CUTrevor 2019-08-30 08:35:16

CLEMSON, S.C. –  Behind a career-best 205 rushing yards from Travis Etienne, the No. 1/1 Clemson Tigers defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 52-14, at Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. Clemson (1-0, 1-0 ACC) rushed for 411 yards - the most in a season-opener since 1957 and the most allowed by Georgia Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC) since 1975. The Tigers extend their win streak to 16 games, which dates back to the start of the 2018 season.

The Thursday night game, which debuted the new ACC Network, is the earliest game in school history. Etienne found the end zone three times, rushing for 205 yards on just 12 attempts. The highlight of the night for both the Tigers and Etienne came on a career-long 90-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter. Trevor Lawrence opened the scoring for the Tigers with a six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Lawrence completed 13-of-23 pass attempts for 168 yards and one touchdown. Tee Higgins finished with four catches for 98 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown from Lawrence with 4:34 to go in the first half to put Clemson ahead 28-0. Higgins has now caught a touchdown in five-straight games.

The Clemson defense forced four turnovers with Tanner Muse and Denzel Johnson recording interceptions. The four turnovers are the most the Tigers have forced since 2015 against Notre Dame. Isiah Simmons led the defense with 10 tackles.

Clemson hosts No. 12/12 Texas A&M at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

CUTrevor 2019-08-30 08:37:03


Opening statement:

“It’s great to get the win. Our fans were awesome. I told the players in the locker room how blessed we are to have a fanbase that shows up and gives us a great environment. Our guys were ready and excited to show up and play.”

On the Tigers’ winning performance:

“We settled in and rushed for 411 yards, the most since 1957. It was fun to see what we could do in the trenches. There were contributions from all three phases. We had a goal-line stand. Most of their yardage came on three or four big plays that we can learn from.

“Travis Etienne rushed for a couple hundred yards and had the 90-yard score. That’s the longest rushing touchdown ever by any team in this stadium. We had 13 different receivers and eight different rushers. We played 91 guys, and that’s a great opportunity for us to grow as a football team. There were great contributions from all three phases.”

On Trevor Lawrence’s touchdown-saving tackle following an interception:

“I talk to our guys all the time about that. I don’t expect to see perfection. I don’t expect to see the eye of the Tiger. I want to see the heart of a champion. He gave us a chance to play goal-line defense and get an interception by Denzel Johnson because of that effort. That kind of play sets the tone for everything that we do.”

On Isaiah Simmons’ solid showing:

“Isaiah Simmons set the tone early with a great tackle for loss. He has so much length. He’s hard to get away from. He’s physical and he made some wild plays out there.”


On offensive preparation:

“This was actually a tough game to get prepared for. We didn’t quite know what to expect, and we knew we would have to get into the game and make some adjustments. Early on they [Georgia Tech] did some good things with their coverages, so that limited things early on. Once we got control of the line of scrimmage, we relied on those guys up front and running the football.”

On Trevor Lawrence using his legs more:

“Each game is going to dictate that. The biggest thing we asked him there is just to make the system right. He’s done a really good job of making the right decisions first and foremost, and he’s a much better runner than people give him credit for.”


Opening statement:

“It was great to get off to a fast start. Really difficult opener. Openers are always difficult, but especially [when] you’ve got a new staff coming in, not knowing exactly what you’re going to get. We planned for one thing, and give them credit, they came out and did something completely different. Felt like we settled in and really ran the ball. Really proud of that offensive line. Four seniors up there. That’s our leadership, that’s our experience, the heartbeat of our offense.”

On the limitations early in the passing game:

“They played a lot of coverage. We want to be able to be a balanced team and we want to have an opportunity when they’re giving us the throwing game to be able to execute that. When they’re letting us run the ball, [we want to] take it. A quick death or a slow death. We really thought they were going to play a lot of man coverage and we were going to get a lot of opportunities.”

