The Clemson Tigers amassed 662 yards of total offense in a total domination of the Citadel Bulldogs, winning 61-3 Saturday afternoon at Death Valley.
After a couple of weeks where he lacked momentum, Kelly Bryant seemed to regain confidence as he threw for 230 yards on just 17 completions, with three touchdown passes.
Clemson scored on its first five possessions, with four straight touchdowns followed by field goal. The Tigers made quick work of the Bulldogs, as none of the four touchdown drives took longer than 2:17 of game time.
Bryant said it was important to have this game before the stretch run to get some of the swagger back he had earlier in the season.
Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson took over with Clemson on top, 31-0, as Cooper threw a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins with just five seconds remaining on the first half clock.
Cooper, who saw his first action since the loss at Syracuse, exuded more confidence, completing 7-of-11 passes for 105 yards.
Johnson, the less-seasoned of the two backups, also sparkled, going 7-of-8 through the air including a 78-yard touchdown pass started by a one-handed grab from Higgins.
Both players gained invaluable experience in the blowout victory.
Travis Etienne continued his sensational freshman campaign on Saturday, as he ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
His 11 rushing touchdowns on the season surpassed CJ Spiller’s Clemson record for touchdown runs as a freshman. Four of those touchdowns have come in the last two weeks.
Etienne rushed right around his season average at 7.7 yards per carry and led an offense that gained 193 yards on 26 attempts.
The freshman from Louisiana continues to impress the coaching staff, as well as himself.
The defense flexed its muscles despite not being able to keep the shutout intact.
Brett Venables was encouraged the guys he was able to play, and also some of the players he hadn’t used in recent weeks due to injury.
Still, Clemson played things conservative, sitting LBs Tre Lamar, Kendall Joseph and DT Dexter Lawrence (OT Mitch Hyatt also did not play).
Venables did say it was good to see Marcus Edmond back on the field, and see them continue to work on the concepts that have made them successful all year.
It was a culmination day for a senior class that finished its time at Death Valley with a 27-1 home record, the best home winning percentage in school history.
Dorian O’Daniel is proud of that fact, but knows there’s more football left to play.
Dabo Swinney after the game had little to quibble with after a complete effort from his team.
Will Palaszczuk offered his analysis with his postgame Periscope report:
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) November 18, 2017
Clemson (10-1) concludes the regular season with the Palmetto Bowl against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 Saturday and can be seen on ESPN.