CLEMSON, S.C. -- This is the way it's supposed to be. Capacity crowd, good weather, a top-five football team. If you're a Clemson fan, what else could you ask for?
The Tigers improved to 7-0 on the season by beating up on short-handed Maryland 35-14 in front of an enthusiastic, homecoming crowd Saturday night at Death Valley.
A national television audience got its first look at the fifth-ranked Tigers, and Clemson didn't disappoint, rolling up 464 yards of total offense and scoring five touchdowns in the game.
"What are they now, 6-0, 7-0?" Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "They're 7-0, I say they deserve to be ranked as high as they are. They've got a lot of good athletes and concepts. They are very aggressive and gaining confidence with every win.
Clemson (7-0 overall, 5-0 ACC), emerged from Saturday night's game as one of only five remaining undefeated teams left in the country after No. 8 Oklahoma beat No. 2 Kansas State and Minnesota upset No. 6 Ohio State.
The Tigers are sure to move up when the ESPN/USA Today and The Associated Press polls are released this afternoon.
However, if Clemson plans on having a shot at winning the ACC and playing for the national championship this season, coach Tommy Bowden stressed the team must learn to cut down on its turnovers.
The Tigers tossed an interception committed a fumble, which killed a promising scoring drive.
"The opening drive or so we had a drive and then had a turnover," Bowden said. "Morgan Woodward fumbled on his little route, then Travis (Zachery) had one later. Turnovers, we had two, and we've got to find some way to eliminate those."
It was obvious Maryland struggled without star running back Lamont Jordan at his best. On the Terps' opening possession, the senior re-aggravated a hip injury he suffered earlier this season and was ineffective for most of the game.
He finished with just 71 yards and one touchdown.
However, even if Jordan had been healthy, the Tigers were determined not to let him run wild like last year when he rushed for 177 yards and scored four touchdowns.
"He kind of embarrassed us last year," Bowden said. "He had a great game; their offensive line really did a good job. I think our defense responded well, and I think they were determined to not to let him have a big game like he did last year."
Zachery became Clemson's all-time touchdown scoring leader with two touchdowns, giving him 34 in his career. In addition, the junior finished with a career-high 151 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Zachery's two touchdowns and quarterback Woody Dantzler's 19-yard touchdown run in the second quarter staked the Tigers to a 20-7 halftime lead, and Clemson never looked back.
"He's really doing a good job reading the blocking schemes and hitting the right creases," Bowden said. "He runs really strong and aggressive. He had one turnover, which we've got to correct. He's had two good games back to back."
Maryland (2-4, 0-3 ACC), who entered the game averaging 321.6 yards per contest, finished with 261 yards of total offense. The Terps gained just 82 yards on the ground.Cornerback Robert Ardley picked off three Terrapin passes, including one in the end zone to thwart a Maryland drive. Ardley's three interceptions matched a school record.
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