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Sep 12, 2020

FINAL: Clemson 37, Wake Forest 13

Lawrence & Etienne Shine as Clemson Defeats Wake Forest, 37-13 to Open Season

Box Score

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A stellar outing by quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a Clemson-record 18th career 100-yard rushing performance by running back Travis Etienne led the No. 1 Clemson Tigers (1-0, 1-0 ACC) to a 37-13 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (0-1, 0-1 ACC) at Truist Field on Saturday. The win marked Clemson’s sixth consecutive 1-0 start to a season and improved Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s week one record to 11-1. 

Lawrence finished the game 22-of-28 for 351 yards and a touchdown to go along with two touchdown runs. Wide receiver Amari Rodgers led the way with 90 yards on five receptions. Etienne totaled 102 yards rushing on 17 attempts, including a two-yard touchdown run to go along with his three receptions for 47 yards. With his 18th career 100-yard rushing game, Etienne passed Wayne Gallman (17 from 2014-16) for Clemson’s career 100-yard rushing mark. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Winston-Salem native K.J. Henry recorded the first of Clemson’s six sacks on the night. Bryan Bresee recorded a half sack, becoming the first true freshman Tiger to record at least a half sack in a season opener since Dexter Lawrence and Tre Lamar in 2016, a feat also accomplished by fellow true freshman Myles Murphy later in the contest. The defense surrendered its first touchdown with just 2:34 left to play.

Lawrence scored the first touchdown of Clemson’s season for the second straight year on a two-yard rush early in the first quarter, capping a nine-play, 92-yard drive. Rodgers hauled in three passes for 55 yards on the drive. Lawrence would rush for another touchdown, this time for one yard, to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead. This was the junior’s first career game with multiple rushing touchdowns.

Lawrence’s first passing touchdown of the season was a 12-yard strike to tight end J.C. Chalk, the first touchdown reception of Chalk’s career. A 52-yard B.T. Potter field goal as the first half expired sent Clemson into halftime with a 27-0 lead. Potter was a perfect 4/4 on extra points and 3/3 on field goals.

The second half saw freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei make his Clemson debut en route to a 2-3 performance for 16 yards. Tight end Braden Galloway also raked in a career-high five receptions for a career-high-tying 60 yards.

Clemson returns to Death Valley for its home opener next Saturday when it hosts The Citadel at 4 p.m. on ACC Network.



  • Clemson improved to 94-23-8 all-time in season openers, regardless of site. Clemson has now won 29 of its last 36 openers, including an 11-1 mark in openers under Dabo Swinney and victories in each of the last six season debuts.
  • Clemson earned its 13th consecutive victory in true road games, breaking the school-record 12-game streak set across the 2015-17 seasons.
  • Clemson improved to 68-17-1 all-time against Wake Forest. Clemson’s 68 all-time wins against Wake Forest are its second-most against any opponent in school history, trailing the Tigers’ 71 wins against South Carolina. 
  • Clemson won its 12th consecutive game against Wake Forest, dating back to 2009. It marks Clemson’s second 12-game winning streak in series history, trailing a 15-game streak from 1977-91. Clemson’s 12-game winning streak against Wake Forest is the Tigers’ longest active winning streak against an ACC foe.
  • Clemson earned a sixth straight road victory against Wake Forest, dating back to 2010. Clemson’s last loss in Winston-Salem came in 2008, leading to Dabo Swinney being named Clemson’s Interim Head Coach four days later. 
  • Clemson defeated its 23rd consecutive ACC opponent, including postseason play, dating to October 2017 against Georgia Tech, adding to the longest such streak in school history.
  • Head Coach Dabo Swinney improved to 12-0 as a head coach against Wake Forest. Wake Forest is one of five ACC schools against whom Swinney is undefeated as head coach, a list that also includes Duke (3-0), Louisville (6-0), Virginia (4-0) and Virginia Tech (5-0). Swinney is also 2-0 vs. temporary ACC member Notre Dame.
  • Though 2020 is technically being played sans divisions, Clemson defeated a traditional ACC Atlantic Division opponent for the 15th straight time and for the 35th time in 36 opportunities.
  • Clemson has now won 73 of its last 78 games overall dating to 2014.
  • Clemson has now won 44 of its last 46 games against ACC teams.
  • Clemson improved to 51-1 when scoring first since 2015.
  • Clemson has now won 79 of its last 81 games when leading at halftime.
  • Clemson improved to 101-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
  • Clemson now has a 100-2 record when totaling more first downs than its opponent since 2011.
  • Clemson improved to 47-1 since 2015 when outscoring opponents in the “Middle Eight,” defined as the final four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
  • Clemson is now 50-2 when having a 100-yard rusher since 2011.
  • Clemson has now won 23 September games in a row.



