Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney does not care what everyone else is doing. He does not worry about statistics or postseason individual awards. He is trying to build his football team, and make sure as the season moves along, his Tigers continue to improve.
You can’t argue with success.
Swinney’s formula has allowed him to win 120 of his 150 games as a head coach and two national championships. If you are a math person, that’s an .800-win percentage.
Last week, when the top-ranked Tigers crushed Charlotte, 52-10, Clemson played a record 111 players. Swinney selectively removed most of his starters by end of the second quarter. At the start of the third quarter, he made wholesale changes.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was pulled with 14:56 left in the second quarter following his 2-yard touchdown pass to Cornell Powell. Clemson was in front just 24-0 at the time.
Lawrence could have played more and probably could have padded his statistics, like others who are considered Heisman Trophy contenders. Instead, his day ended with basically three quarters of football to go.
Though his stats were solid—7 of 9 passing for 94 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions—they weren’t impressive. They are not going to get the preseason ACC Player of the Year invited to New York come December.
“That is just who we are,” Swinney said. “We want to beat the opponent, but we don’t want to embarrass anybody. That is not the objective. Obviously, we could have scored 100 points.
“If we leave Trevor Lawrence out there, he could have had all kind of stats and he could be written up for the Heisman this week, but we are not interested in that. We are just interested in winning the game, trying to win with class and not get anybody hurt and those types of things and grow our team.”
How does Clemson compare to the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference?
1: This is why Swinney preaches team before self. Clemson leads the ACC in scoring offense (42.3 pts/game) and scoring defense (10.0 pts/game).
3: North Carolina ranks third in the FBS with a plus-36 (45-9) point differential in the fourth quarter. UNC ranked ninth worst in FBS in 2017-18 at minus-72. Carolina has trailed in the fourth quarter in each of its first four games, winning the first two games over South Carolina and Miami. In its two losses to Wake Forest and Appalachian State, Carolina had the ball on the final possession of the game with a chance to win or tie.
4-0: Wake Forest is 4-0 for the seventh time in school history and completed an undefeated non-conference season for the first time since 2006.
19: NC State is a perfect 19-for-19 in red zone attempts this season, converting for 13 touchdowns and six field goals. The Wolfpack is one of just 12 FBS teams with a perfect 100-percent conversion percentage in the red zone, and second among the perfect teams in attempts/conversions (LSU: 27).
24: Florida State has now scored 24 points in its first four games for just the fifth time since the 2000 season and the first time since 2013. FSU piled up a season-best 522 total yards against Louisville, which is the highest total in 16 games under coach Willie Taggart.
25: Wake Forest receivers Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington rank among the top 25 nationally in receiving yards per game. The Deacons are one of three schools (LSU & USC are the others) with two players in the top 25. Surratt is fourth in the country with 121.0 receiving yards per game. Washington is 22nd with 93.0 receiving yards per game.
120: Miami quarterback Jarren Williams finished 17-for-24 for 250 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions in the win over Central Michigan last week. He has not thrown an interception through the first 120 pass attempts of his career. The redshirt freshman has thrown for 1,044 yards and seven touchdowns He has completed 71.6 percent of his passes for his career.
124.8: Florida State running back Cam Akers leads the ACC in rushing yards per game with 124.8 yards per game. Boston College’s A.J. Dillon is averaging 117.0 yards per game and Clemson’s Travis Etienne is averaging 98.8 yards per game.
319.5: Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman is averaging 319.5 passing yards per game, which leads the ACC and ranks sixth nationally.
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