CLEMSON — The Clemson defense allowed only one score Saturday in a 41-7 win over Furman, but defensive coordinator Brent Venables was not pleased with a performance that included allowing 352 yards to an FCS opponent, a performance that included allowing Furman quarterback Reese Hannon to complete 65.5 percent of his passes, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jordan Snellings.
“They’ll break the scoreboard next week (at Florida State) if we don’t play better and more consistent,” Venables said.
No. 5 Florida State beat Wake Forest, 52-0, Saturday.
Venables traced many of the errors to poor execution. While some of the mistakes are traced to youth, even veteran Xavier Brewer was beat deep, earning an earful from coach Dabo Swinney.
“The guy is a fifth-year senior,” Swinney said. “You can imagine what we were talking about.”
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw two touchdown passes Saturday, passing Cullen Harper (42 touchdowns passes) for second place all-time at Clemson with 43 touchdown passes.
Provided he remains healthy, Boyd should easily pass Charlie Whitehurst (49) for the school record. Saturday also marked Boyd’s fifth career 300-yard passing game, second in school history to Whitehurst.
Memorial Stadium was nearly filled to capacity Saturday, with Clemson announcing a crowd of 81,500. The attendance is a Clemson record for a game against an FCS opponent. The previous record for a game against an FCS opponent was 80,625 against Furman in 1988.
“I want to thank our fans,” coach Dabo Swinney said. “You see other games around the country and there are empty seats (early this season).”
Clemson failed to record a sack Saturday against Furman, continuing an early-season trend of the Tigers struggling to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Clemson has three sacks in three games this season. Venables said it was difficult to assess the pass rush Saturday because Furman was in max protection and utilizing quick passes.
Clemson defensive tackle DeShawn Williams injured his foot in the first half and did not return. Right guard Tyler Shatley suffered an ankle injury in the second and also did not return. Swinney said both could have returned if necessary. Shatley was replaced by Ryan Norton. Right tackle Gifford Timothy (knee) did not start but played in the second half. Clemson held Tig Willard (shoulder) out.
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Dabo Swinney on Chandler Catanzaro, who made his 14th consecutive field goal Saturday, tying the program record held by Obed Ariri, who made 14 in a row in 1980.
“Remember how bad he was as a freshman?” Swinney said. “That’s a lesson to all of us … freshmen get better.”
Sophomore Tony Steward saw time at linebacker on Saturday. The former five-star talent is buried on the depth chart and has been mostly relegated to special teams work. Swinney was pleased with his play. … Clemson has now won 51 straight games against current Southern Conference teams. The Tigers are 26-0 all-time against FCS opponents since the NCAA formed the division in 1978.