Turning Point: Tigers take their luck and run with it

After calls go in Clemson's favor, Tigers finish off 38-10 answer to early 7-0 deficit

Clemson strong safety Jonathan Meeks returns an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson strong safety Jonathan Meeks returns an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Sometimes the oblong ball bounces just the right way.

Even if it takes a little help from the guys in stripes.

With Clemson clinging to a 17-10 lead midway through the third quarter, and the Tigers' offense having just struggled to a pair of three-and-outs, Virginia Tech had a chance to swing the momentum.

Third-and-eight from the Clemson 29, Logan Thomas stood tall in the pocket under pressure, and with Tiger defensive lineman Josh Watson hanging on for dear life, the Hokies' quarterback floated a pass to wide-open receiver Dyrell Roberts, uncovered in the right flat.

It was just like a play that helped the Hokies roll past Duke a week ago.

Only this time it didn't stand.

Even as Brent Venables erupted in rage over the blown coverage, the whistle blew and the officials ruled Thomas to have been sacked - "in the grasp."

The Hokies punted the ball away, and two plays later, Tajh Boyd hit Sammy Watkins with a short pass. As he attempted to break from the grasp of a Virginia Tech tackler, Watkins lost the football. The initial call ruled him down, but a replay followed that seemed to show the ball out before Watkins was on the ground.

After a lengthy discussion, however, the officials opted not to reverse the call. Clemson retained possession, and moments later, on a third-and-six play from the Virginia Tech 36, Boyd lofted a perfect toss - perhaps his best of a sub-par day - into the hands of Watkins for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later, Andre Ellington weaved his way through the Hokie defense on 12-yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers a 24-10 lead.

Clemson, having rallied from an early 7-0 deficit, completed a 31-3 run on its next possession with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins, and the Tigers - having capitalized on their own good fortunate - had their third straight one-sided victory over Virginia Tech within grasp.

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