Clemson reached 450 yards of offense (481) in a fifth straight game for the first time since a 12-game streak spanning the final 11 games of 2015 and the opener in 2016.
Running back Travis Etienne rushed for 39 yards on three carries, punching into the end zone three times during the game.
Including three-touchdown performances in Clemson’s two most recent games against Syracuse and Wake Forest, Etienne became the first player in school history to rush for three touchdowns in three consecutive games.
Etienne’s third rushing touchdown was the 27th of his career, tying him with Cliff Austin (1978-82) and Woodrow Dantzler (1998-2001) for ninth-most in Clemson history.
Etienne pushed his season total in rushing touchdowns to 14, tying him with Fred Cone (1950), Cliff Austin (1982) and Emory Smith (1995) for fifth-most in a season in school history.
Etienne now has 14 total touchdowns this season, tied with Cliff Austin (1982) and Wayne Gallman (2015) for 10th-most in a season in school history.
Etienne added to his career-long streak of games with a rushing touchdown by rushing for a touchdown in a seventh consecutive game.
Etienne became the first Clemson player to rush for a touchdown in seven straight games since Wayne Gallman’s eight-game streak to end the 2016 season.
During the contest, Etienne (800) surpassed his single-season career high in rushing yards from a season ago (766 in 13 games).
Clemson opened the scoring on a three-yard touchdown run by Etienne on the game’s opening drive. Clemson improved to 33-0 when scoring first since 2015.
Etienne’s opening-drive touchdown marked Clemson’s first opening-drive points of the season and the team’s first since the 2017 ACC Championship against Miami.
Etienne also added a career-long 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for a career-high 308 yards on 26-39 passing with one touchdown. It was Lawrence’s first career 200-yard passing day and the first 300-yard passing game of the year by Clemson.
Lawrence’s 308 passing yards were the most by a Clemson passer since Kelly Bryant’s 316-yard day at Louisville in 2016.
After passing for 308 yards against the Wolfpack, Lawrence (1,176) is just 290 yards shy of breaking Watson’s school record for passing yards by a first-year freshman (1,466).
Wide receiver Tee Higgins finished the night with a career-high eight catches for 119 yards, averaging almost 15 yards per catch.
The 100-yard receiving game was Higgins’ second of the season and third of his career. It was his first 100-yard game since a 123-yard effort in the second game of the season at Texas A&M.
Higgins added to his single-season career high in receiving touchdowns with his fourth touchdown catch of the year, scoring on a 46-yard pass from Lawrence in the first quarter. It was the sixth receiving touchdown of his career.
Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow extended his streak of consecutive games played with a reception to 35.
Renfrow finished the contest with a season-high five receptions for 41 yards.
Wide receiver Trevion Thompson gained 45 yards on a career-high four receptions.
Running back Lyn-J Dixon added his third rushing touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter and has now scored touchdowns in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Clemson rushed for four touchdowns and has now scored at least four rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games for the first time since the Louisville and Boston College games in September 2016.
Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence recorded his first fumble recovery of the season — the third of his career — in the second quarter.
WIth Lawrence’s fumble recovery, Clemson forced a takeaway in its 15th consecutive contest, the program’s longest streak since a 15-game stretch across the 2012-13 seasons.
Clemson won the turnover margin, 3-1, and is now 42-3 when winning the turnover margin since 2011.
With 11 points on the afternoon, kicker Greg Huegel (327) is just two points shy of Aaron Hunt (329 from 2000-03) for second on the program’s all-time career scoring list.
Safety Tanner Muse recorded the first sack of his career in the first quarter, helping force a three-and-out on NC State’s opening drive. NC State entered the game having only allowed 2.0 total sacks in its first five games of the season.
Safety K’Von Wallace recorded his first interception of the season — the third of his career — in the second quarter. All three of his career interceptions have come against NC State, including one of each of Clemson’s three meetings with NC State from 2016-18.
Linebacker Jalen Williams notched the second interception of his career, his first of the season, in the third quarter. It was his first since Sept. 10, 2016, vs. Troy.
The multi-interception game was the first by the Clemson defense since the 2017 ACC Championship Game.