  • Clemson surrendered its first touchdown of the game with 2:34 remaining in the contest. It ended a streak of Wake Forest entered the game having gone 181:54 of game play since the Demon Deacons’ last touchdown against Clemson, which came with 2:28 remaining in the Tigers’ 28-14 victory in 2017.
  • Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 22-of-28 passes for 351 yards and a touchdown. Lawrence also added two rushing touchdowns. 
  • The game was Lawrence’s first of his career with multiple rushing touchdowns. Lawrence is the first Clemson quarterback to produce multiple rushing touchdowns in a single game since Kelly Bryant at NC State in 2017. 
  • Lawrence scored the game’s first touchdown on a two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, his 11th career touchdown run. It marked the second straight year that Clemson’s opening score of the season came on a Lawrence touchdown run.
  • Lawrence has now rushed for a touchdown in three straight games, dating to last season, matching his career long streak set in the first three games of 2019.
  • Lawrence’s first touchdown run was the culmination of a nine-play, 92-yard drive. Clemson produced eight drives of 90 or more yards a season ago.
  • Lawrence’s passing touchdown was the 67th of his career, tying him with Thaddeus Lewis for 10th-most in ACC history. 
  • Lawrence produced his eighth career 300-yard passing game, joining Tajh Boyd (18), Deshaun Watson (13) and Charlie Whitehurst (eight) as the only players in school history to record at least eight career 300-yard passing games. The 351 yards passing were the third-highest total of his career (395 vs. Syracuse in 2019; 393 vs. South Carolina in 2018). 
  • Dating to last season, Lawrence has now thrown 267 consecutive passes without an interception. He passed Mitch Trubisky (243 from 2015-16) for the fourth-longest such streak in ACC history. He is three attempts short of tying Drew Weatherford (270 in 2007) for third on that list.
  • Lawrence set Clemson records for passing yards (351) and total offense (327) in a season opener. The passing mark broke Charlie Whiteburst’s 288 yards against Wake Forest in the 2004 season opener, and the total offense number passed Kelly Bryant’s 313 yards against Kent State to open the 2017 season.
  • Lawrence’s 351 passing yards were Clemson’s second-most by any player in a game against Wake Forest all-time, shy only of Tajh Boyd’s 428-yard performance against Wake Forest in 2012.
  • Running back Travis Etienne rushed 17 times for 102 yards and caught three passes for 47 yards. 
  • With his 18th career 100-yard rushing performance, Etienne broke Wayne Gallman’s Clemson record for career 100-yard rushing games (17 from 2014-16).
  • Etienne entered the game with two career 100-yard games against Wake Forest (167 in 2018, 121 in 2019). With the 100-yard rushing performance in 2020, he tied the school record held by Kenny Flowers (vs. Duke, 1983-85) and Wayne Gallman (vs. South Carolina, 2014-16) for career 100-yard rushing games against a single opponent. 
  • On a two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Etienne rushed for a touchdown in a 10th straight game, dating to last season, to move past Lester Brown (1978), Terry Allen (1988-89) and James Davis (2005-06) for sole possession of the longest such streak in school history.
  • Etienne has now scored a touchdown of any kind in 13 consecutive games, pulling within one game of the school record held by C.J. Spiller (14 straight games in 2009).
  • Etienne’s rushing touchdown was the 57th of his career, tying Florida’s Tim Tebow, Washington’s Myles Gaskin and San Diego State’s Marshall Faulk for the 15th-most by any FBS player according to official NCAA records that did not count postseason statistics until 2002.
