Oct 3, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) runs the ball during their game against Virginia at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 1 Clemson cruises past Virginia behind Lawrence’s 3 TDs

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed for three touchdowns as the No. 1 Tigers downed Virginia 41-23 Saturday night at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium.

Lawrence completed 25 of 38 pass attempts for 329 yards as Clemson improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Virginia slipped to 1-1, 1-1.

The victory was Clemson’s 24th consecutive victory at home, a school record, and boosted the Tigers’ to a national-best 43-1 in home games since 2014. Of the 120 players on Clemson’s roster, 111 have never experienced a loss at home.

Clemson also has won 24 consecutive games against ACC teams and 46 consecutive Saturday games, the longest such streak in FBS history.

The Tigers have won five straight games against the Cavaliers, including a 62-17 victory in the ACC Championship Game last December, but Saturday’s win didn’t come nearly as easily.

Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 89 more, keeping the Cavaliers in the game well into the second half.

Virginia pulled within 27-17 with 6:05 left in the third quarter before Clemson began to pull away, adding two fourth-quarter scores to take a 41-17 lead before Virginia tacked on a final score with 1:11 to play.

Clemson’s victory sets up a Top 10 ACC showdown next week when Miami comes calling for a prime-time game at Memorial Stadium.

Clemson opened the scoring with a 47-yard field goal, then added a 16-yard touchdown run by senior running back Travis Etienne on the next-to-last play of the first quarter for a 10-0 lead. The score marked Etienne’s 38th career game with a touchdown, tying the FBS record shared by former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon.

Virginia responded with a 13-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with Brian Delaney’s 27-yard field goal, but Clemson got back-to-back touchdown passes from Lawrence to Amari Rodgers on its next two possessions to extend its lead to 24-3.

The Cavaliers cut their deficit to 24-10 by getting three straight completions from Armstrong that covered 72 yards, with the final 23 coming on a touchdown to senior wide receiver Terrell Jana with 41 seconds left in the first half.

Virginia continued to show mettle in the second half, pulling within 27-17 on a three-yard pass from Armstrong to Keytaon Thompson with 6:05 left in the third quarter, but Clemson struck back quickly, scoring six plays later on a four-yard pass from Lawrence to Etienne to regain control.

Etienne rushed for 73 yards, but was key in Clemson’s passing attack as well, with five receptions for a career-high 114 yards. Rodgers had six catches for 72 yards.

Billy Kemp IV led Virginia with 10 receptions for 96 yards.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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