Last year Clemson limped into the bye week. This year the Tigers sprinted toward it.
Clemson rushed for 471 yards Saturday afternoon at Wake Forest, dominating the Demon Deacons from start to finish in the 63-3 victory.
A year after falling to Syracuse and having to wait two weeks for another opportunity to play, the Tigers put together one of their most complete performances of the season, this time coming off a scare against the Orange.
“It’s just special. I really felt like we were gonna play our best game this week. I didn’t now it would be 63-3 but I thought we were ready to go out and play a complete game and complement each other well and we did that,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “We had a great week of practice... I just felt like this could be one of those games we could kind of make a statement.”
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Clemson had three running backs top the 100-yard mark, led by Travis Etienne, who finished with 10 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
Adam Choice added nine carries for 127 yards and a score, while freshman Lyn-J Dixon had 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Choice (64), Dixon (65) and Etienne (70) each had runs of more than 60 yards.
“I think our running backs are as good as there are anywhere out there,” Swinney said.
Tigers freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was solid, completing 20 of 25 passes for 175 yards and two scores. Chase Brice, who led last week’s come-from-behind victory against Syracuse, was 4-for-4 passing for 50 yards and a touchdown in a game where Clemson emptied the bench.
Former walk-on Ben Batson played quarterback for a series late in the fourth quarter, while Hunter Renfrow had a 42-yard punt.
Renfrow later completed a pass to Will Swinney on Clemson’s final series of the game, which ended with Dixon rushing for a 52-yard touchdown.
The Tigers dominated defensively, holding Wake Forest to less than 100 yards in the first half and finishing with 12 tackles for loss.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said the Tigers wanted to put together a complete game heading into the bye week.
“The days are ticking, man. We are not going to get this time time back. There’s a lot of guys playing their last year,” Venables said. “It’s the last time some of the guys can play with those guys. So really don’t take any of it for granted was our message this week. Everybody has got to turn up the intensity, commitment and passion of playing good football.”
Star of the game: Travis Etienne played only one drive in the second half and still finished with 167 yards and three touchdowns.
Play of the game: On Clemson’s final offensive drive of the game Hunter Renfrow took the snap, handed the ball off to Lyn-J Dixon, then turned into Dixon’s lead blocker down the field as Dixon rushed for a 52-yard touchdown.
Stat of the game: The Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 471 yards. Wake Forest had only three rushing yards at the half.
Clemson’s defense made a statement: The Tigers were absolutely dominant in the first half and held Wake Forest to an average of 3.2 yards per play for the game. Clemson had 12 tackles for loss, led by Tre Lamar who had two sacks.
Wake Forest is banged up: Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said after the game that the Demon Deacons have seven scholarship linebackers and five of them were hurt. Wake Forest is also banged up in the secondary and had no answers for the Tigers.
Hunter Renfrow can do it all: The senior caught two passes, had a 42-yard punt and completed a pass to Will Swinney. He also threw the lead block on Lyn-J Dixon’s late touchdown run
Who: N.C. State at Clemson
When: Saturday, Oct. 20