Third-ranked Clemson dominated No. 15 North Carolina State on both sides of the ball in a 41-7 beatdown in the Textile Bowl. The Tigers set the tone from the outset driving 57 yards for a touchdown on the first drive of the game and never looking back.
Entering the game Clemson (7-0, 4-0) averaged 280 yards per game on the ground riding the success of Travis Etienne and NC State (5-1, 2-1) determined not to let that happen again. A loaded box prevented that success to continue and it finished with just 91 yards on 32 carries for 2.8 yards per carry.
NC State’s game plan seemed simple, stop the run game and make the freshman quarterback beat you with his arm. Sounds like a great plan until Trevor Lawrence has the best passing performance of his young career as a Tiger.
Lawrence stepped up, finishing the day 26-39 for 308 yards and a touchdown, marking his first collegiate game to eclipse the 200- and 300-yard passing marks.
The freshman showed off his arm talent and ability to place the ball in the perfect spot for his receivers to make a play before reaching the top of their routes.
His one touchdown pass came on a 46-yard strike to Tee Higgins across the middle of the field to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead.
Two weeks ago, at Wake Forest Clemson struggled to convert on third down finishing the game just 5-of-15 on third down situations. Saturday the Tigers finished an improved 8-of-15 and Lawrence completed six passes to extend drives on Saturday all of which gained at least 10 yards.
Lawrence showed everybody in the country what the Clemson coaches have known all along and proved that the Tigers can win through the air as well as on the ground.
Clemson is back in action next weekend as it travels to face divisional rival Florida State.