NO LUCK FOR THE IRISH: NO.2 CLEMSON DOMINATES NO.3 NOTRE DAME 30-3 AND ADVANCES TO 3RD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN 4 YEARS
- 2018-12-29 22:00:56
ARLINGTON, TX - No.2 Clemson handed No.3 Notre Dame its only loss of the season, rolling over the Irish 30-3 to advance to a third National Championship Game in four years. Trevor Lawrence was sensational, going 27-39 for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions, and was named Offensive MVP. Fellow freshman Justyn Ross also had a big night, with 5 catches for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half alone. Austin Bryant was the MVP of a stifling defense that sacked Ian Book 6 times and held Notre Dame to just 248 total yards. Bryant had 2 of those sacks and another tackle-for-loss. The big story line of the week was obviously the suspension of First Team All-ACC DT Dexter Lawrence, but Albert Huggins and the Tigers still limited the Irish to just 88 rushing yards.
It was tough sledding for Travis Etienne in the first half, but he finally broke through with a 62-yard touchdown run in the second half after a Nolan Smith interception. The TD run tied Etienne for the nation's lead at 22 and also broke Wayne Gallman's Clemson single-season rushing record.
The Tigers wait to see if they will get a fourth straight showdown with Alabama or if they will play Oklahoma for the third time in the last 5 years. The one question on everyone's mind will be whether Dexter Lawrence will be able to play in the National Championship Game. I believe Clemson is appealing to the NCAA, but it's anyone's guess whether that will be granted in the next 9 days. My guess is Dexter will not be allowed to play, but I'll let you know as soon as we get word.
The Tigers' seniors have won 54 games, tying Alabama for the most games ever won over a four-year period. It was the Tigers' first-ever Cotton Bowl win in their first trip since the 1939 season. The Tigers have won a program-record 30 straight Saturday games, the longest streak in the nation.
I'll have the post-game press conference video with Dabo, Trevor Lawrence and Austin Bryant, transcripts and player interviews posted in a bit. Stay tuned!
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