Clemson is the third team in the Associated Press Poll era, and the first since 1972, to win four consecutive games by 45 or more points.
The third-ranked Tigers did it on Saturday with a 52-3 win over a Wake Forest team that was ranked No. 19 just a week ago in the College Football Playoff Rankings.
The AP Poll began in 1936 and, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Clemson joined the 1944 Army and the 1972 Nebraska teams, to beat four consecutive teams by 45 or points.
Besides Saturday’s 49-win point over Wake, the Tigers downed Boston College by 52 points on Oct. 26, Wofford by 45 on Nov. 2 and NC State by 45 on Nov. 9.
“That is what we want to do every game. That is our mindset,” Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins said. “We just want to go out there and dominate. You can see that we are really focused on dominating the game and it just happened.”
The Tigers (11-0, 8-0 ACC) did not just dominate the game, but they embarrassed a Wake Forest team that came into Memorial Stadium with a 7-2 record and was considered the second-best team in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
But with Wake (7-3, 3-3 ACC) missing its two best wide receivers, Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington, on offense and starting middle linebacker Justin Strnad on defense, it was no match for a Clemson team that is clicking on all cylinders.
Clemson totaled 516 yards, while holding the Demon Deacons to just 105.
“We’re a talented football team, and we can overwhelm our opponents when we get short fields on offense and disrupt the line of scrimmage on defense. I’m proud of our guys,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.
Since a near loss to North Carolina on Sept. 28, the Tigers have run over, through and around the competition. Clemson has won the last 16 games by 31 or more points to break a tie with 2013 Florida State for the longest such streak in ACC history.
“It definitely knocked on our door. It was like ‘y’all have to focus up, get right and dominate people’ and that is what we did,” Higgins said.
Higgins had a big hand in dominating Wake Forest. The junior, who could have just very well played his last game at Death Valley, caught 4 passes for 64 yards, including a career-high 3 touchdowns.
He got help from his quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who completed 21-27 passes for 272 yards and a career-high 4 touchdown passes.
“Trevor was amazing. He threw for a career-high four touchdowns. Tee tied a record with three receiving touchdowns. The ball was spread around,” Swinney said. “A lot of guys made big plays for us, and we also won the turnover margin.”
On defense, Clemson held Wake Forest to 105 total yards, including only 41 passing yards. Wake Forest entered the game averaging 487.3 total yards per game, including a conference-best 314.1 passing yards per game.
Clemson recorded 26 first downs to Wake Forest’s five. Clemson’s defense produced more three-and-outs (seven) than Wake Forest’s offense produced first downs (five). Those seven official three-and-outs also don’t include a one-play Wake Forest drive that ended with an interception.
The Tigers also held an 11th straight opponent below 300 yards of total offense to become the first team since the turn of the century to open a season holding opponents below 300 yards in each of the first 11 games.
ESPN Stats & Info say it is the first such occurrence in records back to 1996.
Clemson has now held 14 consecutive opponents to 20 or fewer points for the first time since the 1949-51 seasons under Frank Howard.
“It was a great performance. First of all, I’m just thankful for our players and their dedication and their commitment,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “There’s been 150 years of college football and what they’ve accomplished through 11 games is pretty special.”
It is also pretty dominant.
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