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Clemson Football

Instant Analysis: No. 3 Clemson 62, No. 23 Virginia 17

December 7, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The script was the same as 12 of Clemson's 13 wins this season as the No. 3 Tigers dominated No. 23 Virginia, 62-17, hauling in their 5th consecutive ACC Championship.

By virtue of the 62-17 margin, Clemson extended their winning streak by 30 or more points to eight, which is the longest such streaks in the AP Poll era (since 1936).

The win marked Clemson’s 28th straight victory dating back to the 2018 season opener against Furman. The Tigers (13-0, 8-0) await the results from tomorrow’s College Football Playoff Rankings to find out who they will play later this month.

The game was over when…

Early in the second quarter, Trevor Lawrence found Tee Higgins on the sidelines for and the 6’5 wideout stretched out extending his body nearly horizontal, while keeping a toe on the ground for what appeared to be a 24-yard reception. The play went to review, but it was soon confirmed that Higgins kept is toe down. There was also a question of if Lawrence had passed the line of scrimmage, but after review both calls were confirmed, giving Clemson the ball at the 26-yard line.

On the ensuing play, Travis Etienne burst through the line of scrimmage, bounced off a UVA defender then shed another Cavalier on the way to paydirt, giving Clemson a 24-7 lead with 9:10 left in the first half.

From that point forward the game was never in doubt as Clemson set a new scoring record in the ACC Championship Game.

They stole the show...  

Clemson’s dynamic duo at wideout took over the game in the first half helping lift the Tigers to a 31-7 lead at the break. It was clear early on that Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross were in for a big evening against UVA’s secondary.

On Higgins' first touchdown of the game, Virginia was in soft coverage and after making a man miss, the speedy wideout raced 19 yards to the endzone. 

After the Wahoos answered with a scoring drive, Trevor Lawrence found Ross over the top for a 59-yard touchdown giving the Tigers a 14-7 advantage.

On Clemson’s next possession, Higgins made the incredible stretching grab we mentioned earlier, and it was a highlight sang for sure, but he wasn’t done. Later in the quarter, Higgins hauled in his second touchdown of the night. 

In the third quarter, Lawrence hit the Oak Ridge, Tennessee native for another huge 54-yard grab before capping the drive with his third score giving Clemson a 38-14 lead with 6:12 left in the contest.

Higgins finished with 9 receptions, for 182 yards and three touchdowns. Higgins yardage and touchdown numbers set new marks at the ACC Championship. As for Ross, he chipped in with 3 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Matchup of the game…

Coming into the game, UVA’s quarterback Bryce Perkins was the focus of Clemson’s defense. The senior quarterback opened the game driving the Cavaliers right down the field before being intercepted in the back of the endzone. 

After a Clemson score, UVA’s offense once again pounded Clemson as Perkins looked the part leading a game-tying 78-yard drive. Virginia put up 167 total yards the first fifteen minutes, but once the second quarter started it was another story as Brent Venables’ defense stifled the Cavs, limiting UVA to just 26-yards in the second period.

Tigers also won the turnover battle, 3-0, giving them a +14 turnover-ratio on the season, the best under Dabo Swinney.

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Instant Analysis: No. 3 Clemson 62, No. 23 Virginia 17

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