CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tajh Boyd sent Sammy Watkins out wide to the right and saw freshman Tim Harris sliding over in man-to-man coverage.
Clemson faced third and 15 from its 4, a situation that usually calls for a more conservative play call, but Boyd saw the home run potential and went for it.
Moments later, Watkins was easing into the end zone after a 96-yard catch that gave the ninth-ranked Tigers a 42-7 lead over Virginia. Boyd and Watkins were done for the night in what became a 59-10 victory Saturday.
"When they're out there," Boyd said of Watkins and fellow speedy receiver Martavius Bryant, "you've just got to throw your arm out, honestly, and they'll run and go get it."
The Tigers did plenty of that in what Boyd and coach Dabo Swinney called their most complete performance of the season. It came two weeks after their worst, a 51-14 loss to No. 3 Florida State, and marked the start of a big finish, Boyd said.
"November is when we want to play our best football," Boyd said. "Hopefully we put a stamp on it (Saturday) and we're just going to try to take off from here."
The Hampton, Va., native played one half and one series and became the ACC career leader in touchdown-making with a 33-yard pass to Watkins to start the scoring for the Tigers. It broke a tie at 112 TDs with North Carolina State's Philip Rivers. Boyd added TD throws of 10 yards to Roderick McDowell and the 96-yarder, the longest completion of his career and the longest reception of Watkins' career. Boyd also scored on a 1-yard run.
"Tremendous performance by that young man," Swinney said.
Virginia lost its sixth in a row and 15th in 19 games. It also suffered its second 59-10 loss at home this season, after a Week 2 defeat to No. 2 Oregon.
"We have no choice but to keep our confidence up," linebacker Henry Coley said after the Cavaliers were also eliminated from bowl contention for the second season in a row. "There are still three more games to play."
BC 34, VA. TECH 27: Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Lewis had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and Andre Williams ran for two scores for the host Eagles.
Boston College is coming off a season in which it went 2-10 and lost seven of eight ACC games before firing coach Frank Spaziani. New coach Steve Addazio is hoping a victory over a good team will continue its growth.
"This was a really big game for our program in terms of our building," he said after his Eagles recovered from three deficits. "It's one game. We know it's only one game. We stand here at 4-4. We're even at 4-4. All that matters is getting number five. That's why this is a brick, this game. This is a brick to put in the foundation."
SYRACUSE 13, WAKE 0: Terrel Hunt scored on a 6-yard run to break a scoreless tie in the third quarter, and freshman defensive end Isaiah Johnson set up another score with an interception moments later to lift the host Orange to a critical win for its postseason hopes.
UNC 27, N.C. STATE 19: Freshman T.J. Logan ran for a 14-yard touchdown with 11:19 left, Quinshad Davis had two touchdown catches for the Tar Heels, who won in Carter-Finley Stadium for the first time since 2005.
GA. TECH 21, PITT 10: Robert Godhigh ran for two touchdowns, and the host Yellow Jackets recorded a season-high five sacks en route to their third straight win.