The offense clicked on the ground and in the air, amassing 551 yards on 98 plays. The defense came up big during a pivotal stretch of the third quarter, and special teams contributed 16 points.

It was a relentless performance by No. 9 Clemson, which returned to form in grand style Saturday in a 40-27 victory over injury-riddled Maryland.

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COLLEGE PARK, MD – Entering the fourth quarter of No. 9 Clemson’s game at Maryland Saturday afternoon and the Tigers holding on to a precarious 19-13 lead, it began to look as if the Tigers’ last trip to Maryland for an ACC game might end in devastating fashion.

Clemson responded with 21 fourth quarter points, the Tigers went over the 200-yard rushing mark for the first time this season and Sammy Watkins set a school record with 14 receptions as the Tigers escaped College Park with a 40-27 victory at Byrd Stadium.

Clemson’s offense committed three more turnovers –an alarming trend – and while they scored on seven of eight red zone trips, just three of those ended with touchdowns as the Tigers held a slim 19-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Both teams muddled through possessions and punts until early in the fourth quarter. Needing a big play, the Tigers got it from their defense and corner Bashaud Breeland, who missed the first half after being ejected last week for targeting.

Maryland running back Albert Reid took the handoff from Rowe and bounced outside, where he was hit by Breeland, who forced the fumbled. It was picked up by linebacker Spencer Shuey at the Maryland 31 and returned to the 22.

Four plays later, Boyd ran a quarterback power up the middle for a five-yard touchdown, and the Tigers were able to find a little breathing room with the 26-13 lead, and McDowell later added a three-yard run that made it 33-13 midway through the fourth quarter. The Terrapins got right back in it with a touchdown that made it 33-20, but McDowell capped off a record-breaking day with a 45-yard touchdown that accounted for the final points.