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons recorded a career-high 11 tackles to lead all tacklers in the contest.
Wide receiver Derion Kendrick recorded a career-long 40-yard return on the game’s opening kickoff.
With his second field goal of the game, the 50th of his career, kicker Greg Huegel joined Nelson Welch, Chandler Catanzaro, Obed Ariri, Chris Gardocki, Aaron Hunt and Jad Dean as the only players to connect on at least 50 career field goals with Clemson.
The game marked Clemson’s first time facing a ranked opponent since last year’s Sugar Bowl against No. 4 Alabama.
Clemson and NC State met one another while both ranked in the AP Top 25 for only the sixth time in series’ 87-game history (1986, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 2017).
Clemson has now won 61 straight games when holding opponents under 23 points, dating back to 2010.
The game marked the fourth time Clemson faced an undefeated opponent at home this season, as each of the Clemson’s first four home opponents entered the contest without a loss (Furman 0-0, Georgia Southern 2-0, Syracuse 4-0, NC State 5-0).
Memorial Stadium hosted a battle of undefeateds four or more games into a season for the second time this season and the fifth time in the venue’s history.
Clemson shut out an opponent in the first half for the second straight game and the fourth time this season. Dating back to last year, Clemson has shut out its opponents in the first half of eight of its last 12 games (24-0 vs. NC State, 28-0 vs. Wake Forest, 21-0 vs. Georgia Southern and 27-0 vs. Furman in 2018; 21-0 vs. Miami, 20-0 vs. South Carolina, 38-0 vs. The Citadel and 17-0 vs. Florida State in 2017).
Clemson once again held an opponent without a first-half touchdown at Memorial Stadium. The Tigers have not allowed a touchdown in the first half in Death Valley in 11 of their last 12 home contests, surrendering only one first-half touchdown in that span.
Tackle Mitch Hyatt made his 49th career start to tie Landon Walker’s school record for career starts by an offensive tackle (49). Walker also shared the mark for most starts by an offensive lineman with center Dalton Freeman.
Hyatt tied Walker and Freeman (49 each) for second-most career starts at any position in Clemson history.
Clemson’s captains for the contest were tackle Tremayne Anchrum, linebacker J.D. Davis, center Justin Falcinelli and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
WITH THE WIN
Clemson has now opened a season 7-0 for the seventh time in program history and the third time in the last four years (1948, 1981, 2000, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018). Clemson earned conference titles in five of the previous six seasons in which it opened 7-0.
Clemson has now won the first seven games of a season for the fourth time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney (2011, 2015, 2016). All other coaches in Clemson history have combined for three 7-0 starts, including one each by Frank Howard, Danny Ford and Tommy Bowden.
Clemson has now won 50 of their last 54 games, including 29 of their last 31 against ACC opponents.
Clemson won its 15th of its last 17 matchups against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25 since 2015.
Clemson improved to 24-18 against AP Top 25 teams under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, including a 15-2 mark since 2015.
Clemson moved to 9-5 against AP Top 25 opponents at Death Valley under Swinney.
Clemson evened its all-time record against NC State when both teams are ranked at 3-3.
Clemson improved to 72-20-3 all-time in Homecoming games by winning its eighth consecutive Homecoming contest.
Clemson is now 58-28-1 all-time against NC State. Clemson’s 58 wins against NC State are the program’s third-most against any opponent, trailing only the team’s win totals against South Carolina (69) and Wake Forest (66).
The 34-point margin of victory was Clemson’s 2nd-largest in the 87-game all-time series between Clemson and NC State. Clemson’s largest margin of victory in the series came in a 41-0 shutout in 2014.
The 34-point margin of victory against No. 16 (AP) NC State was also Clemson’s 2nd-largest (tied) against an opponent ranked in the AP Top 16.
Clemson earned its seventh straight victory against NC State and its 14th in the last 15 years. The seven-game winning streak marks the longest in the all-time series between the two schools, matching Clemson’s seven-year winning streak from 2004-10.
Clemson pushed its all-time home record against NC State to 29-11-1. The Tigers have won eight straight games against the Wolfpack at Memorial Stadium, dating back to 2004.
