Clemson QB Watson apologizes to fans for 'negative energy'


Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) is slow getting up after scoring a touchdown against Troy as teammates Jordan Leggett (16) and Christian Wilkins (42) congratulate him during the first half of an NCAA college footb.

His first of three TD passes against Troy set a Clemson school record with an touchdown throw in 18 straight games.

Watson, a junior, improved to 20-2 as a starter.

No. 2 Clemson overcame a lackluster offensive effort in the first three quarters to score 17 points in the fourth and hold off visiting Troy, 30-24, in the Tigers' 2016 home opener at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

And, of course, there's was Ray-Ray McCloud's embarrassing gaffe where he flipped away the ball on the 1 in his eagerness to celebrate a scintillating, 75-yard punt return. The defense forced Clemson to turn the ball over on downs five times in the game. "We have to let those go and concentrate on playing better and doing what it takes to win the game".

While many were waiting to see Swinney explode on the sideline after the mistake was made, according to McCloud that wasn't the case.

Clemson (2-0), returning eight starters on offense from past year, has struggled to pick up where it left off last season thanks to a combination of mistakes - from dropped passes to an ineffective run game. Deshaun Watson completed 19 of 34 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown.

While the Troy defense played well, many of Clemson's struggles were of its own making.

"We put the D-lineman in there to see if he could catch it and he did", Swinney said. "We're not going to do that". We just don't always put it up on YouTube like this guy did.

The touchdown was recalled by the officials, and Troy was given a touchback as a result of the blunder.

Watson said he spoke with quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter on Sunday night and head coach Dabo Swinney on Monday morning about re-focusing his attitude to more of the fun-loving, care-free vibe he brought to the Tigers in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

"He told me to grow up", McCloud said.

His performance did bolster Troy's confidence. After a Huegel field goal with 2:25 remaining, Troy drove 68 yards and scored to cut the deficit to 30-24, as Silvers connected with Deondre Douglas for a one-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds remaining.

ABOUT CLEMSON (1-0): The Tigers figure to have one of the nation's most dynamic offenses with Heisman Trophy candidate Deshaun Watson returning along with a strong supporting cast. The Trojans were in the backfield all day against the Governors - nine different players recorded tackles for losses - but they'll have a tougher time controlling the line of scrimmage against the Tigers. Clemson needs to find its gear soon before Atlantic Coast Conference play begins at Georgia Tech on September 22.