CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clemson’s ACC dominance is alive and well and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The Tigers crushed Pitt, 42-10, Saturday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium to clinch their fourth consecutive ACC championship. Clemson also clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive year with the victory. The Tigers are likely to be the No. 2 seed when the College Football Playoff rankings are released Sunday afternoon.
Clemson will either play in Dallas or Miami in the playoff against an unknown opponent on Dec. 29.
The battle between the second-ranked Tigers and the 7-5 Panthers was a mismatch on paper, and that’s the way the game played out.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne scored on a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game and went on to rush for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
The Tigers led 28-10 at the half as Etienne scored from 3 yards out and Trevor Lawrence (12-for-24, 118 yards) tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Tee Higgins.
Clemson’s defense helped to set up two of Clemson’s first-half scores. Isaiah Simmons hit Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett from behind in the first quarter and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Christian Wilkins and returned 18 yards to the Pitt 3. Etienne scored on the next play.
The Tigers led 21-10 with less than a minute remaining in the first half when Pickett was picked off by Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell. The sophomore returned the interception 31 yards to the Pitt 10, and Lawrence found Higgins for a score with 25 seconds left in the second quarter on the next play.
Clemson scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter with Adam Choice scoring from a yard out and Lyn-J Dixon adding a 4-yard touchdown run.
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