On Travis Etienne’s improvement from last season:

“[He’s] just taking the next step..his maturity. He’s always been a strong runner. I think for him the biggest step has been in pass protection. And that’s another thing I should say, no sacks today, especially with all the different things up front. A lot of unknowns. To be able to come out with no sacks, that includes the running backs, offensive line and tight ends. Travis has worked hard. He’s a humble guy, very hard-working. [He] doesn’t listen to any of the outside noise or anything like that. It was great to be able to see him back and have some explosive runs.”


On Clemson’s overall body of work:

“Proud of our guys. I thought they came ready to play. I saw guys play with tremendous effort. A lot of passion. [I] thought we were physical. Our positioning was pretty good. [It was] the first game for a lot of guys as [starters] and I thought they performed well, particularly in the first half. We had a lot of situational football where our guys really responded, came through. We had a couple of forced turnovers and some fourth down stops. We saw a lot tonight.”

On the growth of Clemson’s defensive front:

“No doubt. And we left some money on the table. With a little bit of improvement and correction, [we] could have had a shutout. It’s that close. [Georgia Tech] has done a nice job. They’re doing the right stuff and using their personnel the right way. But absolutely, there’s a ton that you saw our guys grow up from.”


On the tackle after the interception:

“I thought I had a quick throw to the outside and the corner made a good play. Right when I threw it, I thought, ‘this is going to be a pick.’ I just tried to make a play and give our defense a chance.”

On team’s response to the turnovers:

“We just responded to adversity. It’s always good to see, especially with a team like this. Some things didn’t go our way, but we went back and responded.”

On the running game:

“It was great. The offensive line did a great job, and obviously Travis did too. We had to run the ball more than we thought we would, but the offensive line and running backs did a great job.”


“Just the leadership that we have, the experience that we have on offense, the older guys. Just rallying around us and knowing [we have to] keep our composure throughout the game and knowing that it’s a four-quarter game and things are going to happen. It’s how you respond to those things.”

On if his fumble created motivation to get the ball back:

“Most definitely…. [I] hate when it happens because it’s all what you can control. You never want to fumble as a running back… Everyone was like “You owe me, you owe me,” so I was just trying to get it back for them.”

On his 90-yard touchdown run:

“It was a great play call from coach. Guys went out there and executed it well. Diondre Overton gave me a great block down the sideline and it was off to the races.”

On running into Jackson Carman:

“Yeah, I ran into Jackson, but it worked out for the better because Jackson got the corner right in front of him. He kind of just ran over the guy so it kind of worked out.”


On his assessment of his performance:

“I felt like I played very well and played through the game scheme.”

On what it’s like to have a game in the books and to have film to review:

“[It’s] really good. I can look at the film and look at the things I did [badly] so I can fix them.”

On Clemson’s defense responding well when they were put in tough spots:

“The defense, they’re hungry. There’s been a lot of talk, and I think they fed into that and they’re going to keep getting better and better each week.”


On the atmosphere of Death Valley:

“It was very intense. It was amazing. I was kind of nervous at first, but I gathered myself.”

On the preseason hype:

“I like to stay humble. I like to thank God for that. I just stay humble.”

On when he knew he was going to start:

“I didn’t really know until my coach told me, but I just try to prepare myself and be ready.” 


On the game:

“It’s a great feeling, obviously. The first game of the season, to be able to come out and play like that, it’s an awesome feeling.”

On the interception:

“I saw the ball and then the quarterback. I looked the quarterback in the eyes, and he looked me in the eyes. I ducked my shoulder and gave him a little hit stick.”

On preparing for a new Georgia Tech offense:

“It was difficult at first, but Coach [Brent Venables] does such a good job of getting us prepared. He made it a lot easier for us.”


On his mentality heading into the game:

“We’ve been starting since January. Coach Swinney preaches all the time that we are a different team and that we have to come in with a different mindset.”

