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Lawrence Named Freshman Of The Year By Touchdown Club Of Columbus

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Touchdown Club of Columbus announced today that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been named the club’s 2018 Freshman of the Year.

Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence becomes the second Clemson player to earn the honor since the award’s inception in 2001. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins collected the award for his performance as a freshman in 2011. Lawrence’s selection marks the second Touchdown Club of Columbus honor bestowed upon the Tigers this season, joining Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s selection for the 2018 Woody Hayes Award as the nation’s top coach.

This season, Lawrence has completed 212-326 passes for 2,606 yards with 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He earned first-team freshman All-American honors from multiple outlets and was a second-team All-ACC quarterback, collecting ACC Rookie of the Year honors as he led Clemson its fourth consecutive ACC title.

Despite not starting Clemson’s first four games, Lawrence already holds school freshman records for completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and pass efficiency rating. His nine wins as a starter broke Deshaun Watson’s Clemson record by a true freshman (four), and Lawrence is one win away from breaking Kyle Parker’s record for wins by any freshman (first-year or redshirt) starting quarterback in Tiger history

Lawrence’s award will be presented during the 64th Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards on Saturday, Feb. 9 in Columbus, Ohio.  A full list of all-time winners of the Touchdown Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year award is included below:

  • 2018: TREVOR LAWRENCE, Clemson
  • 2017: J.K. DOBBINS, Ohio State
  • 2016: JALEN HURTS, Alabama
  • 2015: TANNER MANGUM, Brigham Young
  • 2014: SAMAJE PERINE, Oklahoma
  • 2013: CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG, Penn State
  • 2012: TODD GURLEY, Georgia
  • 2011: SAMMY WATKINS, Clemson
  • 2010: MARCUS LATTIMORE, South Carolina
  • 2009: DION LEWIS, Pittsburgh
  • 2008: JULIO JONES, Alabama
  • 2007: MICHAEL CRABTREE, Texas Tech
  • 2006: COLT McCOY, Texas
  • 2005: TERRELL SUTTON, Northwestern
  • 2004: ADRIAN PETERSON, Oklahoma
  • 2003: CHRIS LEAK, Florida
  • 2002: MAURICE CLARETT, Ohio State
  • 2001: ANTHONY DAVIS, Wisconsin

2018 Clemson Football All-Americans

Five Tigers collect first-team All-America honors, featuring a unanimous All-American among three consensus selections

CLEMSON, S.C. — With the announcement of the 2018 American Football Coaches Association All-America Team on Wednesday, all five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA toward consensus status have been formally recognized for the 2018 football season. Five Clemson players earned at least one first-team All-America selection, featuring a unanimous honoree among a school-record three consensus selections this season.

Presently, All-America teams recognized by the NCAA include ones awarded by the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF). To earn consensus status, players must appear on the first team of at least three of the five lists, with unanimous status being reserved for those who appear on all five.

By earning inclusion on all five first teams, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins became only the fifth unanimous All-American in Clemson history. He joins Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006), C.J. Spiller (2009) and Da’Quan Bowers (2010) as the only unanimous All-Americans in school annals.

In addition to Wilkins’ unanimous selection, tackle Mitch Hyatt and defensive end Clelin Ferrell also earned consensus All-America status by each appearing on four of the five lists. Clemson’s three consensus All-America selections in 2018 mark a first in school history, surpassing the previous record of two set during the 1981, 1991 and 2015 seasons.

Clemson’s five first-team All-Americans in 2018 shattered the program’s previous record of three. Clemson had featured three first-team All-Americans in each of the 1981, 1987 and 2017 seasons.

Notes on each’s player’s selection are included below. In addition to the five first-team All-Americans listed below, Clemson also had linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback Trayvon Mullen selected as second-team AFCA All-Americans.

CHRISTIAN WILKINS – UNANIMOUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team
AP – 1st Team
FWAA – 1st Team
Sporting News – 1st Team
WCFF – 1st Team

Graduate defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (Springfield, Mass.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 before earning unanimous All-America status with a selection by the AFCA on Dec. 12.

