Defense Stifles Hurricanes in Another Big Clemson Win

Brad Senkiw

While Saturday was the first time Memorial Stadium held a game between two top-10 teams, No. 1 Clemson did what it's done in so many big games: win.

The Tigers stifled the Hurricanes' high-flying offense, keeping them out of the end zone for three quarters, and Travis Etienne scored two touchdowns to set an FBS record in a 42-17 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season. 

Miami had the highest-scoring offense in the ACC, just ahead of Clemson, coming in, but the Hurricanes had just 10 offensive points and 210 total yards against a Tiger defense that gave up over 400 yards to Virginia a week ago. 

Clemson is now 13-9 in games involving two top-10 teams and has won the last three meetings against the Hurricanes. The Tigers got two touchdown passes from Trevor Lawrence to Braden Galloway in what turned out to be another easy win for a team that has the look of a national contender. Lawrence also had another passing score and one rushing score. 

Key play: About seven minutes into the third quarter and needing a spark after Miami scored on a blocked field goal before the half, Etienne took a handoff 72 yards for his longest touchdown run of the 2020 season to put the Tigers up 28-10. 

Player of the game: Etienne rushed for 149 yards and averaged 8.8 yards per run, his highest of the season. He also led the team with 72 receiving yards on eight catches. 

Freshman impact: Redshirt freshman Kane Patterson had the first interception of his career to ice the game in the fourth quarter. It was a big play for the third-team linebacker. 

Coaches decision: Dabo Swinney opted to attempt a 61-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter with three seconds left. It was blocked and returned for a score by the Hurricanes to cut the lead to 21-10 and give Miami momentum at the half. A steamed Swinney took full responsibility for deciding to attempt the long kick, knowing it could lead to a disastrous play. 

Stat of the game: Miami was penalized 15 times for 135 yards. Seven of those came on the defensive side of the ball and helped the Tigers accumulate 34 first downs. 

Up next: Clemson heads to Atlanta next Saturday for a noon kickoff against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets (2-2) are coming off a 46-27 victory over Louisville on Friday.

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