Clemson defensive tackle Tyler Davis(13) pressures Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book(12) during the first quarter of the ACC Championship game Dec 19, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The third-ranked Tigers avenged their Nov. 7 loss to Notre Dame by a score of 34-10 on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium to win their sixth straight outright ACC title. The victory was highlighted by stellar performances from standouts Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne.
Lawrence, who did not play against Notre Dame in November, was 25-36 passing for 322 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a 34-yard touchdown run. Etienne ran for 124 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, marking the fourth ACC championship in which he has scored. The offense combined for 541 total yards.
The Tigers’ defense held the Fighting Irish to just 263 yards and sacked quarterback Ian Book six times. James Skalski, who became the first player to ever appear in five ACC championships, recorded a sack and five total tackles.
Notre Dame opened the scoring with a 51-yard field goal on the first drive of the game, but failed to cash in on a 24-yard attempt. The Tigers quickly capitalized on the missed field goal with a 67-yard touchdown bomb from Lawrence to Amari Rodgers to take a 7-3 lead entering the second quarter.
After stopping the Irish on fourth down, Clemson went on a 6-play, 72-yard scoring drive culminating in a 33-yard E.J. Williams touchdown reception. B.T. Potter’s 27-yard field goal extended the Tigers’ lead to 17-3.
On fourth down and one with 29 seconds remaining in the half, Etienne took a handoff 44 yards to the end zone, capping off a run of 24 unanswered first-half Clemson points, sending the Tigers into halftime with a 24-3 advantage.
Lawrence opened the second half scoring with a 34-yard touchdown scamper that closed out an 83-yard scoring drive. Potter added another field goal and the Fighting Irish scored their first points of the second half on a 21-yard rushing touchdown to bring the score to 34-10 with 8:09 remaining in the contest.
On the ensuing drive, Lawrence and the rest of the Clemson offense exited the game to a standing ovation and the Tigers closed out the victory to clinch their sixth consecutive ACC Championship and ACC-leading 20th total conference title.
Clemson now awaits its bowl destination and seeks its sixth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff. The College Football Playoff Selection Show will begin at noon on Sunday on ESPN.