Written by Garin Turner
The #3 Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) dominated from start to finish against #16 NC State (5-1, 2-1 ACC) 41-7. Prior to the game, both teams were the last undefeated teams in the conference. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence went 26/39 for 308 yards and a touchdown. “Offensively, we threw the ball for 380 yards, and we were 8-15 on third down. Honestly, a lot of our passes were initially run calls. We just took advantage of what was there. Trevor Lawrence was on the money all day. The receivers did a great job, too,” Clemson Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers didn’t have a lot of rushing yards but scored four times on the ground. Travis Etienne scored three times while Lyn-J Dixon also scored. For Etienne, it was his third straight game with three touchdowns. “Their preparation and their commitment was evident today. I thought the team created great energy for each other,” Swinney said.
The Tigers defense was stellar in the game holding the Wolfpack 2 for 12 on third down and 297 yards of total offense. They also forced three turnovers. Two interceptions and one fumble.
Clemson scored on their first possession of the game going nine plays for 57 yards. Etienne punched it in from three yards out for a 7-0 start. After three punts, two of them by the Wolfpack, Clemson scored for a second time when Lawrence connected on a 46-yard touchdown to Tee Higgins. That score capped off a six play, 75-yard drive.
After both teams fumbled, only Clemson capitalized on the turnover. They drove the ball 54 yards and scored on Etienne’s second touchdown run. A Tiger field goal brought the game to 24-0 at halftime.
The Wolfpack’s lone score came in the fourth quarter when Reggie Gallaspy II ran for nine yards. Gallaspy II finished with nine carries for 59 yards and the score. Quarterback Ryan Finley finished 21/34 for 156 yards for the Wolfpack.
The Tigers have now opened the season 7-0 for the seventh time in program history and the third time in the last four years. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 35.