These were five minutes and three decisions Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb would love to have back.
Through most of the first quarter Saturday the Mountaineers stuck close to 12th-ranked Clemson. Then Lamb threw interceptions to end three consecutive possessions, the first a promising one with the Mountaineers down 3-0 and well across midfield.
By the time all that was over, the Mountaineers trailed 17-0 en route to a 41-10 rout that ended Appalachian State’s seven-game winning streak.
The Tigers (2-0) led 31-0 at halftime, which allowed coach Dabo Swinney to get some starters off the field in the second half. Clemson has a quick turnaround, playing at Louisville Thursday night on ESPN.
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Appalachian State (1-1) finally avoided a potential shutout with a 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. The Mountaineers added their only touchdown – Lamb’s 1-yard completion to tight end Barrett Burns – early in the fourth quarter.
Three who mattered
Charone Peake: With Mike Williams out for the season with a neck fracture, Clemson needs a new No. 1 receiver. Peake finished the first half with 84 yards and two touchdowns off four receptions.
Taylor Lamb: Appalachian State’s sophomore quarterback made a huge mistake forcing a throw into the end zone after the Mountaineers had driven to the Clemson 24. It was picked off, the first of three interceptions.
Wayne Gallman: The Tigers need a running game to complement quarterback Deshaun Watson. Running back Gallman’s 5.3-yards-per-carry Saturday were a promising sign.
▪ It was fun watching Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins scoot for the end zone after picking off a Lamb pass. Every 300-pounder should get the chance to run with the ball at least once in his college career.
▪ Appalachian State actually has seven victories against ACC opponents. All seven were against Wake Forest from 1975 through 2000.
▪ A mid-September game at Clemson can be brutally hot and humid. That cold front that moved through the South made for ideal game conditions weather-wise.
▪ Lamb’s picks obscured the fact that the Mountaineers’ interior defense held up just fine against the Tigers’ first-string offense for a quarter. Good sign for the Sun Belt schedule.
▪ Watson got thumped in the first half after falling on a bad shotgun snap. He had to come out of the game for a play. He said later he just got the wind knocked out of him.
▪ Saturday’s loss broke Appalachian State’s seven-game winning streak, which was fifth-longest among Football Bowl Subdivision teams. This is the first season the Mountaineers are bowl-eligible as an FBS program. Appalachian State has a bye Saturday.
▪ An early kickoff (12:30 p.m. Saturday) compounds the challenge of getting more than 80,000 fans to Clemson’s stadium in the middle of campus. When the Tigers play at 3:30, the arrivals and departures are more spread out, less choking the roads.
They said it
“We knew watching the video these guys were really good up-front. They’re going to have a lot of success in the Sun Belt.” – Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott on Appalachian State’s defensive line.
“I couldn’t breathe, so I got out for a play, then came right back in.” – Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson on having to leave the game in the first half.
“They were stronger and bigger than we were and, quite frankly, (we got) outmanned.” – Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell