62-17: Clemson was who we thought they were
The Tigers’ eighth straight win this season by 31 or more points demonstrated that they are poised to win their second consecutive national championship.
Tonight’s 45-point shellacking was never in doubt. Dating back to last season’s ACC Championship win over Pitt, Clemson has dismantled Notre Dame, Alabama and now Virginia in the last two postseasons by an average margin of victory of 33 points. None of those games were even remotely competitive.
Not trying to compare tonight’s win over the Cavaliers by Clemson with their two wins in last season’s College Football Playoff, but I’m seeing a trend developing here.
My take is simple: who can beat this team? I know, the next time Clemson takes the field, the stakes will be higher, the competition better, but does it really make a difference?
I realize some other fan bases may disagree, like the other Tigers in the fight at LSU, but until someone figures out a way to slow down the Clemson offense, then my money is on the ACC Tigers.
Clemson’s huge win over Virginia before over 66,000 fans in Bank of America Stadium was simply a tune-up. The Tigers often appeared to be running a hurry-up offense even in situations that it wasn’t called for. In the first half alone, Clemson had scoring sprees of 84, 94, and 98 seconds. Not long enough to warrant labeling them as “drives.”
So its 28 straight and counting for the 2019 ACC Champions.
OK, so the skeptics may point to the Clemson pass defense as a weak spot. Tonight Virginia’s Bryce Perkins lit up the Tiger secondary for 266 yards, completing 27 of 43 pass attempts to seven different receivers. Remember, Clemson lost three defensive linemen in the first-round of the 2019 NFL draft.
But it’s the offense that just pummels Clemson opponents. The skill players on offense just go on-and-on. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was practically perfect here tonight: his final stats almost Madden-like, 16-of-22 for 302 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters.
Lawrence found receiver Tee Higgins nine times on the night for 182 yards, including an incredible sideline catch. And for good measure, ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne rushed for 125 yards on 14 carries, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. Talk about choosing your poison. For the Cavaliers’ already depleted defense, it was like running up hill against the wind, in the cold all game long.
Lawrence, a sophomore, has never lost a game for Clemson.
In short, tonight was another Clemson blowout win. And that’s not an indictment on Virginia or the ACC. Clemson is just that good. Doesn’t really matter the opponent, the conference, the Tigers are just that darn good.
And I’m right, until some team proves me wrong.
Column by Scott German