Clemson, SC – It wasn’t a fair fight from the opening kickoff of Clemson’s 59-14 win over the in-state Wofford Terriers on a beautiful military appreciation day.
FCS programs have good players and coaching staffs – they were just a tad undersized, a shade slower, or bloomed a year later than their average FBS counterparts. Oftentimes, the FCS program can hang around for the first half before the FBS program’s depth takes over.
Wofford is an excellent FCS program, vying for an at-large bid in the FCS playoffs. But what happens when the FBS program is the best in the country, has at least a dozen NFL players, is hitting their red-hot streak in November, and is mentally focused on the upcoming game? You just witnessed it.
It was exactly 120 (game) seconds from the opening kickoff to the Tigers’ opening score – a 35 yard pass from Lawrence to Amari Rodgers. Next up? A 19-yard rushing touchdown by Lyn-J Dixon.
The third Tiger drive consisted of two plays – a 34-yard rush and a 47 yard run for a touchdown by Travis Etienne. One stalled drive later, and Clemson had a 21-0 lead to end the first quarter.
First play of the second quarter? 86-yard rush by none other than Travis Etienne to go up 28-0 and to break James Davis’ Clemson career rushing touchdown record of 48. He would finish with 212 yards and two scores on only ninetouches.
Tee Higgins found an open zone in the middle of the field near the end zone and Lawrence delivered the 22-yard touchdown strike for Clemson’s fifth touchdown.
Isaiah Simmons’ interception of Joe Newman set up the Tigers last scoring drive of the half, a 12-yard march that ended with a 2-yard Trevor Lawrence scramble to go up 42-0.
After Wofford’s three-and-out to open the second half, Lawrence and company embarked on one last touchdown drive for the day. Justyn Ross’s second effort at the end of his 34-yard catch pushed him to the end zone for the Tigers’ seventh touchdown. Ross’ mother serves in the National Guard and has been deployed throughout his childhood.
Much to Venables’ disappointment, the Tigers wouldn’t earn a coveted shut-out as a mixture of first and second stringers surrendered a steady seven play, 65-yard touchdown drive capped by a 20-yard Ryan Lovelace rush to put the Terriers on the scoreboard.
Chase Brice engineered the next Tiger scoring drive, with Chez Mellusi, Cornell Powell, Will Swinney, and Darien Rencher being the focal points of the offense on the Tigers’ eighth touchdown drive of the day.
Run a shake and go route, beat your man, find the soft spot in the middle of the field, and run 79-yards to pay-dirt. It wasn’t Clemson, but instead Wofford’s D’Mauriae VanCleave who caught Joe Newman’s pass to cut their deficit to 56-14 for the last score of the third quarter.
BT Potter missed his first 35-yard attempt before drilling another 35-yard attempt in the fourth quarter for the final points of the game. Clemson finished with 702 total yards of offense (11 yards per play), and over 400 yards rushing. The Tigers surrendered 256 total yards and an average of 4.7 yards per play.
Wofford is half a game behind in the SoCon standings (Furman is leading), while Clemson is the best team in the ACC and among the nation’s best. The first CFP poll will come out Tuesday night, marking the true start of the Championship Phase. The Tigers dispatched of Wofford without major injuries and looked excellent in the process – especially on offense.