BLACKSBURG, Va. — Now Tajh Boyd and No. 13 Clemson can really start to believe.
Boyd directed another efficient offense and the Tigers’ defense turned in its best effort of the season in Clemson’s first road game, a 23-3 victory against No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
The Tigers (5-0) became the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to beat ranked opponents three weeks in a row, and ended the Hokies’ 12-game winning streak in league play.
“Coach (Dabo) Swinney calls it the ‘Shock the World Tour,’” Boyd said, after the Tigers followed four consecutive home games with their first victory in the last six tries against the Hokies.
“We really feel like we believe in what we can do, but I don’t think a lot of people have seen that yet,” the Virginia native said. “We’re steadily attaining our goals.”
And while Boyd was the headliner in victories against Auburn and Florida State, he had plenty of help this time: rushing touchdowns from Andre Ellington and Mike Bellamy, and a defense that limited the Hokies to 258 yards and no touchdowns at home for the first time since 1995.
The defensive performance stood out, even for the offense.
“Those guys were just waiting for the opportunity to show they could shut down an offense and big players,” tight end Dwayne Allen said. “We’ve learned a little from each win. Last week in the Florida State game, we learned the defense could be dominant when we needed it to be.”
Andre Branch led the way with three sacks, and was involved in 11 tackles.
The Tigers’ offense dissected another heralded defense.
It did it last week against the Seminoles’ fifth-ranked defense in a 35-30 victory, and again against the Hokies’ fourth-ranked unit, which was allowing 231 yards per game.
The Tigers had 323, 204 through the air as Boyd completed 13 of 32 attempts, including a number of third-and-long conversions.
“He probably didn’t have his greatest game, but he made plays when they needed him to,” Hokies linebacker Bruce Taylor said
Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas was just 15 for 27 for 125 yards and was sacked four times.