Travis Etienne gets loose for a touchdown against Georgia Tech (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Clemson opened defense of its national championship in dominating fashion Thursday night in Death Valley with a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech. And while most expected the star of the show to be quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it was junior running back Travis Etienne who stole the show rushing for a career high 205 yards including touchdowns of 90, 14 and 48 yards. The Tigers extended their winning streak to 16 and now prepare for their big, early season showdown with 12th ranked Texas A&M next Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.

Here’s my postgame recap from Death Valley


K.J. Henry wraps up Georgia Tech quarterback Tobias Oliver (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Here are some of the key points from Clemson’s win

  • QB Trevor Lawrence did not have to press himself. Georgia Tech schemed to take away the pass so the Tigers resorted to the run. He was 13-23 for 168 yards and 1 touchdown, but he did throw two interceptions. First time he’s done that in a single game in his career. Lawrence also contributed in the run game including a six yard scamper for the game’s first touchdown.
  • Lawrence did exhibit his athleticism and competitiveness on his first interception when he ran down Tre Swilling at the Clemson 2. The Clemson defense denied the Yellow Jackets the end zone with Denzel Johnson coming up with a fourth down interception.
  • The Clemson defensive front had Logan Rudolph, Tyler Davis, Nyles Pinckney and Xavier Thomas as starters. A smaller group size-wise compared to the recent past but very fast. They constantly harassed the Tech quarterbacks and all but eliminated the passing threat. Tech’s only real success came against reserves.
  • Clemson finished with 632 total yards with 411 coming on the ground. Lyn-J Dixon proved to be a solid compliment to Etienne rushing for 64 yards including an 18 yard score. Darien Rencher, Chez Mellusi and Michel Dukes also got some second-half work.
  • 13 different receivers caught a pass. Tee Higgins flashed his talents with 4 catches for 68 yards including a 62 yard scoring pass from Lawrence.
  • PK BT Potter nailed a 51 yard field goal in his only attempt of the night.
  • The defense forced three turnovers with Johnson and Tanner Muse coming up with interceptions. And the Tigers had three sacks. Isaiah Simmons led all tacklers with 10 hits.
  • Final Stats
Trevor Lawrence runs for a touchdown against Georgia Tech (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Clemson postgame

Dabo Swinney


Jeff Scott


Travis Etienne


Trevor Lawrence


Denzel Johnson