RALEIGH, N.C. – Fifth-ranked Clemson rolled NC State 55-10 to claim its fifth straight ACC Atlantic Division title and ACC Championship Game appearance Saturday in Raleigh. It was also the Tigers’ eighth straight Textile Bowl win over the Wolfpack and the 15th in the last 16 years.
The Tigers’ offense jumped out to a hot start with a 28-0 advantage after the first quarter. They totaled 549 yards of total offense racking up over 500 yards for the fifth straight game behind stellar performances from sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence and junior tailback Travis Etienne.
Earlier in the week the College Football Playoff Committee ranked the Tigers (10-0, 7-0 ACC) fifth, outside of the top four teams that will qualify for the four-team playoff at the end of the season. But according to co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, Clemson was focused on charting its own path regardless of the national narrative or perception surrounding the program.
“I really think the biggest message we’ve had to our guys is to continue to run our race,” Scott said. “There will be ups and downs and opinions will change from the beginning of the year to the middle of the year and late in the year.”
While Clemson’s focus remains on its own journey, the players do not live in a bubble and saw the results of games earlier in the day. No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Penn State both lost, to No. 2 LSU and No. 17 Minnesota respectively which likely cleared the way for the Tigers to move back into the coveted top four after a 24-week stay prior to last Tuesday’s rankings.
Clemson showed out in Raleigh Saturday night and while its opponent may not serve as a resume booster, the Tigers showed their ability to respond to national criticism.
“Great teams don’t pay attention to that or play up and down to what outside opinions say,” Scott said. “They know what’s at stake and where we are in our season and what happened earlier in the day to create opportunity.”
The Tigers now hold a winning streak of 25 games with 11 of those wins coming on the road. And now, with two games left in the regular season they earned their first postseason appearance of the year with a berth in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte on Dec. 7.
Scott and the Clemson offense look to continue their success next weekend as the Tigers host No. 19 Wake Forest in Memorial Stadium before their second open date ahead of their annual rivalry game against South Carolina.
Clemson-Wake kicks off at 3:30 p.m., next Saturday and will be televised by ABC.
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