As noted above, Wilkins is the fifth Clemson player to earn unanimous All-America honors in school history and the first since Da’Quan Bowers in 2010. Three of Clemson’s five all-time unanimous All-Americans have played on the defensive line (Adams in 2006, Bowers in 2010, Wilkins in 2016), and four total have played on defense when expanded to account for Kinard’s selection at safety in 1982.

Wilkins was a first-team All-American in 2016 and 2017 as well, making him a three-time, first-team All-American. He is the fourth player in school history to earn first-team All-America status in three seasons, joining middle guard William Perry (1982-84), LB Anthony Simmons (1995-97) and WR Sammy Watkins (2011-13).

Wilkins’ ACFA selection on Wednesday was the third of his career, including selections in 2016 and 2017. He and Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver both earned their third career AFCA All-America selection, making them the second and third players to accomplish the feat all-time, joining former Georgia running back Herschel Walker.

In 2018, Wilkins has 52 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two rushing touchdowns. In his four-year career, he has 245 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 54 quarterback pressures in 57 games. He also has 16 pass breakups, most in history by a Tiger defensive lineman.

CLELIN FERRELL – CONSENSUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team
AP – 1st Team
Sporting News – 1st Team
WCFF – 1st Team

Junior defensive end Clelin Ferrell (Richmond, Va.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and the AFCA on Dec. 12.

Ferrell’s consensus All-America selection builds upon a standard of excellence that has been set at defensive end for Clemson. Prior to 2018, five of Clemson’s previous eight consensus All-Americans had come from that position group, including consensus qualifications for Gaines Adams (2006), Da’Quan Bowers (2010), Vic Beasley (2013 and 2014) and Shaq Lawson (2015).

With his selection by the AP, Ferrell also became Clemson’s first two-time, first-team AP All-American since Terry Kinard (1981-82) after earning first-team honors in 2017.

Ferrell leads the 2018 team in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5) along with totaling 45 tackles in 13 games. In his three-year career, he has 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.

MITCH HYATT – CONSENSUS FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team
AP – 1st Team
FWAA – 1st Team
Sporting News – 2nd Team
WCFF – 1st Team

Senior offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga.) was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA First-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned second-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and first-team honors from the AFCA on Dec. 12.

Including his selection as a Sporting News All-American a year ago, Hyatt becomes a two-time, first-team All-American. Hyatt is the sixth Clemson offensive lineman to become a multi-year All-American, joining Joe Bostic (1977-78), John Phillips (1986-87), Stacy Long (1989-90), Stacy Seegars (92-93) and Kyle Young (2000-01).

Hyatt also becomes the fifth Clemson offensive lineman to earn consensus All-American honors all-time but the first to accomplish the honor since 1993. He joins Harry Olszewski (1967), Long (1990), guard Jeb Flesch (1991) and Seegars (1993) as the only consensus All-America offensive linemen in school history.

Hyatt is a big reason Clemson is averaging 259.8 rushing yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry. The Tigers have also allowed just 14 sacks in 13 games. In his four-year career, he has played 3,624 snaps, most by a Tiger in history.

TRAVIS ETIENNE – FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 2nd Team
AP – 2nd Team
FWAA – 2nd Team
Sporting News – 1st Team
WCFF – 2nd Team

Sophomore running back Travis Etienne (Jennings, La.) was named a second-team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation on Dec. 6, then he was named an AP and FWAA Second-Team All-American on Dec. 10. He also earned first-team All-America honors by Sporting News on Dec. 11 and second-team honors from the AFCA on Dec. 12.

With his selection from the Sporting News, Etienne became the first Clemson running back to earn first-team All-America honors from one of the five presenting organizations since C.J. Spiller’s unanimous selection in 2009. Etienne and Spiller account for two of Clemson’s three all-time selections at running back, a list that also includes Terrence Flagler’s first-team honor from the FWAA in 1986.

In 2018, Etienne is among the national leaders in rushing with 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns on 176 carries along with 10 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. His 22 total touchdowns are a school record. He is also averaging 112.5 rushing yards per game and a remarkable 8.3 yards per carry. In his two-year career, he has 2,229 rushing yards in 26 games and is averaging 7.9 yards per carry along with totaling 34 rushing touchdowns.