On his first career touchdown reception:

“It felt great, especially after missing most of fall camp. The offensive line did a great job and Chase threw a great ball. We had been running the ball down the field and Coach Swinney, Coach Scott and Coach Elliott decided to take a shot. I knew that it was my opportunity and Coach Scott had been preaching all week that, when your opportunity comes, you have to make the most of it, and that is what I did. It felt great to be out there with my team.” 

On first game as a Tiger:

“It was crazy playing on a Thursday night against an ACC team. Coach Swinney, the rest of the coaching staff and the older guys prepared me for the moment.”


On the first game of the season:

“As long as camp is, all the guys can’t wait to hit somebody new because we just hit each other every day. It was nice to hit somebody you don’t know.”

On new faces on the team:

“I think we did very well. I think the expectation was that we weren’t going to be good at the linebacker and defensive line positions because of all of the experience that left, but I was really proud of the guys. I think we executed well, but of course there is a lot to learn from.”

On fourth-down stops:

“Fourth-down stops are a big deal. That is something that we really pride ourselves in. We talk all the time about winning in the trenches and that is where that all started. They were just running the ball downhill, downhill, downhill. Of course, [the trenches] was a new void that everybody was questioning but I was proud of the guys for what they did.”

On Trevor Lawrence’s tackle:

“Without him, we would not have had a chance [at the stop] so I really applaud him for that effort. There are a lot of quarterbacks out there that would have thrown a pick and just jogged over there, but he gave everything he could just to give us another chance and allowed us to get the stop.”


Opening statement:

“I’ve first got to give a ton of respect to Clemson. Really good football team, really well coached. They did a great job tonight. Twenty-one point swing early. We had chances. We had 4th-and-1. We didn’t convert. We got down on the goal line, didn’t convert. Turnovers early hurt us. I think the story of the game was big plays. I thought we tackled well. I thought our guys ran to the ball. They had some really nice throws and catches and they broke some big runs. So the explosive plays, when we go back and look at it, limit those and it’s a different game. Really proud. We had a bunch of young guys play. There were 22 freshmen who played in the game, 11 true freshmen who played in the game and we only have 11 seniors. I’m really proud of their contribution. We’re just going to continue to get better. I’m just proud of the way they fought and of the way they stuck together. Injuries piled up on special teams, but the guys kept rolling in, trying to give their all for each other.”

On building from this game:

“Just the tackling piece. Whenever you’re playing against elite running backs and an elite offensive line, you can’t give them anything. So we’ve got to make sure we’re fitting in the gaps and any little creases where we’re going to get exposed. So eliminating them. I do think that, as a whole, we tackled well. Just elite players who find a seam, they got us. Then just the 50-50 balls. Offensively, protecting the football, playing clean. We’re still figuring out who we are, what our personnel can do. I’m proud of the offensive line. They went out there and battled. Any group was out there battling.”

On Georgia Tech’s perseverance:

“They’re special. We’re going to be so good moving forward. We’re just going to get better and better every single week. The conversations as we’re coming to the locker room, the belief, the love, I think that will transcend and we will continue to get better every week. Just proud of them. I told them last night how much I love them, how much I respect them and it might even be stronger after the way they fought and stayed together.”

