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Derion Kendrick
LaVonta Bentley
Lyn-J Dixon
Clemson Football

The Notes: No. 3 Clemson 45, Virginia Tech 10

December 7, 2020
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The 35-point win ties Clemson’s largest victory margin against Virginia Tech in series history, matching a 35-point margin by Frank Howard’s 1945 team in a 35-0 win. Clemson’s 45 points Saturday were the most points scored in its all-time series with Virginia Tech, surpassing its 42 in the 2016 ACC Championship Game.

Clemson recorded three takeaways and has now recorded at least three takeaways in back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game stretch against Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech and Syracuse.

Clemson is now 45-1 under Dabo Swinney when finishing plus-two or better in the turnover margin, including a 29-1 mark when finishing exactly plus-two in that category.

After a plus-four margin in turnovers last week, Clemson has now won the turnover margin by multiple turnovers in back-to-back games for the second time this season (plus-two against both Virginia and Miami (Fla.)).

Clemson held Virginia Tech to 131 rushing yards, the Hokies’ lowest output of the season. Virginia Tech entered the game averaging 250.9 rushing yards per game this season, the most in the ACC and the ninth-most in the country.

Conversely, Clemson rushed for 238 yards, its second most of the season behind its 258 rushing yards vs. Miami (Fla.). Clemson improved to 67-1 when rushing for at least 200 yards under Dabo Swinney.

Despite being limited to a season-low 52 plays, Clemson averaged a season-high 8.3 yards per play to finish the game with 433 total yards.

Clemson’s 8.3 yards per play represent its highest average since last year’s ACC Championship Game against Virginia (9.2).

Clemson joined 2013 Florida State as the only ACC teams ever to score 34 or more points in each of the first 10 games of a season.

Clemson recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in a 26th consecutive game. The last time Clemson was held to a single rushing touchdown was in the 2018 Cotton Bowl.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 12-of-22 passes for 195 yards with one passing touchdown and added seven carries for 41 yards and two rushing touchdowns. 

Lawrence improved to 33-1 as a starter, breaking the school record for wins as a starting quarterback shared previously by Rodney Williams, Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson (32 wins each).

On a 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Lawrence (101) joined Tajh Boyd (133), Lamar Jackson (119), Deshaun Watson (116) and Philip Rivers (112) as the only players in ACC history to be responsible for 100 career touchdowns (scored and/or thrown).

Lawrence added his second touchdown run on a seven-yard rush in the third quarter. His two rushing touchdowns tied a career high set in this year’s season opener against Wake Forest.

The second rushing touchdown of the game for Lawrence was his 16th of his career, moving him into a tie with Kelly Bryant for fifth-most by a Clemson quarterback in the modern era.

Wide receiver Cornell Powell scored on a 65-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

The touchdown pass to Powell was Lawrence’s 12th completion of the night. On that completion, Lawrence (700) joined Tajh Boyd (901), Charlie Whitehurst (817) and Deshaun Watson (814) as the only Clemson players to reach 700 career completions.

The pass was Lawrence’s 18th touchdown pass of 50 yards or more, surpassing Tajh Boyd (17) for the most by a Clemson quarterback since 1950.

Powell has now caught a touchdown in three straight games for the first time in his career. He is the second Clemson player to accomplish the feat this year, joining tight end Davis Allen, who scored against Virginia, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia Tech in three straight weeks.

Running back Darien Rencher, who won the Disney Spirit Award earlier this week, scored on a career-long 50-yard run in the fourth quarter.

WIth the touchdown reception by Powell and the touchdown run by Rencher, Clemson produced multiple touchdowns of 50 yards or more in a single game for the first time since last year’s Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.

Tight end Braden Galloway recorded a career-long 49-yard reception in the first quarter. His previous long was a 42-yard reception against LSU in last year’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Running back Lyn-J Dixon scored his second touchdown of the season on a 19-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Dixon has now scored a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since the first two games of the 2019 season against Georgia Tech and Texas A&M.

Defensive end Myles Murphy forced his third fumble of the season in the third quarter. It was recovered by cornerback Mario Goodrich, his first career fumble recovery.

Cornerback Derion Kendrick scored on a 66-yard fumble return in the third quarter. It was his second career touchdown, joining an interception return touchdown against Florida State in 2019.

With Kendrick’s fumble return touchdown, Clemson recorded a third scoop-and-score in a season for the first time in school records back to 1951. 

Clemson has now recorded at least three defensive touchdowns in four straight seasons, its longest streak in records back to 1951.

Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney recorded his first fumble recovery of the season — the third of his career — in the fourth quarter to end a Virginia Tech red zone drive. It was his first fumble recovery since Oct. 19, 2019 at Louisville.

Linebacker LaVonta Bentley and defensive end Xavier Thomas split a third quarter sack to force a Virginia Tech punt. The half-sack pushed Thomas’ season total to a team-high-tying 3.5 sacks. 

Bentley later added a full sack on a fourth down in the fourth quarter to also join Thomas, Baylon Spector and Myles Murphy for the team lead with 3.5 sacks this season. Clemson entered the game second in the country in team sacks despite no single player having 4.0 sacks on the season.

With the sacks, Clemson recorded multiple sacks in a 16th straight game, tying a 16-game streak from 2018-19 for the Tigers' third-longest streak since 1980. Clemson now has multiple sacks in 32 of its last 33 games.

Clemson played its seventh December regular season game in school history. The win improved Clemson to 4-3 in those contests, giving the Tigers four December regular season wins in a row, dating to 1948.

Temperature at kickoff was 37 degrees, Clemson’s coldest game of the season and its coldest since 2018 at Boston College (34 degrees). It was the fifth-coldest recorded kickoff temperature in Clemson history. Clemson is now 9-0 under Dabo Swinney when the kickoff temperature is 45 degrees or colder.

Clemson played its latest regular season finale since joining the ACC in 1953, including only its second regular season contest in December in that span. Clemson closed the 2001 regular season with a 59-31 win against Duke on Dec. 1, 2001. This game against Virginia Tech is the program’s second-latest regular season finale all-time, behind a Dec. 8, 1928 finale against The Citadel.

Captains for the contest were running back Travis Etienne, linebacker Baylon Spector, center Cade Stewart and defensive tackle Jordan Williams.

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The Notes: No. 3 Clemson 45, Virginia Tech 10

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