Clemson’s quiet assassin

Clemson’s quiet assassin

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Clemson’s quiet assassin

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Etienne has quietly put himself in position to break all kinds of ACC records

Obviously, Trevor Lawrence is a serious Heisman Trophy contender. The Clemson quarterback is playing at very high level.

But Lawrence would not even vote himself right now if he had a Heisman vote. He would cast his vote for the guy he shares the backfield with … running back Travis Etienne.

“Shoot! I don’t even know if you can argue that with the way he is playing right now,” Lawrence said. “I would vote for him. He is special.”

Etienne was definitely special in this past Saturday’s win over Miami. The Tigers’ all-time leading rusher rushed for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns in leading top-ranked Clemson to a 42-17 victory over then No. 7 Miami.

Besides his explosive 72-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, he also took a third down-and-long screen pass 24 yards to set up his own 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He then set up a 3-yard Lawrence touchdown in the third quarter when he hurdled a Miami defender and rumbled 21 yards to the three.

“I think he is going to keep getting better because that is the type of guy he is. He loves playing ball,” Lawrence said.

Though Etienne did not come back to Clemson for his senior to break more records, he is in the process of doing just that. With his 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter, he now has at least one rushing or receiving touchdown in 39 of his 47 career games, breaking the FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown, which was held previously by Florida’s Tim Tebow (38 games from 2006-09) and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon (38 from 2012-15).

Etienne heads into Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech, needing just 173 yards to break Ted Brown’s all-time rushing mark in the ACC, a record the former NC State great set back in 1978. Brown set the mark with 4,602 career yards from 1975-’78. Etienne currently has 4,430 yards.

However, the Clemson running back does not even let on how close he is to breaking Brown’s record.

“I think it will mean a lot more to him when he is my age and he sits down and thinks about it,” Etienne’s position coach and offensive coordinator, Tony Elliott said. “I think, to be honest with you, if he does break it, and again, I did not even know what it was, so I had to finally go look it up that day. I did not realize he was actually that close to doing it. I don’t pay attention.

“We don’t talk about that it is not a part of mine and Travis’ conversations. He would probably not even want you to stop the game or even make an announcement or nothing.”

During the Miami game, Etienne also became the first non-kicker in ACC history to score more than 400 points in a career. The senior (5,803 yards) also moved past Chris Douglas of Duke (5,748 from 2000-03) for third on the conference’s all-purpose yardage leaderboard for a career.

“He will find some way to pawn it off on his offensive line or his teammates. That is just who he is,” Elliott said. “I think, when he is my age, he is done playing and he really starts to think about his legacy and what he is passing down to his children and his family, long term, then it will mean something to him. Right now, he is just focused on trying to get better in the areas of the game he wants to get better and position himself to be where he wants to be next year.”

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