DEXTER LAWRENCE: FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN

AFCA – 1st Team

Junior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (Wake Forest, N.C.) was named a first-team All-American by AFCA on Dec. 12. With Lawrence’s selection joining the previously announced honors for Ferrell and Wilkins, Clemson has now had three defensive linemen earn a first-team selection from one of the five teams for a second straight year, as Ferrell (AP), Wilkins (AFCA) and Austin Bryant (FWAA) all collected first-team honors in 2017.

This season, Lawrence’s interior presence has helped Clemson rank first in the nation in yards allowed per carry (2.40), third in rushing yards allowed per game (92.92) and fourth in yards allowed per game (276.7). He has been credited by the Clemson coaching staff with 44 tackles (7.5 for loss), three pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

The Dodd Trophy Announces 2018 Finalists

Renowned list of coaches recognized for success on the field, as well as the classroom and community.

 

ATLANTA (December 5, 2018) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl have announced the finalists for the 2018 Dodd Trophy. Finalists include seven of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.

 

This year’s finalists represent four conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC), along with Notre Dame, and have combined for a 2018 record of 75-9 during the regular season. Overall, the seven coaches have a combined 88 years of head coaching experience, seven national championships and 781 career wins among them.

 

Two former winners of The Dodd Trophy were included in the 2018 list with Nick Saban (2014) and Dabo Swinney (2011) being named finalists. Additionally, three of the coaches were finalists for last year’s award, including Pat Fitzgerald, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney.

 

Winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to be finalists.

 

The 2018 Dodd Trophy Finalists:

 

Coach School CFP Ranking APR Score
Dino Babers Syracuse No. 20 967
Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern No. 22 997
Brian Kelly Notre Dame No. 3 966
Lincoln Riley Oklahoma No. 4 956
Nick Saban Alabama No. 1 984
Kirby Smart Georgia No. 5 963
Dabo Swinney Clemson No. 2 987

 

 

“All of these finalists truly exemplify the type of leadership that Bobby Dodd valued and are noteworthy candidates to join the esteemed group of former Dodd Trophy recipients,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “We’re honored to have such a renowned list of finalists who truly embody Coach Dodd’s spirit, both on and off the field.”

 

“This college football season was highlighted by outstanding coaching performances that greatly impacted the course of the season,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & president. “These seven coaches have distinguished themselves as finalists for this prestigious award, not only for having successful football seasons, but also for their efforts within their communities and commitment to empower their student athletes to succeed in the classroom as well.”

 

Finalists were selected by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member.

 

The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will be selected from the list of finalists by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, and will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.

 

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About the Dodd Trophy
The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player. Additional information about the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation can be found at www.TheDoddTrophy.com. For news, updates and insider information, follow us on Twitter at @DoddTrophy or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DoddTrophy.

 

About the Peach Bowl, Inc.
Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. Last year, the Peach Bowl celebrated its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization. The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 54 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $240.5 million in team payouts over its 50-year history. Peach Bowl, Inc. also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $31.8 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also runs the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award and led the relocation and financial foundation of the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta. For more information, visit Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com or follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CFAPeachBowl.

 

Ferrell Named Finalist for Ted Hendricks Award

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Ted Hendricks Foundation announced today that Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell has been named a finalist for the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive end.

Ferrell is one of four finalists for the award, joining a list that includes Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson and Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith. Ferrell will attempt to become the second Clemson player to earn the award since its inception in 2002, as former Clemson defensive end Da’Quon Bowers earned the honor in 2010.

This season, Clemson ranks second in the country in tackles for loss (121) and tied for second in the country in sacks (45). Ferrell leads Clemson in both categories this season, pacing the Tigers with 17.5 stops for loss and 10.5 sacks.

Last week, Ferrell collected ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. His selection represented Clemson’s sixth time earning that honor, as he became the first Tiger to do so since Vic Beasley in 2014.

Voting on the Ted Hendricks Award will conclude on Dec. 5. The winner will be announced Dec. 6.

Clemson To Face Notre Dame in College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl

CLEMSON, S.C. — The College Football Playoff and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl announced today that the second-seeded Clemson Tigers will face the third-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29.

 

The selection marks Clemson’s fourth consecutive College Football Playoff (CFP) appearance, as Clemson joins Alabama as the only programs ever to earn at least four straight CFP berths.

