CLEMSON, S.C. (WIS) - No. 7 Miami entered Saturday’s game at Clemson hoping to rain on the Tigers' parade.
Instead, the Hurricanes labored to find success against a stingy Clemson defense. As Miami’s offense floundered, Clemson’s offense made it look easy as they went on to win 42-17.
“Just a really fun, fun game,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “Really proud of our team. Awesome crowd. Awesome environment. Again, I love the mental focus and the mental toughness of our team. I thought we controlled the game really from the opening kick. We certainly had a lot of miscues and a lot of things that we’d like to have back. Again, to see our team respond over and over and over again was awesome to see.”
Clemson opened the game by scoring on the first drive of the game.
The Tigers nearly saw that opportunity slip away after Trevor Lawrence’s pass was intercepted by Miami. However, the Hurricanes were penalized for being offsides. Two plays later, Lawrence connected with Braden Galloway for a 24-yard touchdown pass to give Clemson the early 7-0 lead.
Clemson added to their lead in the second quarter thanks to Travis Etienne. The senior running back capped a lengthy 16-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 14-0. That score also set an FBS record. It was Etienne’s 39th career game with a touchdown.
“Honestly, it’ll probably take a while for me to reflect on that,” Etienne said when asked about the record. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment. First off, thank God because, without him, I wouldn’t be here in this situation. It hasn’t sunk in yet. We’re just so deep into the grind. You just try to get better each and every week. I guess, when I’m older, ten years later looking back on it, man, it’s going to really hit me and I’m just going to look back on it and I’ll see all the things that I was able to accomplish coming here at Clemson.”
Miami was able to get a stop midway through the second quarter. BT Potter’s 37-yard field goal was blocked giving the Canes some life. However, Miami was only able to come away with a 42-yard Jose Borregales field goal to cut it to 14-3 with 3:53 in the second quarter.
Clemson wasn’t fazed. Galloway recorded his second touchdown of the night on an 11-yard pass floated to him from Lawrence giving the Tigers a 21-3 lead with 1:14 left in the half.
The Tigers had one more chance to extend their lead before the end of the half, but Potter would have his second field goal attempt of the night blocked. This time, DJ Ivey would recover it and return it 48 yards to make it a 21-10 game at the half.
Despite being outgained 302-79 in the first half, Miami found themselves in the game after two quarters.
“I thought our guys played with great discipline and passion,” said Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “I thought they were very physical. They did a great job communicating, just being locked in on preparation, the way they practiced, the way they watched film, just invested extra time on their own. It really showed tonight.”
Miami found some rhythm on their second drive with King orchestrating a drive that threatened to cut into Clemson’s lead again. However, the drive ended with King’s first interception of the season caught by Clemson’s Sheridan Jones in the end zone.
Clemson later tacked on more points to their lead. Etienne posted his second touchdown of the night on a 72-yard run with less than eight minutes to go.
“It just makes your jaw drop sometimes as a quarterback," Lawrence said when asked about Etienne’s performance on the field. “You hand it off and it’s been a couple of times in the past two games where you think he’s tackled at the line of scrimmage or he gets a yard or two and he just pops out and he’s gone. It happened tonight. I think that he had a 60- or 70-yard touchdown run. Stuff like that, it changes the game when you have a guy that’s that explosive.”
Etienne finished with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries on Saturday night.
About five minutes later, Lawrence scored on a 3-yard run extending the lead to 35-10.
Lawrence was 29-of-41 passing for 292 yards with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score as well.
The Tigers finished the contest with 550 total yards. More importantly, they were able to achieve that mark using 44 passing plays and 44 rushing plays.
Clemson also held Miami to just 210 yards while forcing three interceptions on the night.
Clemson now turns its attention to their next contest in Atlanta at Georgia Tech on October 17.