Clemson dominated Virginia 62-17 to win its fifth consecutive ACC Championship, Saturday. All-ACC wide receiver Tee Higgins was named the game’s Most Valuable Player with 182 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches. The victory marked Clemson’s sixth ACC Championship Game victory and clinched the Tigers 19th ACC football championship, the most all-time. It was also the Tigers 28th consecutive win dating back to September 1st, 2018.
The Cavaliers did their best to stand up to the defending champions, piecing together back-to-back long drives in the first quarter, but Clemson responded quickly. The Tigers dominated the 2nd quarter 17-0 and held a commanding 31-7 halftime lead. Before it was over, Clemson had set its season high in points scored and a record for the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers won the total yardage 619-387 and yards/play 9.2-5.2.
All-ACC quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sharp from the outset, completing 16 of 22 passes for 302 yards and a Championship Game record four touchdowns. Running back Travis Etienne, the ACC Player of the Year, rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
After the runaway victory, head coach Dabo Swinney was ecstatic about his team’s accomplishments, “We’re 13-0 and these guys continue to get ready week in and week out. We just want to have an opportunity to compete for the whole thing. I think we’ve done enough to get somewhere in that top four, wherever they put us we just want a chance to play and see if we can get to the top of the mountain.”
Clemson (13-0) has assured itself of a spot in the College Football Playoff for the fifth straight season, but their destination is still unknown. Utah fell out of the competition by faltering the Pac-12 Championship Game. LSU claimed its spot with a dismantling of Georgia in the SEC title game. Ohio State, likewise, staked its claim by completing a 13-0 season with its victory in the Big Ten Championship. Clemson is in, but their opponent and venue won’t be known until the College Football Playoff committee reveals its selections at noon, Sunday.
My recap from Bank of America Stadium HERE
Notes from Clemson’s 62-17 victory
- Clemson is first team in college football history to win five straight conference championship games.
- The Tigers will be making their fifth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff when the final rankings are announced at noon, Sunday.
- Clemson’s 619 yards are an ACC Championship Game record.
- The Tigers scored 62 points on 60 plays and punted just once.
- Trevor Lawrence has thrown three or more touchdown passes in eight straight games. Also, the sophomore quarterback has thrown 169 consecutive passes without an interception, dating back to the first quarter at Louisville on Oct. 19.
- Tee Higgins has now caught 27 touchdown passes, tying DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins for the school record.
- Travis Etienne is the first Clemson running back to eclipse 1,500 yards rushing in consecutive seasons.
- Clemson did not turn the ball over and has zero giveaways in five out of its last six games.
Dabo Swinney postgame press conference (with Tee Higgins)
Trevor Lawrence (16-22, 302 yards, 4 touchdowns)