Notebook: Clemson plays 85 players in 34-point win
Besides beating NC State 41-7 on Saturday, the best news to come out of the ACC Atlantic Division win was the fact No. 2 Clemson came out of it healthy.
The Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) had no serious injuries or anyone banged up after the game.
One reason, perhaps, is the number of players who are getting playing time. According to Clemson Athletic Communications’ No. 2 contact for football, Brian Hennessy, 85 Tigers played in the win over the Wolfpack … 39 of offense, 36 on defense and 10 on special teams.
Fifty-four players played in the first quarter alone. This of course is after 72 players played for Clemson at Wake Forest two weeks ago, and 72 played at Georgia Tech, as well, last month.
The ACC only allows teams to carry 72 players on their travel roster.
“Our guys were locked in and committed to preparation all week long,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “That was a dominant performance today. NC State’s a good football team. We complemented each other in all phases of the game and put together a total team effort.
“We committed no turnovers on offense and forced three turnovers on defense. We had great energy from start to finish. We also played 85 guys and picked up the second-largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent for us.”
So much for slow start. After being reminded all week by the media about its slow start to games this year, Clemson came out firing on Saturday. The Tigers drove the football 54 yards in nine plays to score on a 3-yard Travis Etienne touchdown.
Etienne’s opening-drive touchdown marked Clemson’s first opening-drive points of the season and the team’s first since the 2017 ACC Championship against Miami.
Lawrence about to set freshman record. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for a career-high 308 yards on 26-of-39 passing with one touchdown. It was Lawrence’s first career 300-yard passing day and the first 300-yard passing game of the year by Clemson.
After passing for 308 yards against the Wolfpack, Lawrence (1,176) is just 290 yards shy of breaking Watson’s school record for passing yards by a first-year freshman (1,466).
Huegel approaches record. With 11 points on the afternoon, kicker Greg Huegel (327) is just two points shy of Aaron Hunt (329 from 2000-03) for second on the program’s all-time career scoring list.
With his second field goal of the game, the 50th of his career, kicker Huegel joined Nelson Welch, Chandler Catanzaro, Obed Ariri, Chris Gardocki, Aaron Hunt and Jad Dean as the only players to connect on at least 50 career field goals with Clemson.
Lucky Seven. Clemson has now opened a season 7-0 for the seventh time in program history and the third time in the last four years (1948, 1981, 2000, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018). Clemson earned conference titles in five of the previous six seasons in which it opened 7-0.
Clemson has now won the first seven games of a season for the fourth time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney (2011, 2015, 2016). All other coaches in Clemson history have combined for three 7-0 starts, including one each by Frank Howard, Danny Ford and Tommy Bowden.
Clemson has now won 50 of their last 54 games, including 29 of their last 31 against ACC opponents.
Tigers own ranked opponents. Clemson won its 15th of its last 17 matchups against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25 since 2015. Clemson improved to 24-18 against AP Top 25 teams under Swinney, including a 15-2 mark since 2015.
Clemson moved to 9-5 against AP Top 25 opponents at Death Valley under Swinney. The Tigers evened their all-time record against NC State when both teams are ranked at 3-3.
NC State ranks third. Clemson is now 58-28-1 all-time against NC State. Clemson’s 58 wins against NC State are the program’s third-most against any opponent, trailing only the team’s win totals against South Carolina (69) and Wake Forest (66).
Second best. The 34-point margin of victory was Clemson’s 2nd-largest in the 87-game all-time series between Clemson and NC State. Clemson’s largest margin of victory in the series came in a 41-0 shutout in 2014.
The 34-point margin of victory against No. 16 (AP) NC State was also Clemson’s 2nd-largest (tied) against an opponent ranked in the AP Top 16.
Clemson earned its seventh straight victory against NC State and its 14th in the last 15 years. The seven-game winning streak marks the longest in the all-time series between the two schools, matching Clemson’s seven-year winning streak from 2004-10.
Clemson won the 25th of its last 26 games against ACC Atlantic Division opponents.
Swinney moved to 9-1 all-time against NC State and 24-2 all-time against ACC teams from North Carolina.