Clemson’s Kelly Bryant scored on a two-yard run with 48 seconds left in the first half to give the No. 3 Tigers a 7-6 lead at the break.
It was a gutsy performance by the junior quarterback after he was knocked out of the game on the previous series with what looked like a shoulder injury.
However, he came back on the next possession and led the Tigers on an 88-yard scoring drive, which he capped with his own touchdown. On the drive, Bryant was 6-for-8 for 79 yards, including a 20-yard pass to Deon Cain on third-and-two from his own 20.
Later on the drive, facing another third-and-10, Bryant hit Ray-Ray McCloud for a 29-yard gain on a perfect over-the-shoulder catch to the Auburn nine. He also hit Hunter Renfrow on third-and-four pass earlier to keep the drive going.
Bryant finished the first half 11-of-16 for 104 yards.
The Tigers looked to be in trouble when Auburn recovered a McCloud fumble at the Clemson 10-yard line late I the first quarter, but the defense held and Auburn only got a 28-yard Daniel Carlson field goal.
Clemson was outgained 89 yards to 6 in the opening quarter, yet trailed just 6-0 with 14:17 left in the first half. Auburn used a 15-play, 69 yard drive on the game’s opening possession that took 7:47 off the clock. Carlson made a 24-yard field goal with 7:13 left in the first quarter.
Despite the slow start, Clemson outgained Auburn 128 to 102 in the first half as both defenses dominated the start. Clemson’s defense had four sacks in the opening half, while Auburn held Clemson to 20 yards rushing.