Clemson Secures Victory Against Charleston Southern, 66-17


To win its 20th consecutive home opener at Memorial Stadium, No. 25/21 Clemson (1-1, 0-1 ACC) utilized 45 unanswered points to rout Charleston Southern (1-1) 66-17 on Saturday.

Clemson amassed 679 yards of offense and outgained Charleston Southern by 606 yards. The Tigers’ defense limited the Buccaneers to just 73 total yards and 12 rushing yards. Eight three-and-outs were forced, two sacks were recorded, and 10 tackles for a loss were made by Clemson.

Cade Klubnik had a 28-for-37 completion percentage for 315 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in his maiden start at Death Valley. Beaux Collins tied his previous career best of 137 receiving yards and set a new one with seven grabs, while Antonio Williams added two receiving scores to his 64 receiving yards.

Will Shipley had the most yards rushing for the Tigers with 73, and Phil Mafah contributed 59 yards and two scores.

Klubnik’s 10-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Williams finished the Tigers’ opening drive, which resulted in a 68-yard score for the team. On Clemson’s subsequent drive, a handoff error on fourth-and-1 resulted in a 25-yard return of a fumble by Charleston Southern to the Clemson one-yard line, setting up the Buccaneers for a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

Charleston Southern went in front. Klubnik was the target of a pick-six by Leon Thomas with 3:47 remaining in the opening round. Running back Phil Mafah scored on a one-yard run to knot the score at 14-14 as Clemson answered with a 57-yard drive.

The third three-and-out by the Clemson defense in the first half was made possible by Xavier Thomas’ first sack of the year. The following Clemson possession began with a 29-yard pass from Klubnik to Williams that put Clemson in scoring position. On the third play of the drive, the pair connected once more for a five-yard touchdown pass.

Charleston Southern was forced to settle for a 45-yard field goal with 5:26 remaining in the first half to get the score down to 21-17. The Tigers would add a field goal of their own to make the score 24-17 at the half.

Clemson would control the second half. Shipley gained a total of 31 yards on Clemson’s first drive of the second quarter, laying the groundwork for fellow running back Mafah to score his second touchdown of the contest and extend Clemson’s advantage to 31-17.

Wade Woodaz intercepted a pass on the first play of Charleston Southern’s subsequent drive, and he returned it 35 yards for a Clemson score after a strong hit from Jeadyn Lukas knocked it loose.

The two Clemson touchdowns were scored barely 12 seconds apart from one another, which is a school record for scrimmage plays.

Beaux Collins was connected to by Klubnik across the middle on Clemson’s subsequent drive, and Collins outran the defense to score the game’s first touchdown and extend the lead. Klubnkik guided the Tigers to a 91-yard scoring drive after another defensive stop, during which he connected with redshirt freshman Josh Sapp on a 25-yard touchdown pass to give Sapp his first collegiate score.

In the fourth quarter, Hunter Helms replaced Klubnik at quarterback and guided Clemson on a 90-yard drive that freshman Jay Haynes capped with an eight-yard rush for his first touchdown of the season.

Clemson increased its advantage to 66-17 with a touchdown pass of six yards from quarterback Paul Tyson to receiver Haynes in the final five minutes of play. Jim and Candace Brown and Dabo Swinney took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the game to formally unveil Clemson’s refurbished Tiger Walk plaza to the west of Memorial Stadium.

The renovated Tiger Walk site now honors historical figures from Clemson, creating a year-round destination for Tiger supporters and a permanent representation of Clemson Football’s history and culture. It has in-ground plaques for each era that list each team captain throughout school history.