Next week’s Wake Forest at Clemson game was setting up as the game for the ACC Atlantic Division championship. All that was needed was for both teams to win Saturday. Wake did not hold up its end of the deal losing at Virginia Tech in the afternoon. That shifted Clemson into championship mode Saturday night in Raleigh. The Tigers, after warming up in all white unis, came out in their orange pants, indicative of a championship scenario for the program. And they played like champions, running up a 42-0 halftime lead on helpless NC State on their way to a 55-10 victory. The Tigers won their fifth straight division title, an ACC record, and extended three other winning streaks…25 in a row overall, 18 straight ACC regular season games and 8 straight over NC State.
Here’s my RECAP from Carter-Finley Stadium
Some of the key points from Clemson’s win:
- The Tigers, chosen as the Homecoming opponent by the Wolfpack, took the life out of the party quickly scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions to build a 28-0 lead after a quarter. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a hand in three of those scores with a 7 yard run and passes of 33 yards to Tee Higgins and 4 yards to Travis Etienne. Etienne capped the first quarter outburst with a 19 yard run.
- The onslaught continued in the second quarter when Dabo Swinney trotted out his jumbo package for a goal line play. Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney lined up at fullback and offensive guard John Simpson at tailback. Simpson got the carry and score on a one yard run to make it a 35-0 game. Then late in the half, Lawrence fired a BB to Justyn Ross in the back of the end zone for a 42-0 halftime lead. The Tigers had 403 yards at the break.
- Lawrence was pulled with under six minutes to play in the third quarter. He finished 20-27 for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career high 59 yards and a touchdown. He’s the first Clemson quarterback to pass for three touchdowns in five consecutive games.
- Etienne only had 14 carries but produced 112 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass. He now has 54 career touchdowns breaking the school record he shared with CJ Spiller. In all, six different Tigers scored touchdowns.
- Clemson finished with 549 yards, 303 thru the air and 246 on the ground. The Tigers averaged 7.1 yards per play and ball possession for over 35 minutes.
- The Clemson defense was in shut down mode from the start. For their seven first-half possessions, the Wolfpack punted four times and lost four fumbles. Clemson converted those turnovers into 20 points. The Tigers had 2 sacks on the night, 8 tackles for loss and recovered 4 fumbles. Chad Smith led the defense with 7 tackles including a tackle for loss. State was held to 290 total yards including 124 yards on the ground. It’s the 10th straight game the Clemson defense held the opponent under 300 yards.
- Final Stats
Here’s what the Tigers were saying after the game
Dabo Swinney press conference (click HERE)
QB Trevor Lawrence
OG John Simpson on scoring his first ever touchdown
WR Justyn Ross
LB Chad Smith