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Clemson Football

The Notes: No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28

January 2, 2021

Clemson finished its 2020 campaign at 10-2, its 10th consecutive 10-win season, the third-longest streak in FBS history. It was only Clemson’s second season in the last six years in which it lost multiple games (12-2 in 2017).

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 33-of-48 passes for 400 yards with two touchdown passes. It was the third 400-yard passing performance in a bowl game in Clemson history, joining Deshaun Watson’s efforts against Alabama to conclude the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Lawrence concluded his junior season 34-2 (.944) for his career as a starter, the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949), according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Lawrence’s 33 completions were a career high, surpassing his previous career high of 29 set twice.

Lawrence opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening possession. It was his eighth rushing touchdown of the season and the 18th of his career. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are fifth-most by a Clemson quarterback in the modern era.

Lawrence (3,153) posted the ninth 3,000-yard passing season in Clemson history. He joined Tajh Boyd as the only players in Clemson history to accomplish the feat three times.

With 400 passing yards on Friday, Lawrence (10,098) became the third Clemson player ever to throw for 10,000 career passing yards. Tajh Boyd (11,904) and Deshaun Watson (10,163) presently rank No. 1 and No. 2 in career passing yards in school history.

Lawrence posted his third career 400-yard passing game to tie Tajh Boyd for the second-most in school history.

Lawrence posted his 13th career 300-yard passing game to tie Deshaun Watson for second-most in school history. 

With performances against Notre Dame and Ohio State, Lawrence recorded 300 passing yards in consecutive games for the first time since College Football Playoff games against Notre Dame and Alabama to conclude the 2018 season.

Running back Travis Etienne gained 137 all-purpose yards, including 64 receiving yards, 41 kickoff return yards and 32 rushing yards. 

On a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Etienne (468) broke Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins' ACC record for career points (466 from 2009-12).

Etienne (468) tied Travis Prentice (468 from 1996-99) for the seventh-most career points in FBS history.

Etienne joined Keenan Reynolds (88), Montee Ball (77), Travis Prentice (73), Ricky Williams (72) and Kenneth Dixon (72) as the only FBS players ever to rush for 70 career touchdowns according to official NCAA records.

Etienne concluded his senior season having scored a touchdown of any kind in 46 of his 55 career games, adding to his FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown. 

With two receptions on Clemson’s first drive, Etienne (48) broke the Clemson single-season running back receptions record held by Travis Zachery (45 in 2001).

Etienne made his 42nd career start to pull within one of the school record by a running back, held by James Davis (43 from 2005-08).

Wide receiver Cornell Powell led all players with 139 receiving yards, finishing the contest with two receiving touchdowns among his eight receptions. 

Powell’s eight receptions were the second-most in a game in his career, trailing only his 11-catch performance against Boston College earlier this season.

The 100-yard receiving game was Powell’s team-high fourth of the season.

Powell scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence in the third quarter.

Powell added a second touchdown on a 26-yard pass from Lawrence in the fourth quarter, extending his single-season career high with his seventh touchdown catch of the year.

Powell’s two touchdown receptions tied a Clemson bowl record set many times, including most recently by Etienne in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.

Wide receiver Amari Rodgers caught eight passes for 54 yards. 

Rodgers (1,020) recorded the 12th 1,000-yard receiving season in Clemson history.

Rodgers finishes the season with 77 receptions, passing DeAndre Hopkins (72 in 2011) and Artavis Scott (76 in both 2014 and 2016) for the eighth-most in a season in Clemson history.

Rodgers (181) passed Mike Williams (177) for sixth on Clemson's all-time leaderboard for career receptions.

Clemson finished with 444 yards to reach 400 yards of offense in each of the first 12 games of a season for the second time in school history (2018).

Clemson recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in a 28th consecutive game. The last time Clemson was held to a single rushing touchdown was in a 27-point win in the 2018 Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame.

Linebacker Baylon Spector recorded his career-high second forced fumble of the season on Ohio State’s opening drive.

Spector added a sack in the second quarter, pushing his single-season career high total to 4.5. Including two sacks in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, 3.0 of Spector’s 6.5 career sacks have come against Ohio State.

Defensive lineman Bryan Bresee recorded a sack in the third quarter. He tied teammates Myles Murphy (4.0 this year), linebacker Trenton Simpson (4.0 this year) and William Perry (4.0 in 1981), Ricky Sapp (4.0 in 2006) and Shaq Lawson (4.0 in 2013) for third-most sacks by a Clemson true freshman all-time. 

Clemson has recorded multiple sacks in 34 of its last 35 games, including each of its last 18. Clemson tied an 18-game streak from 1991-92 as Clemson's longest streak of games with multiple sacks on record back to 1980.

Linebacker Mike Jones Jr. recorded his second interception of the season and of his career on Ohio State’s first possession of the second half.

Punter Will Spiers played his 56th career game to tie for ninth-most in school history. It was his 56th career start, one shy of Mitch Hyatt's school record (57 from 2015-18). 

Spiers averaged 47.4 yards on five punts. He finishes the season with a 43.98-yard average, the second-best single-season mark in school history.

Clemson and Ohio State met in postseason play for the fifth time, moving the Buckeyes past Alabama and LSU (four each) as Clemson's most common bowl opponent.

Clemson and Ohio State met in consecutive years for the first time. Ohio State became the fourth program against which Clemson has played a bowl game in consecutive years, including facing Miami (Fla.) in back-to-back bowl games in 1950-51, Oklahoma in 2014-15 and facing Alabama in four straight bowl games across 2015-18.

Clemson played a fourth AP Top 10 opponent in a single season for the third time in school history (four each in 2013 and 2015). Clemson also played a fourth matchup of two AP Top 10 teams in a single season for the first time in school history; Clemson played three Top-10 matchups each in 2013, 2015 and 2016. 

Clemson’s 2020 seniors finished their career with a 51-5 record over the last four years. The 51 wins by the class tie the 2016 and 2019 Alabama seniors for fifth-most in FBS history.

Head Coach Dabo Swinney became the 26th coach ever to coach multiple Sugar Bowls. He was already one of 10 people ever to both play and coach in a Sugar Bowl, a list that also includes Gaynell Tinsley, Frank Broyles, Darrell Royal, George Welsh, Johnny Majors, Bill Battle, Jimmy Johnson, Jackie Sherrill and Steve Spurrier.

The six games played by Ohio State this season prior to the game represent the fewest played by a Clemson bowl opponent all-time. The fewest played by a Clemson bowl opponent previously was 10 by its first seven bowl opponents to end the 1939, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958 and 1959 seasons.

Clemson is now 4-1 against Ohio State all-time.

Clemson dropped to 6-4 in College Football Playoff play. Clemson’s six College Football Playoff wins are the second-most since in the inception of the postseason format in 2014.

The defeat moves Clemson to 25-22 all-time in bowl contests, one win shy of tying Nebraska for 10th-most bowl wins in FBS history.

Clemson dropped to 58-2 when scoring first since 2015. Both defeats have come in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in postseason play.

Captains for the contest were quarterback Trevor Lawrence, defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney, wide receiver Amari Rodgers, linebacker James Skalski, center Cade Stewart, and safety Nolan Turner.

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The Notes: No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28

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