 

Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to ClemsonTigers.com for more information on tickets, travel packages, merchandise and more. For the ultimate experience, official travel packages are available through PrimeSport. With limited availability, fans should act now by visiting ClemsonSportsTravel.com to book their trips. Fans are also encouraged to visit the Clemson Tigers Store to get official ACC Championship and College Football Playoff merchandise.

 

The Cotton Bowl berth brings Clemson’s bowl history full circle, The game will be only the Tigers’ second all-time appearance in the Cotton Bowl, dating back to the program’s first ever bowl bid. That year, Head Coach Jess Neely’s Tigers completed a 9-1 campaign in 1939 with a 6-3 victory against Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl. The victory was a landmark one for Clemson, as in addition to being the program’s first bowl game, it represented the school’s first win against a Top 20 team.

 

Clemson will be making a bowl appearance for the 14th consecutive year, adding to its current school record that began in 2005. In total, it will be Clemson’s 43rd bowl appearance, with the Tigers entering their upcoming bowl schedule with an existing 22-20 all-time record in bowl play.

 

The meeting between the Tigers and Irish will be only the fourth all-time meeting between the two programs. Clemson holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series between the schools, including a win in the programs’ most recent meeting in 2015, when Clemson stopped a two-point conversion attempt in a driving rain storm to secure a 24-22 victory at Memorial Stadium.

 

Swinney Earns Woody Hayes Award

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Touchdown Club of Columbus announced today that Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has earned the Woody Hayes Award, presented annually to college football’s coach of the year.

Clemson has posted a 13-0 record this season, one win shy of the team record for wins set in 2015 and 2016. Yesterday, Swinney’s Tigers won their fourth consecutive ACC championship, earning a 42-10 win against Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Clemson became the first school in conference history to win four consecutive outright titles and became the first Power Five program to win four straight conference championship games since Florida in 1993-96.

Swinney becomes the second Clemson head coach to earn the honor since the award’s inception in 1977. Danny Ford was Clemson’s first Woody Hayes Award winner, collecting the honor following Clemson’s 12-0 national championship season in 1981.

The 2018 Woody Hayes Award will be presented during the 64th Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards on Saturday, Feb. 9 in Columbus, Ohio.  A full list of all-time winners of the Woody Hayes Award is included below:

  • 2018: DABO SWINNEY, Clemson
  • 2017: SCOTT FROST, UCF
  • 2016: JAMES FRANKLIN, Penn State
  • 2015: KIRK FERENTZ, Iowa
  • 2014: GARY PATTERSON, TCU
  • 2013: GUS MALZAHN, Auburn
  • 2012: URBAN MEYER, Ohio State
  • 2011: BILL SNYDER, Kansas State
  • 2010: JIM HARBAUGH, Stanford
  • 2009: GARY PATTERSON, TCU
  • 2008: MIKE LEACH, Texas Tech
  • 2007: MARK MANGINO, Kansas
  • 2006: JIM TRESSEL, Ohio State
  • 2005: JOE PATERNO, Penn State
  • 2004: URBAN MEYER, Utah
  • 2003: BOB STOOPS, Oklahoma
  • 2002: JIM TRESSEL, Ohio State
  • 2001: RALPH FRIEDGEN, Maryland
  • 2000: BOB STOOPS, Oklahoma
  • 1999: FRANK BEAMER, Virginia Tech
  • 1998: PHIL FULMER, Tennessee
  • 1997: LLOYD CARR, Michigan
  • 1996: BRUCE SNYDER, Arizona State
  • 1995: GARY BARNETT, Northwestern
  • 1994: TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
  • 1993: DON NEHLAN, West Virginia
  • 1992: DENNIS ERICKSON, Miami
  • 1991: DON JAMES, Washington
  • 1989: BOBB ROSS, Georgia Tech
  • 1988: LOU HOTLZ, Notre Dame
  • 1987: DICK MacPHERSON, Syracuse
  • 1986: JOE PATERNO, Penn State
  • 1985: BO SCHEMBECHLER, Michigan
  • 1984: DON JAMES, Washington
  • 1983: TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
  • 1982: JOE PATERNO, Penn State
  • 1981: DANNY FORD, Clemson
  • 1980: VINCE DOOLEY, Georgia
  • 1979: EARLE BRUCE, Ohio State
  • 1978: JOE PATERNO, Penn State
  • 1977: LOU HOLTZ, Arkansas

