ATLANTA — On a day when it appeared Trevor Lawrence separated himself as Clemson’s starting quarterback, the second-ranked Tigers did something they have never done before at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.
Clemson’s 49 points in Saturday’s 49-21 victory over Georgia Tech represented the program’s most points scored at Grant Field, the Yellow Jackets home field since 1913.
“I’m really proud of our guys offensively,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “Even though we had started 3-0, we haven’t felt like we played to what we are capable of and really to our standard to be honest.
“We have done a lot of good things, but we really challenged those guys all week long that we needed to play to our standard.”
The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) did not get off to a good start. They managed just 13 yards of total offense in the first quarter as they sputtered to get things going. Then Lawrence came in for starter Kelly Bryant, as planned, on the third possession and led the offense on a 7-play, 74-yard drive, which he capped with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow in the corner of the end zone.
The touchdown gave Clemson a 14-0 lead with 9:11 to play in the first half. From the second quarter on, the Tigers gained 467 of its 480 total yards.
Of the 480 yards, 248 of it came on the ground, the second week in a row Clemson asserted itself with the ground game.
“To be able to go out there and rush for close to 250 yards at this place says a lot about these guys,” Scott said. “I can’t wait to get on the bus and watch the video because I know our backs ran hard, but I think that offensive line, it just felt like we had really good movement all day along.
“It was a good start for us offensively and a great time to do it starting in ACC play.”
Travis Etienne led all rushers with 122 yards, the second week in a row the sophomore gained at least 100 yards. He scored two touchdowns overall, including a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He also caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence.
Tavien Feaster had his best game of the season, averaging 9.4 yards per carry while running for a season-high 75 yards. The junior had a 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter as Clemson built a 42-7 lead at one point.
“It was good to see Feaster,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I thought he had one of the bigger plays in the game. He is starting to hit his stride. Travis has had back-to-back 100-yard games. That has not happened around here in a while.”
Etienne became the first Clemson player to produce back-to-back 100-yard games since former Tiger Wayne Gallman did it against Wake Forest and South Carolina at the end of the 2016 regular season.
The Tigers averaged 6.9 yards per run overall.
“(Etienne) averaged 11.1 a carry, Feaster was nine-something a carry,” Swinney said. “So, just a lot of good things in the running game, and then we had some explosive plays.”
Besides Feaster’s 27-yard touchdown, Clemson also had a 53-yard Lawrence to Justyn Ross touchdown pass and a 30-yard Lawrence to Tee Higgins score. Lawrence finished the afternoon 13-for-18 for 176 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes.
“Our ability to run the football, set up some of that explosiveness, especially in the second half,” Swinney said.
And it all led to Clemson’s record day at Bobby Dodd Stadium.