No. 2 Clem­son keeps rolling, routs Louisville

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Sports - BY PETE IACOBELLI

De­fen­sive tackle Dex­ter Lawrence said one of No. 2 Clem­son’s main goals this year was to have fun.

Few teams in col­lege foot­ball ap­pear to be en­joy­ing them­selves as much as the surg­ing Tigers.

Travis Eti­enne ran for 153 yards and two touch­downs, and Lawrence – all 350 pounds of him – had a 2-yard scor­ing run in a 77-16 dis­man­tling of Louisville on Satur­day.

Lawrence, a ju­nior, thought he would be go­ing it alone this sea­son among de­fen­sive-line starters with ends Clelin Fer­rell and Austin Bryant, and tackle Chris­tian Wilkins, all think­ing hard about the NFL this past off­sea­son.

In­stead, all of Clem­son’s starters came back for a fi­nal try at a na­tional ti­tle.

“Our goal for this year was to just try and en­joy every mo­ment we get with each other, not waste any­thing,” Lawrence said. “Laugh­ing, hav­ing fun, danc­ing, just en­joy­ing ev­ery­thing that comes with foot­ball.”

The Tigers, who moved to 9-0 for the third time in four years, are do­ing a lot of that lately. Clem­son (6-0 ACC, No. 2 CFP) can wrap up the At­lantic Divi­sion with a win at Bos­ton Col­lege next week.

The high­light Satur­day may have been Lawrence’s bull rush to the end zone as the lead back – Wilkins was lined up at tail­back – in Clem­son’s “Fridge Pack­age” that high­lights about 675 pounds of de­fen­sive-line mus­cle.

“I try to take ad­van­tage of my op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Lawrence joked. “I’m a nat­u­ral run­ning back, I tell my­self.”

A week ago in a 59-10 win at Florida State, it was Wilkins go­ing in for a score with Lawrence paving the way.

“I also told (coach Dabo Swin­ney) that Chris­tian can’t score un­til I get the ball,” Lawrence said. “That’s how that went down.”

It wasn’t the only light mo- ment the Tigers had in rout­ing the Car­di­nals (2-7, 0-6).

Left tackle Mitch Hy­att, who set a pro­gram record for most snaps, caught a pass and Swin­ney’s old­est son, Will, capped the blowout with an 8-yard TD catch in the fi­nal quar­ter.

“This just shows how much fun we’re hav­ing,” Hy­att said.

Eti­enne went over the 1,000yard rush­ing mark and scored his ACC-lead­ing 15th touch­down. Tavien Feaster added 101 yards rush­ing for the Tigers.

Fresh­man Lyn-J Dixon ran for 116 yards, the sec­ond time this sea­son Clem­son has had three run­ners with 100 or more yards. They fin­ished with a sea­son high 492 yards rush­ing.

Co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jeff Scott said even though his group has played strongly the past month, “we can get to an­other level, and I think we got closer to that to­day.”

Eti­enne and Feaster put Clem­son up 14-0 less than three min­utes into the game

and the Tigers never let up on Louisville (2-7, 0-6).

Line­backer Isa­iah Sim­mons had a pick-six, the Tigers col­lected six sacks and backup quar­ter­back Chase Brice threw three touch­downs on seven pass at­tempts.

The most crowd-pleas­ing mo­ment was cer­tainly the touch­down by “Big Dex,” the ju­nior pro­jected as a can’t-miss NFL firstround pick. Most of the 78,741 at Memo­rial Sta­dium started to chat­ter when Lawrence and Wilkins ran out for the goalline of­fen­sive set.

They erupted when Trevor Lawrence handed off to Dex­ter Lawrence as the up­back who took a step to his left and ran across the line.

Wilkins, who cel­e­brates every Clem­son TD, hoisted the mas­sive Lawrence into the air.

Louisville lost its sixth straight game, its long­est los­ing streak since drop­ping 10 in a row in the 1997 and ’98 sea­sons.

THE TAKE­AWAY

Louisville: The Car­di­nals look like they’re play­ing out the string un­der coach Bobby Petrino and have a dif­fi­cult fin­ish­ing stretch with games at Syra­cuse, and home con­tests with North Carolina State and Ken­tucky left.

Clem­son: The Tigers might fi­nally face their first test since ral­ly­ing past Syra­cuse 27-23 back in Septem­ber when they play at Bos­ton Col­lege next week. A dif­fi­cult road game could cer­tainly chal­lenge the poise of a young quar­ter­back like Trevor Lawrence.

LOUISVILLE STRESS

Petrino said he was dis­ap­pointed with his team’s show­ing, but be­lieved his team played with ef­fort and kept play­ing un­til the end. “I didn’t feel like any­one gave up or any­body quit out there,” he said. “They kept com­pet­ing.”

LOTS OF POINTS

It was Clem­son’s high­est scor­ing game since de­feat­ing Wake For­est 82-24 in 1981. The team record in a game is 122 in shut­ting out Guil­ford in Oc­to­ber 1901.

VERY SNAPPY

Hy­att set a pro­gram record in the sec­ond quar­ter, when he played his 3,362nd snap for the Tigers. He sur­passed for­mer Clem­son cen­ter Dal­ton Free­man, who played 3,361 snaps from 2009-12.

UP NEXT

Clem­son plays its fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son road game at BC on Satur­day.

RICHARD SHIRO AP

Clem­son’s Adam Choice is brought down by Louisville’s P.J. Blue dur­ing Satur­day’s first half in Clem­son, S.C.

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