By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - DeAndre Hopkins caught three touchdown passes, Andre Ellington rushed for two scores and Spencer Benton kicked a 61-yard field goal to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record in No. 12 Clemson's 52-27 victory over Ball State on Saturday.
"We were coming off an emotional game last week. They did a great job setting
the tone early with some great drives. We scored the most points in a half of
any Clemson team since 1981," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
Ellington's two short TD runs helped the Tigers (2-0) get off to a fast start, and Tajh Boyd found Hopkins for touchdown passes of 13, 34 and 15 yards in the second period to help increase the lead to 35-10.
"It just felt great to come out and make plays for my team. Coach
(Chad) Morris trusts me to put the ball in my hands. I just wanted to come
out for my team," said Hopkins.
Benton finished the Tigers' 45-point half with his record-setting kick as time ran out.
"Last week we had an opportunity against Auburn, 55 or 56 yards and I
went out there and it was my first attempt at a long field goal, and I
hooked it left. I was thinking, ‘Man, if I could have another go at it I
could make it.' I just asked God to keep me calm and confident and trust
my preparation. Great, great up-field blocking by my teammates.
Michael Sobeski had a flawless snap. Chandler Catanzaro with the perfect
hold. Everything clicked, and it was awesome. I was just glad to see it
go through and over. It was just ecstatic from there," said Benton.
Ball State (1-1) had hoped to use its fast-paced attack to keep up. But Keith Wenning threw two interceptions, both which led to Clemson scores.
"I'm proud of our overall performance, but there is still a lot we
can improve on. It was a good game to grow on. We can play to the
standard we have set," said Swinney.
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ABC News 4 contributed quotes to this story.