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Clemson Football

Birthday Blowout: No. 1 Clemson lights up the scoreboard in 49-0 win over The Citadel

September 19, 2020

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Saturday afternoon was Death Valley’s 78th birthday and the No. 1 Clemson Tigers treated the visiting Citadel Bulldogs like candles on a cake-- with a 49-0 blowout.

Clemson's home opener went about as good as expected through the first thirty minutes, racking up a 49-0 lead at the break, before taking their foot off the gas in the second half-- or they might have put 78 points on the board in honor of the day.

The Tigers’ Heisman hopefuls, Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne didn’t have epic numbers on a day they could have padded their stats. Instead, Dabo Swinney chose to let his younger players gain valuable experience throughout the contest.

Lawrence finished with an efficient 8-9 performance, throwing for 168 yards and three touchdowns. The 6’6 star also rushed for a touchdown in the opening frame before spending the majority of the day watching from the sideline.

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Wideout Frank Ladson Jr. celebrates one of his two touchdown receptions during Clemson’s 49-0 win over The Citadel.

As for Etienne, he rushed for just 68 yards on eight attempts, but showcased his punt return skills with a 44-yard return leading to an early second-quarter score from backup quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei.

Things got going early for the Tigers after Lawrence found Frank Ladson, on a 17-yard touchdown pass during the opening drive of the game. Clemson navigated 75 yards on seven plays in just 2:24 setting the stage for an early eruption. 

On their next possession, it took just one play as Lawrence found Amari Rodgers for a 44-yard touchdown strike, extending the Tigers lead to 14-0.

After quickly getting the ball back and driving 45 yards, Lawrence had picked up his third rushing touchdown of the season on a 2-yard run. On the very next play, The Citadels’ Cooper Wallace fumbled the ball and James Skalski scooped it for a 17-yard scoring return, leaving the Bulldogs in a 28-0 hole with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter.

On the Tigers' next possession, the first of the second quarter, backup quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei entered the game for red-zone possession that followed a 44-yard Travis Etienne punt return giving Clemson the ball at the six-yard line.

After that possession, the Tigers went back to Lawrence, who quickly moved the offense down the field 72 yards on just three plays, hitting Ladson for a 54-yard score, the young wideouts’ second of the day.

Late in the second quarter, Uiagalelei led another scoring drive, navigating the Tigers 61 yards on eight plays, capped by his second rushing touchdown of the day, leading to a 49-0 advantage at the break.

The officials offered the opportunity for the game to have a running clock in the second half, to which Dabo Swinney accepted, but The Citadel's head coach Brent Thompson declined. So the two teams played a full second half of action. 

Some questioned the move, but after the Southern Conference canceled their season earlier this year the Bulldogs are only guaranteed to play four games. It's hard to blame a coach for wanting his players to squeeze every second out of the 2020 season. 

The second half moved rather quickly as the Tigers worked their way deep into the depth chart at every position, running the clock as much as possible and bringing an end to the party without putting any points on the board in the third or fourth quarter of action.

Clemson heads into a bye week before facing Virginia on Oct. 3 in Death Valley.

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Birthday Blowout: No. 1 Clemson lights up the scoreboard in 49-0 win over The Citadel

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