Turning Point: Corey Crawford's TD fumble return sets the stage for Tiger runaway

Big first-quarter defensive play put Clemson on top 14-0, and the Tigers were off and running

Clemson defensive tackle Corey Crawford points upward while rubbing the Howard's Rock, before running down the hill, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson defensive tackle Corey Crawford points upward while rubbing the Howard's Rock, before running down the hill, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Ball security, from the start, was one of Maryland's biggest concerns.

Depleted of playmakers, without an effective passer on its roster, the Terps needed to run the football, keep the football, secure the football, and not give away anything cheap, especially early in the game.

The game started well-enough for the Terps.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff (for the ninth time in 10 games), picked up a quick first down, but then stalled - Tajh Boyd was dropped for a loss on a second-down play, and then missed a third-down pass for DeAndre Hopkins.

The Terps caught a bad-bounce on Clemson's punt, which rolled dead at the two. But a pair of handoffs netted four yards, and fill-in, fifth-team quarterback scooted for 10 yards on third-and-six. Maryland's possession ended with back-to-back tackles for loss by Grady Jarrett and Travis Blanks.

Clemson cashed in on its second possession with a seven-play, 52-yard touchdown drive, capping by Adam Humphries' diving catch in the end zone - the first TD reception of his career.

Then disaster struck for the Terps.

On Maryland's first-down play from the 25 after the kickoff, Petty rolled to his left, looking to pass under pressure, cocked his arm and lost the football. Defensive end Corey Crawford reversed field, scooped up the ball, and sprinted 16 yards to the end zone.

Maryland turned the ball over again later in the first quarter, and the Tigers cashed in again with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Hopkins.

Clemson led 21-0, and had plenty of pad to overcome some sloppy play en route to its 45-10 victory.

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