Clemson wrapped up a sixth consecutive ACC Championship, locked up a position in the College Football Playoff and avenged its only loss of the season with a 34-10 victory over Notre Dame in Charlotte, Saturday. Trevor Lawrence took home the ACC Championship Game MVP award after throwing for 322 yards, rushing for 90 yards and accounting for three touchdowns. Amari Rodgers was again Lawrence’s favorite target, racking up 109 yards receiving before halftime and 121 for the game. Travis Etienne also broke loose, rushing for 124 yards on just ten carries.
Lawrence’s big game wasn’t lost on head coach Dabo Swinney, and he’s still campaigning on his quarterback’s behalf. During the trophy presentation, Swinney said, “It would be a crying shame if the Heisman Trophy didn’t attach its name to Trevor Lawrence.” Later, in his postgame comments, Swinney drove the point home, “It’s so obvious who the best player in the country is. I think we take him for granted. I can’t believe I have to campaign for him.”
Notre Dame’s one-year foray into ACC football was a big success as the Irish were able to get through the conference regular season unscathed. But in the end, Notre Dame received the same treatment at Bank of America Stadium Clemson had handed to Miami, Pitt and Virginia. The Tigers have now won the last four ACC Championship Games by an average score of 44-10.
Lawrence won his third ACC Championship Game as a starting quarterback, but he narrowly missed out another record. Lawrence (412 yards) finished just shy of Deshaun Watson’s ACC Championship game record of 420 yards of total offense. Clemson’s star quarterback always draws plenty of attention, but Etienne once again found a way to shine, bursting through the line for a 44-yard touchdown at the end of the first half, effectively putting the game away. Etienne has come up big for the Tigers each of their last three trips to Charlotte with 124 yards, Saturday, 114 yards last season against Virginia and 156 yards in 2018 against Pitt. The All-American running back has averaged 10.9 yards per carry in the last three ACC Championship Games.
Clemson (10-1, 9-1) will now wait for its number to be called as part of the College Football Playoff. The dominant showing on Saturday not only solidified the Tigers’ spot in the playoff for the sixth consecutive season, but may have significantly damaged Notre Dame’s argument to go for the second time in three seasons. The Irish have suffered just one loss and have the win over the Tigers in South Bend, Ind., but upon closer examination, that victory came against a banged up Clemson squad in double-overtime, and their inability to mount an offense against a healthy Tigers defense may weigh heavily on the minds of committee members.
Reaction from Charlotte: