Clemson passed its first four-quarter test of the season with a 41-23 victory over Virginia at Death Valley, Saturday night. The Tigers were pressed into playing their starters into the final quarter for the first time this season as each time Clemson (3-0, 2-0 ACC) landed a haymaker, Virginia returned a blow in kind. And there were plenty of haymakers from the Tigers offense. Running back Travis Etienne (73 yards rushing, 114 yards receiving) and receiver Amari Rodgers (72 yards receiving on six catches) scored two touchdowns, apiece, while quarterback Trevor Lawrence added to his resume with 329 yards passing and three scores. Etienne was especially effective as a receiver with the Cavaliers focused on stifling the run. Lawrence has now thrown 314 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest such streak in the country.
But Clemson was unable to shake Virginia loose until midway through the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers got a gritty performance from quarterback Brennan Armstrong. After starting the game 1 for 8, Armstrong finished 24 of 43 for 270 yards. The southpaw endured a night of punishing hits, carrying the ball 22 times for 89 yards against Brent Venables’ fast and physical defense. In all, Virginia put up 417 yards and averaged 5.1 yards/play. Those are not the numbers Venables is used to seeing, but his unit did force Armstrong into a pair of interceptions (Andrew Booth, Nolan Turner).
The 18-point win will almost certainly keep Clemson atop the AP poll, setting up a top-10 showdown next week with Miami. The Hurricanes (3-0) are enjoying a bye and came into the week ranked 8th in the country. ESPN’s College Gameday will be visiting Clemson for the sixth time.
Recap from Death Valley :
Dabo Swinney postgame comments
Brent Venables postgame comments
Tony Elliott postgame comments
Trevor Lawrence postgame comments