White's Cole Stoudt, Sammy Watkins connect, but Orange strikes back late for 34-26 victory

Stoudt set a Clemson spring game record by passing for 304 yards, 4 TDs; Watkins has 7 catches, 156 yards, two scores

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt attempts a pass during the Orange-White Spring Football Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt attempts a pass during the Orange-White Spring Football Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Once Cole Stoudt found his way onto the same page as Sammy Watkins, he made quarterbacking Clemson's offense look easy.

Stoudt, a rising junior and a two-year backup to Tajh Boyd, set a Clemson spring game record by passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, and rallied the White from a 17-0 deficit to a 26-24 halftime lead in the Tigers' Orange-White game Saturday at Death Valley.

In the end, however, it was the Orange that had the satisfaction of winning, as Donny McElveen - filling in after freshman Chad Kelly went down early with what is feared to be a torn ACL - delivered a 50-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Jordan Leggett on a fourth-and-three play in the fourth quarter, and Bradley Pinion then tacked on a late field goal for a 34-26 Orange victory.

"I loved the way they competed," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "The Orange team jumped out and got way up, and other team comes back and competes their tails off and gets right back in it. That was good see.

"That was really what I want to see - guy competing and playing with enthusiasm. A lot of big plays were made all throughout the game.

Stoudt connected with Watkins for a pair of long touchdown, and then found tight end Stanton Seckinger for 75 yards and Adam Humphries for a 51-yarder, as the White shrugged off their early 17-0 deficit.

"The first play to Sammy sort of got me going," said Stoudt. "I settled in and got my confidence and just tried to play my game."

"I thought Cole was outstanding," said Swinney. "I thought Nick Schuessler and Donny Mac came in and did a heck of a job, as well. Those two guys haven't had near the reps that Cole and Chad and Tajh (Boyd) have had. But this is what it's all about - being prepared when you opportunity comes."

While Stoudt demonstrated both his poise and accuracy, the head-to-head competition against Kelly never had a chance to materialize.

Kelly, after directing a 75-yard, 11-play touchdown drive, capped by a 16-yard scoring strike to Charone Peake, on the game's first possession, went down in the second series, twisting his knee awkwardly while trying to avoid a collision with Travis Blanks. Kelly will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage.

Kelly completed six of seven passes for 43 yards and a touchdown before being injured.

McElveen, a veteran walk-on, came on for Kelly and worked the next two series, resulting in a 43-yard field goal by Pinion and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Maratvis Bryant, and putting the Orange on top 17-0.

On the White's next two possessions, Stoudt found Watkins for touchdown strikes. Watkins, playing the outside 'boundary' receiver position for the first time, got behind the Orange secondary for his first score, and then, on the next possession, turned a short completion into a touchdown sprint.

The Orange struck back with a Nick Schuessler-directed touchdown, capped by the walk-on freshman quarterback's 36-yard run after the White defense bit hard on an inside play fake.

The White narrowed the deficit to 24-20 on Stoudt's 75-yard TD pass to Seckinger, and then took the lead, 26-24, on his connection with Humphries. Chandler Catanzaro missed back-to-back PATs.

The two offenses combined for 632 yards on 90 plays in the first half - 353 by the White and 279 by the Orange.

The second half was played with a running clock, and was uneventful until the Orange's final two scores.

Watkins led the receivers with seven catches for 156 yards, while Martavis Bryant had seven for 110 yards, Leggett seven for 98 yards, and Charone Peake seven for 94 yards.

Overall, Swinney he was pleased with the Tigers' performance on Saturday, and throughout the spring.

“I am satisfied with how we finished the spring," he said. "We had two physical scrimmages, offense vs. defense, and then divided the team today in a split squad. When you do that you will have some thin spots. The defense dominated the scrimmage on Monday. I know we're going to be much improved on defense - I've seen that this spring."

Tajh Boyd said out Saturday's scrimmage, but shuttled from sideline to sideline, helping both team's quarterbacks.

In addition to Kelly, several other Tigers suffered what are thought to be minor injuries - tight end Sam Cooper, offensive guard Kalon Davis, center Ryan Norton, offensive tackle Shaq Anthony and wide receiver Andrew Maass.

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Comments » 1

clemsongirl13 writes:

McElveen earned a scholarship last summer and still has it

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