EditorsNote: Corrects typo in Alabama classes; minor edits throughout
Clemson running back Travis Etienne rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns as No. 2 Clemson overcame a slow start to remain undefeated with a 35-6 victory over Duke on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.
Etienne, the ACC’s second-leading rusher at 107.6 yards per game, was held to only 4 yards on five carries in the first half. But he erupted after halftime, averaging more than 19 yards per carry and scoring on runs of 27 and 29 yards.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 21 of 38 passes for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Tigers scored 35 unanswered points in the first meeting between the teams since 2012.
Clemson is off to an 11-0 start for the fourth time in program history and the second time in the last four seasons. The Tigers finished 8-0 in the ACC, marking the seventh time in school history the team has posted a perfect record in league play.
Duke, which already has clinched a bowl berth for the fifth time in six years, slipped to 7-4 overall and 3-4 in ACC play.
The victory was the 51st over the last four seasons for Clemson’s seniors, setting new program and ACC records. Clemson is only the second school to produce a 51-win class, joining Alabama, which has produced classes of 53 wins (2014-17) and 51 wins (2013-16 and 2015-18).
Clemson, which wrapped up its fourth consecutive ACC Atlantic Division title last week, will play Pittsburgh (7-4, 6-1) in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 1 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Duke dominated early, outgaining Clemson 127-37 in the first quarter and forging a 6-0 lead on Collin Wareham field goals from 34 and 32 yards.
But Clemson began to gain its offensive footing in the second quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points and amassing 158 yards.
Junior running back Tavien Feaster got things started by capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ first possession of the second quarter.
Then Lawrence and wide receiver Justyn Ross hooked up for a 19-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead with 1:16 left in the half.
In the second half, it was all Clemson, with Etienne scoring twice and Lawrence adding a 10-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Chase.
One week after accounting for 547 yards in a win against North Carolina, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was kept under wraps and under constant pressure by Clemson’s defense.
Jones completed 24 of 43 passes for 158 yards and rushed for seven yards on 12 carries while being sacked four times. The Tigers also had nine tackles for loss.
—Field Level Media