Clemson won the 25th of its last 26 games against ACC Atlantic Division opponents.
Clemson won its 12th consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. The current streak is Clemson’s third-longest home winning streak in Dabo Swinney’s tenure as head coach (21 from 2013-16, 13 from 2011-12).
Clemson improved to 36-4 in ACC contests at Memorial Stadium under Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
Clemson pushed its winning streak in Saturday games to 23 to extend the longest Saturday winning streak in school history. The current streak is the longest of any school in the country.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney moved to 9-1 all-time against NC State.
Swinney improved to 24-2 all-time against ACC teams from North Carolina.
Clemson led, 24-0, at halftime. Clemson has won 58 of its last 60 games when leading after two quarters.
Clemson led 31-0 after three quarters and is now 79-2 since 2011 when leading entering the fourth quarter.
CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY
On the game:
“That’s two games in a row that we’ve put together a complete effort. That’s what we’re capable of doing. Our guys were on edge all week because we’ve had a lot of close games with NC State. I was actually worried about them peaking too early, but they were ready to play. I’m really proud of them.”
On the complete performance by the Tigers:
“Our guys were locked in and committed to preparation all week long. That was a dominant performance today. NC State’s a good football team. We complemented each other in all phases of the game and put together a total team effort. We committed no turnovers on offense and forced three turnovers on defense. We had great energy from start to finish. We also played 85 guys and picked up the second-largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent for us.”
On the impact of the fans on Homecoming:
“I really appreciate our fans. They gave us an awesome environment at Death Valley today. The noise level seemed to create problems for NC State. It was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun out there today.”
On the solid offensive showing:
“Offensively, we threw the ball for 380 yards, and we were 8-15 on third down. Honestly, a lot of our passes were initially run calls. We just took advantage of what was there. Trevor Lawrence was on the money all day. The receivers did a great job, too.”
On the significance of the win moving forward:
“We control our own destiny in our division. This was a huge win for us. We’re going to enjoy it tonight and show up ready to prepare for Florida State on Monday.”
CLEMSON CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TONY ELLIOTT
On Trevor Lawrence’s performance:
“I think all of us know how talented [Trevor Lawrence] is from the arm perspective with what throws he can make. It was really good to see him do it on that stage. We’re talking about a top-25 matchup. It’s the first time for him really in a big game like that. For him to come out and not just make the big throws but manage the system and get to the throws. Not all of those were called designs telling him where to go. A lot of them were run/pass options. He just understood what we were trying to accomplish. They had numbers in the box, and he made those throws.”
On the offense’s versatility:
“Jeff [Scott] and myself, over the past four years, have tried to build an offense that can take advantage of what’s available. I think we’ve done that in the past. What’s comforting to see for these guys is that now they can understand the identity of what we’ve been in the past…an offense that’s going to take advantage of what’s available. If we need to run it, we can run it. If we need to throw it, we can throw it. If somebody’s dead set on taking something away, we have to take what’s available. It was good for those guys to get a glimpse of what they’re capable of.”
CLEMSON CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JEFF SCOTT
On the game:
“I’m really pleased with the way our guys came out after an open week. Something we’ve been talking about all year long with the offense is getting off to a fast start. I don’t believe we’ve scored on the first drive [this season] until today. We knew that was going to be critical versus a good team like NC State. We really wanted to set the tempo and help our defense out by getting a touchdown, so [I’m] really pleased by that.”
On NC State “daring” the offense to throw the ball:
“Yeah, they [NC State] were, and we knew going into the game that’s what they do defensively. We knew that we were going to get challenged, we also had a lot of confidence going into the game that our quarterback and receivers were going to make those [plays].
CLEMSON DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES
On the play of the defense:
“Our guys played really well. [I’m] super happy for them. We’re getting into a good rhythm here in the last three games or so. I’m just really proud of the effort our guys put out there today. We played a lot of guys. We played with great physical toughness, and we played with precision in defending the passing game. Our guys came out and really made a statement from the jump with a good three-and-out. All three levels were really good today.