Clemson Pummels Pitt For 4th Straight ACC Title  

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The No. 2/2 Clemson Tigers became the first football team in ACC history to win four consecutive conference titles outright on a rainy Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium, defeating the Coastal champion Pittsburgh Panthers by a score of 42-10. With the win, Clemson remained undefeated at 13-0 overall, while Pitt moved to 7-6 on the year.

 

Trevor Lawrence completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 118 yards with a pair of touchdown tosses to Tee Higgins, who finished the game with 36 yards and those two scores on three receptions. Travis Etienne added 156 yards with two touchdowns on 12 carries, and Adam Choice and Lyn-J Dixon each ran for a score as well. On the defensive side of the ball, Clemson held the Pitt offense to negative yardage for the first nine minutes of the game and also limited the Panthers to just eight passing yards for the whole game. Tre Lamar topped the stat sheet with nine total tackles, and Dexter Lawrence and Isaiah Simmons each contributed two and a half of the Tigers’ nine total tackles for loss.

 

Clemson found the endzone on the night’s first play from scrimmage, as Etienne exploded for a 75-yard scoring run that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the matchup, good for the fastest score in ACC Championship history. The Tigers doubled that lead five minutes later, as Etienne barreled three yards for a touchdown after Simmons forced a Pitt fumble that Christian Wilkins recovered and returned 18 yards to set up the score. The Panthers got on the board with just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter on a 37-yard Alex Kessman field goal, leaving the score at 14-3 after the fist 15 minutes of play.

 

Pitt scored the second quarter’s first touchdown with seven minutes gone in it, with Qadree Ollison cutting the Clemson lead to just four points on a one-yard scoring rush. But a five-yard scoring pass from Lawrence to Higgins put the Tigers’ advantage back at 10 points with five minutes left in the half. An A.J. Terrell interception returned 31 yards to the Pitt 10-yard line then set up Higgins’ second touchdown reception of the night, and it came on the next play to give the Tigers a 28-10 lead that they took into halftime.

 

The scoreboard still read 28-10 after the third quarter, but that changed on the second play of the fourth quarter with a Choice one-yard scoring rush set up by a Justyn Ross 38-yard reception two snaps earlier. The final score of the game came in the form of a Dixon four-yard rush with just over three minutes remaining in the matchup, bringing the final score to 42-10.

 

Clemson now awaits its bowl destination. The College Football Playoff teams will be announced tomorrow at noon on ESPN, and the remaining teams participating in New Year’s Six games will be announced later in the afternoon.

Elaine Day

Clemson Athletic Communications

Graduate Assistant || Men’s Soccer, Rowing

P: (919) 389-1147

@elaine_day

CU181201.HTM

Clemson vs Pitt (Dec 01, 2018)

Scoring Summary

Scoring Summary (Final) 2018 ACC Football Championship #2 Clemson vs Pitt (Dec 01, 2018 at Charlotte, N.C.) Clemson (13-0) vs. Pitt (7-6) Date: Dec 01, 2018 Site: Charlotte, N.C. Stadium: Bank of America Stdm Attendance: 67784 Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score —————– — — — — —– Clemson…………. 14 14 0 14 – 42 Pitt……………. 3 7 0 0 – 10 Scoring Summary: 1st 14:47 CU – ETIENNE 75 yd run (HUEGEL kick) 1 play, 75 yards, TOP 0:13, CU 7 – UP 0 09:29 CU – ETIENNE 3 yd run (HUEGEL kick) 1 play, 3 yards, TOP 0:05, CU 14 – UP 0 01:46 UP – Kessman, A. 37 yd field goal 9 plays, 62 yards, TOP 4:22, CU 14 – UP 3 2nd 07:56 UP – Ollison, Q. 1 yd run (Kessman, A. kick) 6 plays, 39 yards, TOP 3:08, CU 14 – UP 10 04:57 CU – HIGGINS 5 yd pass from T. LAWRENCE (HUEGEL kick) 7 plays, 75 yards, TOP 2:59, CU 21 – UP 10 00:25 CU – HIGGINS 10 yd pass from T. LAWRENCE (HUEGEL kick) 1 play, 10 yards, TOP 0:04, CU 28 – UP 10 4th 14:27 CU – CHOICE 1 yd run (HUEGEL kick) 5 plays, 69 yards, TOP 1:32, CU 35 – UP 10 03:17 CU – DIXON 4 yd run (HUEGEL kick) 5 plays, 65 yards, TOP 2:45, CU 42 – UP 10 Kickoff time: 8:14 pm End of Game: 11:30 pm Total elapsed time: 3:16 Officials: Referee: Jeff Heaser; Umpire: Jim Hyson; Linesman: Art Hardin; Line judge: Tim Graham; Back judge: Pat Ryan; Field judge: Wayne Rundell; Side judge: Jeff Shears; Center judge: Sean Geraghty; Temperature: 55 deg Wind: ESE 7 Weather: Rain

