No. 1 Clemson opened a 2020 season that was in doubt at times this year with a dominating 37-13 victory over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Saturday night.
Trevor Lawrence threw for 351 yards on 22-of-28 passing, threw one touchdown and rushed for two more in three quarters of play. Travis Etienne went over 100 rushing yards for the third consecutive time against the Demon Deacons and scored a touchdown while Amari Rodgers led the Tigers (1-0) in receiving with 90 yards on five catches.
The Tigers led 27-0 at halftime behind Lawrence and got three field goals from B.T. Potter, including a 52-yarder.
Clemson's offense produced 561 total yards and kept Wake Forest out of the end zone until the final minutes when reserve QB Mitch Griffs threw a 1-yard TD pass.
It was the kind of performance many expected from the favorite to win the national title in this odd season, which features only three of the Power 5 conferences competing this fall.
The Tigers, who played a ton of young players, increased their win streak over Wake Forest to 12 consecutive games. They haven't lost to this ACC foe since 2008, Tommy Bowden's last game before Dabo Swinney took over as the head coach.
Key play: Lawrence found J.C. Chalk in the corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:21 left in the first half that gave the Tigers a 24-0 lead. Chalk, a fifth-year senior, made a leaping grab for his first career score. It was just his 18th career reception.
Dabo Swinney Insists Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliott 'Didn't Just Forget Football'
With Tony Elliott being the subject of some intense criticism due to the Clemson offense's slow start, head coach Dabo Swinney came to the defense of his offensive coordinator.
Swinney Believes Offensive Issues Caused by 'Execution'
Clemson HC Dabo Swinney met with the media Sunday night and offered this explanation for his team's substandard play.
Clemson Loses Bryan Bresee to Torn ACL, Will Shipley Out 3-4 Weeks
Clemson will be without defensive tackle Bryan Bresee for the rest of 2021, but running back Will Shipley and linebacker James Skalski avoided major injuries, Dabo Swinney said Sunday.
Player of the game: Lawrence made an early statement for the Heisman Trophy with his three total touchdowns and a long pass of 42 yards. He was both efficient and wise with his throws all night.
Freshman impact: Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy recorded seven tackles and two sacks in his first game.
Coaches decision: True freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was the first quarterback in the game after Lawrence came out. It was unknown who the coaches would make the backup QB in what was a tight battle in the preseason with Taisun Phommachanh. Uiagalelei was 2-of-3 passing for 16 yards. Phommachanh came in after and threw an interception.
Stat of the game: Clemson held Wake Forest to 37 rushing yards. It's the second consecutive year the Tigers held it under 100 yards on the ground.
Up next: Clemson hosts The Citadel in the Tigers' first home game of the season Sept. 19. The Bulldogs lost 27-6 at USF in former Clemson assistant Jeff Scott's first win as the head coach of the Bulls.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page.