown drive was aided by coach Justin Fuente digging deep into his playbook.
With the Hokies facing a fourth-and-10 late in the first quarter, punter Mitchell Ludwig found Terrell Edmunds for a 20-yard gain on a flip pass that was caught behind the line of scrimmage.
Virginia Tech was flagged for having ineligible receivers down field, but after review it was determined the pass was caught behind the line of scrimmage, so the offensive linemen were allowed to be downfield.
On the next play, Rogers attempted a pass to Isaiah Ford and the Hokies got 15 more yards on a pass interference call.
▪ Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett had three catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. In the process, the senior passed Dwayne Allen for the single-season receiving yardage record by a Clemson tight end. As of halftime, Leggett had 632 receiving yards on the year. He is the first Clemson tight end to top 600 receiving yards in a season.
▪ Tigers running back C.J. Fuller had a career-long 27-yard run in the first quarter.