On the play of Jalen Williams:
“He can cover. [He] gives us a guy that understands how to play in the box. He’s done a lot of things since his freshman year for us. That was a huge interception. [He] did a great job of getting his head back and ripping the ball out. What a great play from a timing standpoint. Jalen played really well today and was a real fixture in what we were trying to do gameplan-wise.
CLEMSON QB TREVOR LAWRENCE
On offense’s strength with run-focus Wake game & pass-focus today:
“It shows we’re just getting better every week. That’s what we’re trying to do. We had a really good two weeks of preparation, and I really feel like we’re getting better every week.”
On comfort in games:
“I felt really comfortable. It was really good. The offensive line played really well, the backs blocked well, and obviously, the receivers caught the ball well. All the way around, we played a good game.”
On opponents keying in on certain strengths:
“We do a lot of different stuff, but we’re going to have some tendencies. We do some things well, so we’re going to have some tendencies. Teams try to take that away… like today, they tried to take the run away, but we have a lot of different things that we can do to counter that.”
On coaches’ message for game:
“We just didn’t want to leave any doubt…of [whether] the game should have gone a certain way. At the end of the day, I think we did that. We didn’t leave any doubt. It’s clear that we won the game by a good bit. That was the coaches’ message to us.”
CLEMSON RB TRAVIS ETIENNE
On momentum of the opening drive:
“It was important. The last couple of weeks we’ve kind of had a slow start, so we really wanted to change that and get it started early. We wanted to keep the momentum going throughout the game.”
On moving to 7-0:
“We really just try to get ready for the next game. We come in every Monday and focus on the next opponent. We treat the next game as the most important every time.”
On current state of the offense:
We feel confident. We can run the ball when we need to and we can pass the ball when we need to. It is going to help us further along in the season. If you take away one of them, we still have a pretty solid offense.”
CLEMSON LINEBACKER JALEN WILLIAMS
On third quarter interception:
“It was second or third down, and we knew they were going deep. I just did my job. The quarterback threw it, the ball came, and I knew I had to attack it. I go against [Hunter] Renfrow every day and, as you guys have seen, Renfrow can catch the ball 180 degrees, so you have to attack the ball. It was a competitive play, and I just went for it.”
On facing a strong passing team:
“Coach Swinney really challenged the back seven to defend the passing game this week. During the Texas A&M game, we gave up a lot of passes, so it was going to be a challenge for us. We had two weeks to prepare, and Coach Venables called a great defense. You can’t give him two weeks to break it down and prepare, because he will execute.”
On the NC State rivalry:
“Top-25 wins never get old, especially in conference play. They’ve been talking all week, and we knew that, for the past three years, this has been a tough game. We knew as a team that we were better, so we wanted to come out and prove who we are as a team.”
CLEMSON SAFETY ISAIAH SIMMONS
On limiting third down conversions:
“Coming in, they were one of the top teams in the nation in third down, and that is a huge indication of success. We wanted to make it an emphasis to slow them down and make it hard for them to convert on third down.”
On seriousness of this game:
“As a team, we really took this game personally because of all the talk that has been going on this week. Every single person wanted to make sure that there were not questions after this game.”
NC STATE HEAD COACH DAVE DOEREN
On the game:
“You have to give Clemson a lot of credit because they played really well. Obviously, I don’t think we did and I own that. We turned the ball over and weren’t good on third down. We didn’t tackle well enough and [Clemson] played a really good football game. I give Dabo, his staff and his players credit. We just didn’t do the things we needed to do today.
On outcome versus past games against Clemson:
“We are disappointed, for sure. I thought we were going to play a heck of a game and we didn’t. Like I said, it just didn’t go our way. It was 14-0, and we had the ball at the 50, and we turned it over in two straight series. It just got away from us, and we couldn’t get in a rhythm. For us, rhythm is important on offense, and we didn’t have any. Defensively, we were in a lot of tough positions today.”
On weakness in the pass rush:
“They protected well. We’ll have to look at some of the protection stuff but they protected well. We didn’t win enough one-on-one blocks in the pass rush and their offensive line did better than we did.”