CLEMSON, S.C. — No. 21 Auburn’s luck ended Saturday along with its 17-game winning streak as Tajh Boyd threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns in Clemson’s 38-24 victory over the defending national champions.
Auburn (2-1) took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Boyd began hitting his targets over the final three periods. Clemson converted 10 straight third-down attempts as it improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2007.
Auburn may have a dynamic offense, but its was last in Southeastern Conference defense coming in and it showed at Death Valley. Clemson scored on five of six possessions at one point and gained 624 yards — its most ever against an SEC opponent.
Trailing 38-24 in the fourth quarter, Auburn moved to Clemson’s 8-yard line. But Barrett Trotter was intercepted by Coty Sensabaugh to end the threat.
Michael Dyer led Auburn with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Clemson players jumped around in celebration when the clock struck zero and fans swarmed the field.
Clemson had lost 14 straight to Auburn since a 34-0 win in 1951. That was also the last time Clemson posted as many yards of offense (524) against an SEC opponent — Clemson plays South Carolina, an SEC member since 1992, each year
Boyd’s touchdown passes included throws of 65 and 19 yards to freshman receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins finished with 10 catches for 155 yards, both setting Clemson records for a freshman.
Trotter was continually harrassed by Clemson’s defense, particularly in the second half when he completed four passes. He finished 12 of 25 for 198 yards in his first road start.
Auburn expected to see a mirror-image of its offense out of Clemson: It’s new coordinator Chad Morris is good friends and a student of Auburn offensive leader Gus Malzahn. But it was Malzahn’s well-honed attack that got the better of things early on, threatening to give the Atlantic Coast Conference another black eye in nonconference play.
Dyer struck for a 52-yard touchdown run on Auburn’s second series and Emory Blake caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Barrett Trotter a series later for a 14-0 lead.
It was Blake’s sixth straight game with scoring catch, something Auburn hadn’t seen since Byron Franklin did it in 1980.
Dyer’s second rushing touchdown of the game put Auburn ahead 21-7 midway through the second quarter.
But Auburn’s defensive cracks eventually showed up for Clemson to plow through. Boyd was 3-of-3 on third-down throws the next time Clemson had the ball, including a 6-yard TD pass to Dwayne Allen in the back of the end zone to end an 81-yard scoring drive.
Clemson went 75 yards the next time it got the ball, the big play coming on Allen’s 23-yard catch to the Auburn 2. Andre Ellington finished things off with a touchdown run to tie the game.
The teams combined for 520 yards of offense in the opening half, Auburn gaining 285 of those. That changed dramatically after halftime with Clemson outgaining Auburn, 389-150.