CLEMSON — Chad Morris was quite satisfied Saturday night. And why not? His Clemson offense rebounded from an early hole for one of its best games ever. The Tigers rolled up 62 points (most against an ACC foe since 1981), 754 yards (second best in program history to the 756 against Wake Forest in that infamous 82-24 win), had a quarterback with 400-plus yards passing (Tajh Boyd), two 100-yard rushers (Boyd and Andre Ellington) and two 100-yard receivers ( Brandon Ford and Sammy Watkins).
Morris discussed the good and bad of Clemson’s 62-48 win over N.C. State, which left the Tigers 10-1 entering next week’s rivalry showdown against South Carolina.
On rebounding from an early hole: “We tried to figure out what went wrong. There wasn’t panic. Nobody was panicking. Just try to figure it out and let’s get going. But we were going to try and stay balanced. That’s what we’ve done all year long. And when you’ve got a quarterback that’s playing as effective as Tajh is – I know we had a couple of turnovers, a couple of interceptions – but he was playing effective and able to make plays with his feet, and it definitely opens up a lot of things for us.”
On Boyd’s season and Heisman contention: “There’s no doubt. I think he’s one of the best in the country. If not the best in the country. You see what he’s done, week in and week out, he’s as consistent as anybody. Tonight he rushed for over 100, whatever he had wrong with him… what he’s done for this team has been unbelievable.”
Why isn’t he part of the Heisman talk: “I think a lot of it has to do with the prior three weeks, only playing half of a game. I think that’s hurt him. And it’s nothing he can control. We were trying to be smart with him, but he’s been effective in the first half and the first part of the third quarter. As coaches you try to be smart. You can leave him in there and that’s not the smart thing to do. That has a lot to do with it. I hope he gets mentioned and I think he should be.”
On running 102 plays and scoring 62 points: “That’s probably at the top. We had 102? The guys were telling me on the sidelines, even all the coaches’ kids were running around, telling me. Coach, we’re at 88. Even (my son) Chandler was telling me, ‘Dad, we’re at 95.’ I knew we were close. That was something our guys took a lot of pride in. They wanted to hit that 100-play mark and it was something they’ll definitely look back on in a few weeks and be excited about.”
On leaving fewer yards on the field: “I think we’ve maximized what we’ve been able to do. I think there were some things, a couple reads where Tajh could have pulled and kept running, instead he tried to throw the ball out on the flat, went through his read. For the most part we’re capitalizing on every opportunity.”
On the interceptions: “He held the ball a little too long. And when you hold the ball a little too long, you need to get the ball outside. Keep the ball away from the middle when you’re holding it too long. The ball’s got to get outside. I thought he held it a little long. He had Brandon Ford open outside, and we forced a ball, probably a bad play-call to be honest with you. I’ll put that one on me. The other turnover down there, third down, again, should have run it and punted it. But they were giving us a one-high look, which is what we’re looking at when we’re trying to get a ball behind the safety. But it is what it is. I’ve always been aggressive. I could have been smarter on that playcall. I’ll take that, too. I had two interceptions, he had none.”
On ramping up for USC: “We’re going to enjoy this one tonight, get focused in tomorrow on our next opponent. And our guys will be ready. But I’m excited about the way our guys played tonight against a good football team.”
On the shot Boyd took from N.C. State’s Earl Wolff: “I thought he took a pretty good shot on that one. We were close to 100 yards rushing, he’s never had that in his career. A yard away, two yards away. We were going to try and get him the 100. He got it. I wish he’d run a little lower. Needless to say he didn’t, it’s OK.”
On stats vs. getting a guy hurt: “Football is a violent game. At no point did I feel anything other than, we have to keep doing what we have to do to create first downs. We had to do it whether that was running the quarterback or not. Never once did I ever think about not running him until that last first down. He gave us our best opportunity, he’s been running it effectively all night long, and he gave us our best opportunity to move the chains.”