Though it’s a homecoming, Etienne’s focus is on helping Clemson make history

Though it’s a homecoming, Etienne’s focus is on helping Clemson make history

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Though it’s a homecoming, Etienne’s focus is on helping Clemson make history

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When Travis Etienne hits the field Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans, he will be filled with all sorts of emotions.

Clemson’s running back, perhaps playing in his last collegiate game, will be back home, just a couple of hours down Interstate 10 from Jennings, Louisiana, playing for a national championship. He will be doing it against the state’s favorite team … the LSU Tigers.

“I’m just going to be realistic with myself and honest with myself and letting myself know my emotions are not going to win the game,” Etienne said. “I can go out there and play with as much emotions that I want, but if I am just out there running around, it is not going to benefit anybody or the team.

“There are definitely going to be emotions, but I’m just going to have to channel that emotion into great plays on the field and just make plays for my team.”

Clemson will need all of Etienne it can get as it attempts to be the first team in the history of college football to win back-to-back national championships with a perfect 15-0 record. The last team to win back-to-back titles with unblemished records was Nebraska back in 1994 and ’95. Those Nebraska teams went 12-0 and 13-0.

If Clemson is to make history, it will have to do it with really no one pulling for them except Clemson fans back in the Palmetto State and the 25,000 or 30,000 fans that will make the trip to New Orleans. Across the country, LSU is the feel-good story with the emergence of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, so most of America will likely be pulling for LSU.

Then there is the Superdome itself, where LSU fans are expected to take over New Orleans and the dome and make it a home away from home for their Tigers. Baton Rouge is just a 90-minute drive up the interstate from New Orleans.

“For any competitor that is motivation,” Etienne said. “You can go to someone else’s home and get the victory. This is what you play the game for. You want to walk out there with your backs against the wall. It is a different challenge in and of itself and I really think as competitors we all kind of long for that.”

As for keeping his emotions in check, Etienne has not spoken to anyone outside his family and he has simplified his life in the last two weeks. He doesn’t want anything to take his mind off of what he wants to accomplish.

“This is the biggest game of the year, so I have just kind of made things as simple as possible. I have not been on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, anything,” he said. “I have talked to my mom maybe every other day and my brothers and stuff. I have just been kind of focused and locked in and watching extra film. I have just tried to prepare myself for this moment.

“This is a once and a lifetime opportunity and I just wanted to maximize it.”

Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!

Shop for 2019 Clemson Tigers Fiesta Bowl Champs Fan Gear at Fanatics

Shop for 2019 Clemson Tigers Fiesta Bowl Champs Fan Gear at Fanatics

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