CLEMSON—On Military Appreciation Day, in front of a sold-out, purple-clad, Memorial Stadium, the No. 3/4 Clemson Tigers did their damage by land and by air, as they continued their trend of dominant performances.
The Tigers defeated the visiting Wofford Terriers by a final score of 59-14, however the score was just one of the ways that the Tigers dominated the game. The Tigers gained 702 yards (419 rushing and 283 passing) and held the Terriers to only 256 total yards (139 rushing and 117 passing).
The Tigers scored on their first three drives of the game, as Trevor Lawrence was a perfect 6-6 passing with one touchdown and running backs Travis Etienne and Lyn-J Dixon added rushing touchdowns that gave the Tigers a 21-0 lead after the opening quarter of play.
"I am really proud of them," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "We wanted to play well. We wanted to play clean, have really crisp execution. That's what you want to see. It doesn't matter who you play, you want to play well and I thought the guys showed up and had a really good mindset."
Etienne's 47-yard touchdown run was his 50th total touchdown of his career. Etienne joined C.J. Spiller and Travis Zachery as the only players in school history to record 50 career total touchdowns.
Etienne continued his record-setting day on the first play of the second quarter, as he broke free for an 86-yard touchdown. That touchdown gave Etienne 48 career rushing touchdowns making him the Tigers' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, as he surpassed former Tiger James Davis' record of 47 rushing touchdowns.
After the Terriers fifth punt of the first half, the Tigers went back to the air, as Lawrence found Tee Higgins for a 22-yard touchdown that capped a six-play, 83-yard drive that extended the lead to 35-0. On the drive, Etienne surpassed 200 yards rushing in the game–becoming the first player in Clemson history to have three 200-plus yard rushing games in a single season.
On the next drive, the Terriers turned the ball over for the first time, as Joe Newman's pass was intercepted by Isaiah Simmons and returned to the Terrier 12-yard line.
The Tigers needed only four plays to find the end zone, as Lawrence carried the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out and put the Tigers' up 42-0.
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"A lot of guys got involved. We got the running game and the passing game, and then defensively that's a tough group to stop. So, I thought we did a great job," Swinney said.
The Tigers opened the second half in the same way as they started the first half—with a touchdown. Lawrence completed three-of-four passes for 65 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Justyn Ross that capped a six-play, 84-yard drive.
The Terriers, against a mixture of starters and Tiger backups, finally got on the board in the third quarter, as they drove 65-yards on seven plays and cut the Tiger lead to 49-7 on a 20-yard touchdown run for Ryan Lovelace.
The Tigers answered the Terriers' score, as backup quarterback Chase Brice led the Tigers on an eight-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in former walk-on Darrien Rencher's second-career touchdown that extended the lead to 56-7.
Wofford continued their fight on their ensuing drive. Facing third-and-5 from their own 21-yard line, Newman found D'Mauriae VanCleave for a 79-yard touchdown that cut the Tiger lead to 56-14.
The Tigers added a final score on B.T. Potter's 35-yard field goal that capped a four-play drive that began as a result of a Terrier fumble that was recovered by Sheridan Jones.
- Clemson opened a season 9-0 for the sixth time in program history and the fourth time in the last five years (1948, 1981, 2015, 2016 and 2018). Clemson earned conference titles in all of the previous five seasons in which it opened 9-0 and earned national championships in three of those years.
- Clemson won the first nine games of a season for the fourth time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney (2015, 2016 and 2018). All other coaches in Clemson history have combined for two 9-0 starts, including one each by Frank Howard and Danny Ford.
- The 2019 Clemson seniors won their 50th game in the last four years to become the ninth senior class in FBS history to accomplish the feat. The 50th win tied the 2019 Clemson seniors with the 2017 senior class for the second-most career wins in school history.
- Head Coach Dabo Swinney (125-30) won his 125th career game as a head coach. Per records from Sports Reference, he is the 10th-fastest coach in major college football history to 125 wins in terms of games coached.
The Tigers travel to Raleigh to take on the NC State Wolfpack next Saturday (7:30 p.m., ABC).
Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat. He also serves as a co-host of Solid Orange, seen at 11 p.m. Wednesdays on WACH FOX 57 in Columbia. He is editor of www.ClemsonMaven.io