WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Clemson is starting to learn that when things are not going to well on offense, just give the ball to Travis Etienne.
With just 18 net yards on their first three possessions, the Tigers needed just one play to end the futility thanks to a 59-yard run up the gut by the running back with 6:25 to play in the first quarter. From there, No. 4 Clemson asserted its self as it rolled to a 63-3 win over Wake Forest at Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The 60-point margin of victory is the largest against an ACC opponent in school history and the 63 points are the second most points scored against an ACC opponent. The largest of course being the Tigers’ 82 points scored on Wake Forest in 1981.
Overall, the Tigers rushed for 471 yards and had 6 rushing touchdowns as Etienne, Adam Choice and Lyn-J Dixon became the first Clemson trio to each run for 100 yards in the same game since James Davis (143), C.J. Spiller (127) and Demerick Chancellor (113) did it against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 30, 2006 in a 51-0 victory at Death Valley.
Clemson averaged 11.8 yards per carry. The 471 yards were the fourth most in school history.
Etienne ran for 167 yards and scored three touchdowns on 10 carries, while Adam Choice ran 128 yards and Lyn-J Dixon had 163 yards and scored two touchdowns. Choice had 64-yard touchdown run. Dixon’s touchdowns were 65 and 52 yards.
Clemson (6-0, 3-0 ACC) finished the game with 698 total yards, the fifth most in school history. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 20-of-25 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Lawrence threw touchdown passes of 55 yards and 20 yards to Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. The Tigers also got a 2-yard Chase Brice to Diondre Overton touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The day belonged to Etienne though, who perhaps unexpectedly put his name into the Heisman Trophy conversation. He hoped the second half with a 70-yard touchdown, which turned out to be his last carry of the game. He also had a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Etienne averaged 16.7 yards per carry.
While the offense finally got things going, the Clemson defense owned quarterback Sam Hartman and the Wake Forest offense, especially in the first half. The Tigers held the Demon Deacons to 77 total yards in the opening 30 minutes and had six tackles for loss.
Wake (3-3, 0-2 ACC) had just three yards rushing on 21 carries in the first half. Hartman was 7-of-17 passing for 74 yards and one interception in the first half. Hartman finished 7-of-20 in the game and was pulled in the third quarter.
The Demon Deacons best chance to get on the board came with a little more than 3:00 minutes to play in the half, but on fourth-and-inches Clelin Ferrell and Tanner Muse stopped Cade Carney for no gain to turn the ball over on downs.
Clemson took a 14-0 lead with a three-yard Etienne touchdown with 13:16 to play in the second quarter. That capped an 8-play, 62-yard drive.
Lawrence’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Ross with 9:53 to play in the half, gave the Tigers a 21-0 lead at the time.
The Tigers will take the next week off before hosting No. 23 NC State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) on Oct. 20 in Death Valley.