WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WIS) - The season is finally here.
No. 1 Clemson will take on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem tonight. The Tigers begin their quest to return to the College Football Playoff National Championship. It would be their fifth appearance since 2015.
Clemson ended the first quarter with a 14-0 lead.
The Tigers finish the period with 169 yards on 22 plays as Trevor Lawrence records two rushing touchdowns.
Travis Etienne has gotten off to a good start with 82 yards on 10 carries. Meanwhile, the Tigers' defense has held Wake Forest to 87 total yards.
As for Wake Forest, they struggled to find continuity. The Demon Deacons only posted three first downs against the Clemson defense in the quarter. The lone bright spot for Wake Forest may have been the 72 passing yards they picked up in the period.
The Tigers continue to light up the scoreboard. This time, the special teams unit gets involved with a 42-yard field goal by BT Potter.
Clemson added one more score in the second quarter on a methodical 4-minute drive that spanned began inside the Clemson 10-yard line. It ended with Lawrence’s first touchdown pass of the year to JC Chalk. The touchdown is Chalk’s first of his career with the Tigers.
(Interesting note: Chalk is the grandson of Gene Stallings, who coached Dabo Swinney at Alabama.)
Clemson tacked on one more Potter field goal, a 52-yard kick, to enter the locker room with a 27-0 lead. Potter gets a good start on the year going 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts in the period.
The Tigers made it look easy most of the first half with Lawrence passing for 261 yards and the offense, as a whole, posting 353 total yards.
Meanwhile, the Wake Forest offense remained inconsistent at times missing opportunities through the air with dropped passes.
The Demon Deacons finished the quarter with just 26 total yards. In all, Wake Forest recorded 113 total yards in the half.
Wake Forest gets on the board after coming away with a big play to get into Clemson territory, but the Deacons are held to a Nick Sciba field goal.
Still, that’s about all the Deacons would be able to accomplish. Wake was held to just 109 yards in the quarter.
Clemson would extend their lead in the quarter with a 2-yard Travis Etienne touchdown run. That’s his 57th career rushing touchdown and his 63rd overall for the Tigers.
With the lead well in hand, Swinney would pull Lawrence from the game. He’d finish the night going 22-of-28 passing for 351 yards, a passing touchdown, and two rushing touchdowns.
(Interesting note: Lawrence finished with -24 rushing yards.)
By this time, Lawrence and Etienne have been pulled from the game and ultimately put the game on ice.
Wake Forest added one more Nick Sciba field goal, but Clemson proved to be too much for the home team.
CU: 2-yard touchdown run by Lawrence (Potter kick good) - 7-0 Tigers (8:02)
CU: 1-yard touchdown run by Lawrence (Potter kick good) - 14-0 Tigers (2:31)
CU: 42-yard field goal by Potter - 17-0 (10:54)
CU: 12-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to Chalk (Potter kick good) - 24-0 (1:21)
CU: 52-yard field goal by Potter - 27-0 (10:54)
WF: 39-yard field goal by Sciba - 27-3 (13:21)
CU: 2-yard touchdown run by Etienne (Potter kick good) - 34-3 (10:38)
CU: 29-yard field goal by Potter - 37-3 (3:14)
WF: 42-yard field goal by Sciba - 37-6 (7:20)
WF: 1-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Griffis to Taylor Morin (Sciba kick good) - 37-13 (2:34)