12/1: Old-School 42-10 ACC Championship Victory for Seasoned Tigers

Charlotte, NC – Etienne’s first touchdown? A 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game – the fastest touchdown and longest play from scrimmage in ACC championship history.

 

Etienne’s second touchdown? To quote Tim Bourret’s twitter: “Never thought I would see CJ Spiller’s single season TD record broken, but Travis Etienne has done it. 2 tonight and 22 for the season.”

 

Pittsburgh’s first two tries were less than ideal three and out series – the first was uneventful, and the second set the stage for Etienne’s record breaking play. Three penalties and two poor plays put the Panthers in a third-and-28 situation when Isaiah Simmons strip-sacked Kenny Pickett. Christian Wilkins plucked the ball from the air and rumbled eighteen yards to the three-yard line; Etienne ran the last three yards to pay dirt and broke CJ Spiller’s record.

 

At that point, the only concern was an odd 15-yard punt by Spiers (whom struggled on most of his punts, yet set an ACC Championship record with a 63-yard touchback punt).

 

Clemson’s momentum appeared to be too strong to overcome. Travis Etienne’s two rushes netted two scores, and Pittsburgh’s offense was helpless. The Tigers were up 14-0 in the middle of the first quarter – but then the momentum turned.

 

Darrin Hall’s 20-yard rush and Qadree Ollison’s 21-yard run placed Pittsburgh in field position to score points, and they settled for a 37-yard field goal by Alex Kessman near the end of the first quarter.

 

The normally disciplined defense struggled to contain Pitt’s rushing attack, and the Tiger offense sputtered at the same time. Clemson’s two straight three and outs netted seven yards as the Tigers sank to 0-4 on third down conversions for the night.

 

Pittsburgh’s second chance wouldn’t end in three points this time. Qadree Ollison appeared to rush for a 28-yard touchdown, but a review changed the result to a 26-yard rush to the two-yard line. An illegal substitution penalty on Clemson gave one yard to Pitt, and Ollison’s one-yard rush cut Clemson’s lead to 14-10.

 

In the middle of the first quarter, it looked as if Clemson would run away with the game. In the middle of the second quarter, Pittsburgh was performing its notorious scare of elite teams.

 

Clemson’s response? Beat Pittsburgh at their own game.

 

Etienne’s third major rush of the game didn’t break any records, but the 45-yard scamper led the way for Clemson’s third score of the game. Feaster and Etienne ran five times for 25 yards before Trevor Lawrence lofted an end-zone fade score to Tee Higgins to extend the Tigers’ lead to 21-10 with just over a minute until halftime.

 

AJ Terrell intercepted Kenny Pickett’s third down pass and returned it 31 yards to the ten-yard line, where Trevor Lawrence threw his patented slant route to Tee Higgins for a ten-yard touchdown near the end of the half.

 

What was once a 14-0 impending blowout evolved into a 14-10 defensive struggle, and Clemson’s end-of-half heroics put the Tigers up 28-10 going into halftime.

 

The third quarter continued the rainy defensive slugfest, but the damage was done. For the first fourteen minutes of the third quarter, both teams combined for 68 offensive yards.

