The Clemson Tigers hosted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Thursday night as a 36.5 point favorite in their home opener. Ranked as the number one team in the country, the Tigers managed to cover the spread behind an electrifying debut from running-back Travis Etienne.
Etienne, last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, continued his trend of game-changing performances, this time highlighted by a school record 90 yard touchdown run.
The junior, a first-team All American last season, rushed 12 times for 205 yards and 3 TD’s. He added scoring runs of 14 and 48 yards.
Set to prove that he is the best offensive-player in the nation, the back seems intent on forcing his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation. Thus far, all the talk has surrounded University of Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa and Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Etienne was a major contributor in Clemson’s National Championship run. For the season, he amassed 1,658 rushing yards on 204 carries to go along with 24 touchdowns.
Leading 28-0 at halftime, the Tigers defense dominated the Yellow Jackets’ offense. The new-look unit forced four turnovers, by recovering two fumbles to go along with their two interceptions. Last season’s defensive line saw four players get drafted into the NFL. It was expected there would some drop-off. However, the reloaded line is already hard at work proving it’s detractors wrong.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s team seems poised to make another run to the College Football Playoff. Clemson’s next matchup is against number twelve ranked Texas A&M, on September 7th at 3:30 pm.
Header Photo Credit: Greenville News Online