Ellington, Hopkins power Clemson past Auburn
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Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions, and No. 14 Clemson opened the season with 26-19 victory over Auburn Saturday night.
Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta — basically halfway between the two campuses — Clemson shook off any hangover from last season’s embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn (0-1) even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.
The second half was a battle of field goals before Tajh Boyd lofted a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins, who made a brilliant, twisting catch in the corner of the end zone with 9:17 remaining.
Ellington broke off a couple of long runs to set up a chip-shot field goal with just over a minute remaining for the final margin. Auburn got the ball back one more time, but with only one timeout. The Tigers didn’t even get it across midfield, the game ending on a desperate heave by new quarterback Kiehl Frazier.
The 5-foot-10-inch Ellington scooted around and through the Auburn defense on 26 carries, the longest resulting in a 68-yard gain. Hopkins finished with 119 receiving yards. Boyd did his part, too, completing 24 of 34 for 208 yards and carrying the ball 19 times for 58 yards.Florida State 69, Murray St. 3 — Lonnie Pryor, James Wilder Jr., and Debrale Smiley combined for seven rushing TDs to lead the No. 7 Seminoles’ rout in Tallahassee, Fla.
Pryor ran for three TDs, and Smiley and Wilder added two apiece. Wilder finished with 106 rushing yards.
Florida State scored on its first touch of the new season on Rashad Greene’s 47-yard punt return just 89 seconds into the game. EJ Manuel passed for 188 yards and a touchdown before retiring midway in the third quarter.
Wake Forest 20, Liberty 17 — Redshirt freshman Deandre Martin scored the go-ahead TD in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run as the Demon Deacons came from behind for the victory in Winston Salem, N.C. In a rain-soaked game, Wake Forest had all it could handle with Liberty, a FCS foe with 65 scholarship players. North Carolina 62, Elon 0 — In Chapel Hill, N.C., Gio Bernard had three first-half touchdowns and the Tar Heels had their biggest scoring day in 17 years in the debut of coach Larry Fedora. Bernard had a 59-yard TD run down the left sideline, a 6-yard scoring catch, and a 70-yard punt return for a score down the right sideline — all by the 12-minute mark of the second quarter.
Virginia 43, Richmond 19 — Michael Rocco threw for 311 yards and a touchdown and the Cavaliers dominated the Spiders in Charlottesville, Va.