  • With 149 all-purpose yards, Etienne (5,271) passed Sammy Watkins (5,129) for second on Clemson’s career all-purpose yardage leaderboard. He now trails only C.J. Spiller, who holds the Clemson and ACC records at 7,588. 
  • Etienne (5,271) entered the Top 10 in career all-purpose yards in ACC history.
  • Tight end Braden Galloway finished the game with a career-high-tying 60 yards on a career-high five receptions. His career highs entering the game in each category were three receptions (vs. Furman in 2018) and 60 yards (vs. LSU last season).
  • Tight end J.C. Chalk scored his first career touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Lawrence in the second quarter.
  • Tight end Davis Allen recorded a career-long 42-yard reception from Lawrence in the third quarter.
  • Defensive end K.J. Henry, a Winston-Salem native making his first career start, recorded Clemson’s first sack of the season on Wake Forest’s opening drive. It was the third sack of his career.
  • Also on Wake Forest’s opening drive, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee recorded a half-sack, splitting a sack with linebacker Baylon Spector. Bresee became the first true freshman to record at least half-a-sack in a season opener since Dexter Lawrence and Tre Lamar in 2016. 
  • Bresee also added a blocked field goal in the first quarter. It was Clemson’s first blocked placekick since Christian Wilkins’ blocked a PAT against Louisville in 2018 and the first field goal block since Dexter Lawrence’s blocked field goal at Texas A&M in 2018.
  • Fellow true freshman defensive lineman Myles Murphy earned his first career sack in the second quarter.
  • Placekicker B.T. Potter finished 3-of-3 on field goals and 4-of-4 on PATs.
  • Potter tied his career long with a 52-yard field goal to end the second quarter. Potter now has four career field goals of 50 yards or more, one shy of the career school record of five held by Chris Gardocki (1988-90) and Donald Igwebuike (1981-84).
  • With his third PAT, the 89th of his career on 89 attempts, Potter broke Clemson’s all-time record for consecutive extra points made (88 by Mark Buchholz from 2007-08).
  • Clemson scored touchdowns on consecutive drives of 92 and 80 yards in the first quarter. In 2019, Clemson had consecutive drives of 80 yards or longer resulting in touchdowns just twice (Q1 vs. NC State, Q1-2 vs. Wofford). 
  • Clemson outscored Wake Forest, 14-0, in the first quarter. Clemson has outscored opponents 191-34 in first quarters since the start of the 2019 season.
  • One year after playing the earliest season opener in school history (Aug. 29, 2019 vs. Georgia Tech), Clemson played its latest season opener since 1986 (Sept. 13, 1986 vs. Virginia Tech).
  • Clemson opened the season against an ACC opponent for only the 14th time since the conference’s founding in 1953. Clemson is now 11-2-1 against ACC opponents in Week 1 contests all-time.
  • Clemson opened the season against Wake Forest after opening against Georgia Tech last season, representing the first time Clemson opened with an ACC foe in back-to-back years since a five-season stretch of in-conference season openers across the 1965-69 seasons.
  • Clemson opened conference play on the road for the seventh time in eight years. Clemson has now won each of its last six conference openers since 2015, passing a five-year streak from 1980-84 for the longest conference-opener winning streak in school history.
  • Clemson opened a season on the road for the first time since 2016, when second-ranked Clemson defeated Auburn, 19-13, at Jordan-Hare Stadium to kick off an eventual national championship campaign.
  • Captains for the contest were quarterback Trevor Lawrence, defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney, wide receiver Cornell Powell and linebacker James Skalski.