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Etienne, Clemson take care of business against Wofford

Caleb Browder, Photo Editor

Clemson running back Travis Etinne (9) races into the endzone against Wofford.  

The Clemson Tigers defeated the Wofford Terriers by a score of 59-14 on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Tigers improved to 9-0 on the season while the Terriers fell to 5-3.

While the lopsided scoreline is certainly eye-catching, Saturday’s game went about as expected. Entering the game as 45 point favorites, the Tigers were able to cover the massive spread. With another 50-plus point, 700-yard showing, Clemson continued their stretch of dominant offensive performances. In the past four games, the Tigers have compiled 208 total points. Defensively, the Tigers put up their eighth performance allowing 14 points or less. 

The Tigers opened the scoring on the first drive of the game when Trevor Lawrence connected with Amari rodgers on a 35-yard touchdown pass. With a clean pocket, Lawrence was able to let Rodgers run past his man before airing out a pass to the corner of the endzone. 

Throughout the rest of the first half, the Tigers gashed the Terriers both through the air and on the ground. Travis Etienne ripped off 207 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, averaging a whopping 25.9 yards per carry. The play of the game came on the first snap of the second quarter when Etienne exploded through the offensive line and into the open field for an 86-yard score. With the run, Etienne set the Clemson rushing touchdown record with 48 total scores. Lyn-J Dixon and Lawrence added rushing scores of their own in the first half to increase the Tigers’ lead. 

With the first half winding down, Wofford quarterback Joe Newman was searching for his first completion of the game. Rolling out to his left, Newman fired a ball directly into the chest of linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The interception was the first of the season for Simmons who has been the undisputed leader of the defense to this point in the season.  

The entire Clemson defense was outstanding yet again against Wofford. The run-heavy Terrier offense found little room to work with on the ground, finding only marginal success with option plays. By the end of the game, Wofford punter Luke Carter kicked the ball away nine times. The second and third string defenders struggled in the second half however, allowing 14 points to the dreadful Terrier offense. 

With his 13-17, 221 yard, four total touchdown performance, Lawrence added to his impressive season statline despite playing just over half the game. Perhaps the most promising sign was the fact that Lawrence was turnover-free for a second straight game.

The player of the game on the defensive side of the ball was linebacker Jake Venables. Son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Jake has typically seen time as a second-string player to this point in the season. With a weaker opponent, Venables saw more of the field and made the most of his opportunity. He tallied eight total tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss. 

On the Tigers’ opening drive of the second half, Lawrence came out for one last drive. Lawrence marched the Tigers 84 yards down the field in just over two minutes, capping off the drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Justyn Ross. The drive marked one of Clemson’s six touchdown drives of more than 70 yards in less than two minutes and thirty seconds. 

Other second half highlights included Darien Rencher scoring his second career touchdown on his 22nd birthday. Freshman cornerback Sheridan Jones notched his first career fumble recovery on the afternoon as well. 

The Tigers will look to keep the momentum going next weekend when they travel to Raleigh to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack, who have taken a step back in 2019, and will come into the game at 4-4. 

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