CUTrevor 2019-08-30 08:59:37



  • Clemson won its 11th consecutive game by 20 or more points, extending its school record in the category. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Clemson now holds sole possession of the second-longest such streak by any team in the AP Poll era (since 1936), surpassing 1959-60 New Mexico State, 1971 Nebraska, 1973-74 Temple, 2002 Boise State and 2010-11 Stanford (10 games each). Clemson is now one game shy of the record, held by 2018 Alabama (12).
  • Clemson recorded 632 total yards and has now reached 500 total yards in three consecutive season openers for the first time in records dating back to 1954. Clemson totaled 678 yards against Kent State in the 2017 opener and 531 yards against Furman in its 2018 debut.
  • Clemson’s 632 yards were its most against Georgia Tech all-time, surpassing the 615 yards gained by Clemson’s 1903 squad against Georgia Tech.
  • Clemson rushed for 411 yards, the most rushing yards gained by Clemson in a season opener since 1957 (439 vs. Presbyterian College).
  • With 411 rushing yards, Clemson posted the most rushing yards Georgia Tech has allowed in nearly 44 years, dating to Georgia rushing for 431 against the Yellow Jackets on Nov. 27, 1975.
  • The 411 rushing yards represented Clemson's fourth 400-yard rushing performance under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, joining the 2015 Miami (Fla.) game (416) and 2018 Wake Forest (471) and Louisville (492) games.
  • Prior to Thursday, the last time Georgia Tech had allowed 50+ points was also against the Tigers (55 points on Nov. 14, 2013).
  • Clemson did not allow a sack and has now allowed no sacks in six of its last nine games, dating to last season.
  • Clemson forced four takeaways, the Tigers’ most since Oct. 3, 2015, when Clemson forced four turnovers against Notre Dame in a 24-22 victory against the Fighting Irish amidst weather effects of Hurricane Joaquin.
  • Clemson posted a positive turnover margin in a fourth straight game, dating to last season, for the first time since a five-game streak to open the 2013 season.
  • Trevor Lawrence completed 13-23 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed three times for 24 yards with a touchdown.
  • Lawrence threw an interception on his 13th pass attempt of the game, ending a streak of 182 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. The streak ended five attempts shy of the school record held by Tajh Boyd (187, 2012-13). 
  • Clemson opened the scoring on a six-yard touchdown run by Lawrence. The rushing touchdown was the second of Lawrence’s career and his first since Nov. 10, 2018 at Boston College.
  • Running back Travis Etienne recorded a career-high 205 rushing yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns.
  • Etienne’s three rushing touchdowns tied his career high, set in three games in 2018.
  • Etienne’s 205 rushing yards surpassed his previous career high of 203 yards, set against Syracuse on Sept. 29, 2018.
  • The 200-yard rushing day was the second of Etienne’s career, tying a school record shared by Ray Yauger, Terrence Flagler, Raymond Priester and Andre Ellington.
  • Etienne became the first 200-yard rusher allowed by Georgia Tech since Sept. 29, 2012, when Middle Tennessee State’s Benny Cunningham rushed for 217 yards.
  • For his career, the performance marked Etienne’s 12th multi-touchdown game and his ninth 100-yard rushing game.
  • With the performance, Etienne (2,629) passed Buddy Gore (2,571 from 1966-68) to enter the top 10 in career rushing yards in school history.
  • With 18 points on the evening, Etienne (252) became the 11th Clemson player in history to reach 250 career points.
  • Etienne’s 205 rushing yards are the 12th most by a player in a game in school history. His 12 carries were the fewest by a Clemson player in a 200-yard rushing game all-time, surpassing Buck George’s 15 carries in a 204-yard game against Presbyterian College in 1954.
  • Etienne’s 205 rushing yards are the second most in a season opener in school history, trailing Andre Ellington’s 228-yard performance against Auburn in 2012.
  • Etienne scored on a career-long 90-yard run in the first quarter, tying the longest run in school history with Banks McFadden (1939 vs. Presbyterian College) and Buck George (1951 at Furman). The run was the longest in the history of Memorial Stadium.
  • Etienne’s 90-yard run was Clemson’s longest play since a since a 91-yard pass from Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins against Virginia in 2013.
  • On the 90-yard touchdown, Etienne eclipsed the 2,500-yard career rushing mark, becoming only the 11th player in school history to reach 2,500 career rushing yards. 
  • Etienne has now scored a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games, dating to last season. The streak ties Woodrow Dantzler (six in 2000) for the seventh-longest streak of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown in school history and pulls Etienne within one of his personal best (seven straight games to open the 2018 season).
  • Etienne recorded his 40th career total touchdown on the 90-yard run, joining C.J. Spiller (51), Travis Zachery (50) and James Davis (49) as the only players in school history to reach that mark.