 

With fifty-nine seconds in the third quarter, Lawrence and company finally clicked. A 21-yard pass to Higgins, an eight-yard scramble, and a 38-yard flea-flicker pass to Justyn Ross capped off the third quarter.

 

Tavien Feaster punched the ball in from the one-yard line at the beginning of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach with a 34-10 lead.

 

In an odd sequence of events, TJ Chase caught Will Spiers’ punt when Rafael Araujo-Lopes waived for a fair catch. The odd play ended in two penalties on Clemson – a declined facemask penalty and an accepted 15-yard catch interference penalty.

 

Chase Brice led Clemson’s last touchdown drive – Adam Choice’s 31 yard run, Brice’s 28-yard rush, and Lyn-J Dixon’s 4-yard touchdown run were the highlights of the drive that saw the Tigers cover the spread.

 

Clemson held Pittsburgh to eight passing yards while outrushing the Panthers 201 to 192. Both teams struggled on third down (4/12 Clemson, 3/17 Pittsburgh), and neither team ran more than 64 plays. Clemson’s three one-play touchdown drives sealed the win and widened the score in an old-fashioned championship game, complete with Pittsburgh’s throwback unitforms.

 

Call it ‘old school’ like Coach Swinney, call it a mud-fest, call it a grind it out game. However you spin it, Clemson made history by being the only team to win four consecutive ACC Championships.

 

 

 

 

12/1: ACC Championship Halftime Analysis

Score: Clemson 28 Pittsburgh 10

Key Plays:

Etienne’s 75-yard touchdown rush on the first play of the game set multiple records and gave Clemson the fastest score in ACC Championship history.

AJ Terrell’s 31-yard interception return near the end of the first half combined with Lawrence’s ten-yard slant strike to Tee Higgins put Clemson up 28-10 to end the half.

Positives:

Travis Etienne has looked like the best player on the field through one half of football, running with his unique combination of strength, speed, and vision. Clemson jumped to a fast start and again heated up to a strong finish at the end of the half.

Struggles:

The offense and defense struggled at the same time from the middle of the first to the middle of the second quarter. Clemson’s rushing defense allowed three rushes of 20 yards or more and surrendered ten points. Clemson’s offense didn’t run, Trevor Lawrence struggled to throw, and the Tigers scored zero points during this time period.

Clemson’s rushing defense has allowed several chunk plays that has placed Pittsburgh in position to score.

What to Watch:

Can Clemson’s defense resume their solid rushing defense, or will they allow chunk plays on the ground that will let Pitt back in the game? Since Clemson’s passing attack was hot to end the first half, it will be interesting to see how they attack the defense coming out of the half.

11/30: Pittsburgh Preview

The ACC Coastal division was a tight race with various contenders, but Pittsburgh’s four game winning streak after a close loss to Notre Dame propelled them to Charlotte. Coach Swinney compared the Pittsburgh offense to Boston College but with less focus on the tight ends.

Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall are two excellent power backs that can wear a defense down over the course of four quarters, and they are the engine that drives the Panthers’ offense. Pittsburgh has rushed for 2792 yards (5.8 per play, 481 attempts) while only passing for 1841 yards on 271 attempts. Keep in mind that they lost last week 24-3 to a struggling Miami team.

They struggle on third down with a 39 percent conversion rate, and have a red zone success rate of 79 percent. That contrasts sharply with Clemson’s 91% red zone success rate and their 44.6% third down conversion rate.

Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 27.8 ppg (71st nationally) throughout the year, but in November their defense has improved to 18 ppg (20th nationally).

Pittsburgh is built to win an old school, running game and defense style of game. The problem for them is that Clemson matches up extremely well against Pittsburgh (they consist mostly of three-star players). Clemson’s high-powered offense can put Pittsburgh in the hole early, and that in turn would take away Pittsburgh’s advantage of running the ball and force them to throw to win.

Oddshark’s projected score is 53-19 Clemson, the over/under is 52, and Clemson is favored by 27.5. Whereas South Carolina matched up well with Clemson and could exploit the Tigers’ weaknesses, the Panthers play right into the Tiger’s strengths. While it is college football (an upset prone sport), this game is heavily in Clemson’s favor.

Prediction: Clemson 52 Pittsburgh 7