Dabo Swinney unofficially began Travis Etienne’s Heisman Trophy Campaign during his call-in show Monday night.
The Clemson head coach believes Etienne has a shot to win college football’s most coveted individual award as a long as he keeps putting up the numbers he has been putting up lately.
“All of that stuff is to be determined but I know this, he is playing as good as anybody in the country after six games,” Swinney said.
Through the first half of the regular season, Etienne has rushed for 761 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He leads the ACC in total rushing yards and touchdowns, while ranking second in yards per carry (9.2) and yards per game (126.8).
“Now six games, I don’t think wins a Heisman, but you never know. He’s got a chance,” Swinney said. “If he can find a way to get another 100 yards in this next game then he will tie a school record that I think has been there for a long time.
“He has already broken the school record for rushing yards in a four-game span. He did that last week.”
Etienne recorded his fourth straight 100-yard game this past Saturday in the Tigers’ rout of Wake Forest. He became the first Clemson player do that since Woodrow Dantzler did it during the 2000 season.
The sophomore rushed for 167 yards and scored three touchdowns on just 10 carries against the Demon Deacons. He had touchdown runs of 59, 3 and 70 yards.
With 654 yards in the last four games, Etienne broke Dantzler’s school record for most rushing yards in a four-game span (623 in 2000). He also became the first Clemson player to rush for at least three touchdowns in consecutive games since Travis Zachery against Duke (four) and Georgia Tech (three) in 1999.
The Jennings, La., native is one 100-yard game shy of tying the school record of five consecutive 100-yard rushing games, set by Kenny Flowers in 1985 and tied by Raymond Priester in 1996-’97.
“Ross (Taylor) was telling me the other day he is like top five in everything but, has 40 less attempts than the guy that is leading. He has been incredibly productive and efficient. His yards per carry are off the charts.”
Actually, Etienne is fourth nationally in total yards and touchdowns. Sixth in average per carry and seventh in average per game.
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor leads the country with 169.8 yards per game. Though Taylor has played in one less game than Etienne to this point, he still has 43 more total carries (126-83) than the Clemson running back.
Also, since Clemson made giving Etienne the football a priority following the Texas A&M game in Week 2, the sophomore is averaging 163.5 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game.
“Travis is playing as good as anybody in the country and we’ve had a couple of games where he probably could have rushed for 400 by himself if we left him in there,” Swinney said. “He has been so efficient.”