  • Etienne added a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
  • Etienne’s third touchdown was his 40th career rushing touchdown. He is only the third player in school history to record 40 career rushing touchdowns, joining James Davis (47) and Travis Zachary (41).
  • Wide receiver Tee Higgins scored his first touchdown of the season on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence in the second quarter.
  • With the score, Higgins pushed his career-long streak of consecutive games with a receiving touchdown to five, dating back to last season. His five-game streak is now tied with Derrick Hamilton (2003), Aaron Kelly (2007) and Deon Cain (2015) for the second-longest streak in school history, trailing DeAndre Hopkins' school record of 10 games from 2012.
  • Higgins’ touchdown was the culmination of a 94-yard drive, the same length as Clemson’s game-clinching drive against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship last season.
  • Running back Lyn-J Dixon scored his first touchdown of the season on an 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. It was his first since the 2018 ACC Championship Game against Pittsburgh.
  • With 269 combined yards, Etienne (205) and Dixon(64) became the first duo to rush for at least 250 yards against Georgia Tech since Nov. 26, 2016, when Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel rushed for 258 combined yards.
  • Wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr. recorded a 21-yard touchdown reception on the first catch of his career. The touchdown was thrown by Chase Brice, his first passing touchdown since Nov. 3, 2018, against Louisville. 
  • Linebacker Baylon Spector recovered a muffed punt in the first quarter. It was the second recovered fumble of his career and marked the second straight year in which Spector has recovered a fumble in the season opener.
  • Clemson scored following Spector’s takeaway, Clemson’s first takeaway of 2019. Last season, Clemson capitalized with points off turnovers in 11-of-15 contests.
  • In the second quarter, linebacker Chad Smith recorded his second forced fumble of his career and his first since 2017. The fumble was recovered by defensive tackle Xavier Kelly, his first fumble recovery of his career.
  • Safety Denzel Johnson recorded his first career interception in the second quarter on a fourth-and-goal stand by the Clemson defense on a drive that started at the Clemson 2-yard-line. 
  • Safety Tanner Muse recorded his fourth career interception in the third quarter. It was his first since Nov. 3, 2018, against Louisville.
  • Kicker B.T. Potter recorded a career-long 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It was Clemson’s first field goal of 50 yards or more since Chandler Catanzaro’s 51-yard field goal against Georgia Tech in 2013.
  • Clemson reached 27 or more points in a 16th straight game, extending its school-record streak.
  • Clemson shutout Georgia Tech, 28-0, in the first half. The Tigers shut out five opponents in the opening half last season, including most recently at Florida State (Oct. 27, 2018).
  • The Aug. 29 kickoff represented Clemson’s earliest date of a season opener in program history. The Aug. 29 opener surpassed the 2003, 2008 and 2014 season openers held on Aug. 30 of their respective years.
  • Clemson opened a season on a Thursday for the first time in school history.
  • Clemson hosted a Thursday game for the first time since Nov. 14, 2013, a 55-31 win against Georgia Tech. The game was only the 14th Thursday home game in Clemson history and only the fifth since the opening of Memorial Stadium in 1942. 
  • Clemson opened the season against a conference opponent for the first time since 2007, when the Tigers earned a 24-18 win against Florida State on a Monday night in the final "Bowden Bowl."
  • Clemson opened a season against an ACC foe for the 13th time in school history. Clemson is now 10-2-1 in the 13 season openers against ACC teams.
  • Clemson opened ACC play at home for the first time since 2011, snapping a seven-season streak in which Clemson opened ACC play on the road.
  • The game was Clemson’s 11th all-time as the top-ranked team in the AP Poll. 
  • Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Clemson was the first AP No. 1 to open the season against a conference opponent since Nebraska in 1995.
  • True freshman Tyler Davis started at defensive tackle, becoming the 15th first-year freshman to start a season opener for Clemson since 1973. He joined running back Ken Callicutt (1973), defensive tackle Nelson Wallace (1973), defensive tackle Jeff Mills (1974), tight end Jeff Wells (1980), center James Farr (1980), defensive end John Johnson (1987), kicker Chris Gardocki (1988), running back Anthony Downs (1994), linebacker Anthony Simmons (1995), wide receiver Roscoe Crosby (2001), running back James Davis (2005), running back C.J. Spiller (2006), running back Jamie Harper (2008) and wide receiver Adam Humphries (2011).
  • Captains for the contest were offensive tackle Tremayne Anchrum, offensive lineman Sean Pollard, linebacker James Skalski and corner back A.J. Terrell.




  • Clemson improved to 9-2 all-time when entering a contest as the No. 1 team in the AP Poll. Ten of those 11 contests have come during the Dabo Swinney era.
  • Clemson won its 16th consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. The current 16-game streak is now the second-longest home winning streak in Clemson history, trailing only a 21-game Memorial Stadium winning streak from 2013-16.
  • Clemson improved to 93-23-8 all-time in season openers.
  • Clemson improved to 3-2 on Thursdays at Memorial Stadium all-time.
  • Clemson earned its eighth consecutive Thursday win, dating back to a 42-13 road win against Wake Forest in 2012. The current Thursday streak now the longest in program history, surpassing seven straight Thursday wins across the 1898-1900 seasons under coaches John Penton, Walter Riggs and John Heisman.
  • Clemson won its 60th Thursday game all-time. The Tigers are now 60-61-10 in Thursday games all-time.
  • Clemson opened ACC play with a win for a fifth consecutive season, tying the program's longest such winning streak from 1980-84.
  • Clemson won its first ACC home game of the season for a ninth consecutive year. Clemson has won every ACC home opener dating back to 2011. The ninth straight victory by Clemson in its ACC home opener broke the longest streak in program history, set across the 1964-71 seasons under head coaches Frank Howard and Cecil Ingram.
  • Clemson improved to 12-1 against ACC Coastal Division opponents since 2015. Clemson's 12-1 mark against the Coastal in that span includes victories in their last eight interdivisional matchups, including ACC Championship appearances. 
  • Clemson earned its 32nd all-time victory against Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is one of 11 schools against whom Clemson has earned at least 30 all-time victories (South Carolina, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Furman, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, Presbyterian and The Citadel).
  • Clemson won its fifth consecutive game against Georgia Tech, dating back to a 43-24 home win in 2015. It represents Clemson's longest winning streak in the all-time series, surpassing four-game winning streaks across the 1898-1903 seasons and the 1993-96 campaigns.
  • Clemson attempting won its sixth straight home contest against Georgia Tech, dating back to 2010, extending Clemson's longest such streak in the series history.
  • Head Coach Dabo Swinney improved to 8-5 all-time against Georgia Tech, including postseason play. 
  • Swinney extended his record in season openers as head coach to 10-1.
  • Swinney (10) passed Danny Ford (nine) for the second-most season-opening victories in Clemson history, trailing only Frank Howard (25) in program annals. 
  • Swinney pushed his all-time record in non-conference play as a head coach to 42-13, including a 34-8 all-time record against non-conference opponents in regular season play.
  • Clemson has now won 59 of its last 63 games overall dating to 2014.
  • Clemson has now won 35 of its last 37 games against ACC teams.
  • Clemson led 28-0 at halftime and has now 67 of its last 69 games when leading at halftime.
  • Clemson improved to 88-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
  • Clemson pushed its record to 40-0 when scoring first since 2015.
  • Clemson is now 88-2 record when totaling more first downs than its opponent since 2011.
  • Clemson improved to 56-1 when rushing for 200+ yards under Dabo Swinney.
  • Clemson is now 42-0 when both passing and rushing for 200+ yards under Dabo Swinney.
  • Clemson pushed its record to 41-2 since 2011 when having a 100-yard rusher.
  • Clemson has now won 64 of its last 66 games against unranked teams.