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Nov 28, 2020

FINAL: Clemson 52, Pitt 17

No. 3 Tigers Defeat Pittsburgh 52-17 in Lawrence’s Return on Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day

Box Score

CLEMSON, S.C. —  No. 3 Clemson handled Pitt (5-5, 4-5 ACC) by a score of 52-17 on Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day behind a 403-yard passing performance by Trevor Lawrence in his return from a two-game absence. The Tiger defense played stout, forcing five turnovers including four interceptions, two of which were from junior cornerback Mario Goodrich. 

The Tigers (8-1, 7-1 ACC) came out of the gates firing, scoring a school-record 31 first-quarter points. The dominant first frame was highlighted by three interceptions on Pitt’s first nine pass attempts, and two touchdown passes from Lawrence. With the win, Lawrence moved to 32-1 as a starter and tied the school-record for wins as a starting quarterback set by Rodney Williams, Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson at 32 wins apiece 

E.J. Williams, wearing number 39 to honor his late father who died at 39 years of age after serving for 18 years in the U.S. Army, opened the scoring with a five-yard reception good for his first career touchdown. Cornell Powell added a touchdown on a 43-yard-flea flicker. He finished with 176 yards receiving on six receptions and became the first Tiger with at least 150 receiving yards in back-to-back games since Sammy Watkins in 2013.

The second quarter saw Chez Mellusi add his third touchdown of the season on a two-yard run, and the Tigers took a 38-10 lead into halftime, but a Lawrence fumble on the opening play of the second half led to a Panthers touchdown that cut the deficit to 21 points. 

After the two teams traded several punts, Travis Etienne cashed in on a 10-play, 89-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game. His first-quarter scamper added to his FBS-record 44th game with a touchdown. Etienne ran for 58 total yards on 11 carries for the game.

Clemson opened the fourth quarter scoring when freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei led the Tigers on a 41-yard drive, culminating in a nine-yard pass to Mellusi for his first career receiving touchdown which gave the Tigers their 52-17 advantage. 

The rest of the fourth quarter marched on with no scoring as the Tigers cruised to the victory in the penultimate game of their regular season. 

The Tigers wrap up their regular season schedule on Saturday, Dec. 5, when they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech. Kickoff time and the television information for that game are still to be announced.

Game Notes

  • Clemson joined 2013 Florida State as the only ACC teams ever to score 34 or more points in each of the first nine games of a season. 
  • Clemson reached the 40-point mark for the seventh time in its last eight games.
  • Clemson scored 31 points in the first quarter, the highest-scoring first quarter in Clemson history. Clemson had previously scored 28 first-quarter points against Duke in 2012 and against NC State in 2019.
  • The 31 first-quarter points were four points shy of the school record for any quarter (35), set in the second quarter against Wake Forest in 1981, the third quarter against North Carolina in 2011 and the second quarter against Georgia Tech earlier this season.
  • Clemson gained 581 total yards, its second-most this season. Clemson has now opened a season with 400 yards of offense in each of the first nine games of a season for the second time in school history (2018).
  • Clemson threw for 300 yards in a fifth straight game for the first time in school history.
  • Clemson added to its school-record streak of consecutive games with at least 25 pass completions, reaching 25 completions in a seventh straight contest.
  • Clemson recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in a 25th consecutive game. The last time Clemson was held to a single rushing touchdown was in the 2018 Cotton Bowl.
  • Clemson recorded a season-high four rushing touchdowns, its most since the 2019 ACC Championship Game vs. Virginia (four).
  • Clemson recorded four interceptions. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett had entered the game with four interceptions in 259 pass attempts this year.
  • Clemson won the turnover margin, 5-1. The plus-four performance in the turnover margin surpassed Clemson’s best performance of the year (plus-three vs. Syracuse) and was its best since a plus-four effort at NC State last year.
  • Clemson’s four interceptions were its most since a four-interception game against NC State last year.
  • Clemson’s three-interception first quarter was its first time recording three interceptions in a single quarter since 2016, when Clemson picked off Troy three times in the second quarter.
  • Clemson outscored Pitt off turnovers, 28-7, and has now outscored opponents off turnovers by a 265-59 mark since the start of the 2018 postseason.
  • Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 26-of-37 passes for 403 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.  
  • Lawrence improved to 32-1 as a starter, tying the school record for wins as a starting quarterback. He matches the career win totals of Rodney Williams, Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson, who finished with 32 wins each.
  • Lawrence’s 403 passing yards were one shy of his career high of 404, set earlier this season at Georgia Tech.
  • The game was Lawrence’s second career 400-yard passing game and the 12th by a Clemson quarterback all-time. He joined Deshaun Watson (five) and Tajh Boyd (three) as the only Clemson quarterbacks to record multiple 400-yard passing games in a career.
  • With Lawrence’s performance, Clemson has now had a 400-yard passer in consecutive games, including the 439-yard performance by D.J. Uiagalelei at Notre Dame in Clemson’s most recent game prior to Saturday. It’s the first time in school history Clemson has had a 400-yard passer in back-to-back games.
  • With his fifth pass attempt of the game, Lawrence (1,032) became the fourth Clemson player to attempt 1,000 career passes, joining Tajh Boyd (1,402), Charlie Whitehurst (1,368) and Deshaun Watson (1,207). His first touchdown pass of the game came on his 999th career pass attempt.
  • Lawrence posted his 11th career 300-yard passing game. He, Tajh Boyd (18) and Deshaun Watson (13) are the only players in school history to record double-digit career 300-yard passing games. 
  • With 412 yards of total offense, Lawrence (10,001) passed Charlie Whitehurst (9,763) for third-most career yards of total offense in Clemson history.
  • Lawrence (10,001) joined Tajh Boyd (13,069) and Deshaun Watson (12,094) as the only players in Clemson history to record 10,000 yards of total offense in a career.
  • Running back Travis Etienne rushed 11 times for 58 yards with two rushing touchdowns and caught three passes for 20 receiving yards. 
  • With 20 receiving yards in the contest, Etienne (511) broke the Clemson record for receiving yards by a running back in a single season, held previously by C.J. Spiller (503 in 2009).
  • Etienne scored a two-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter, adding to his FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown. He now has a touchdown of any kind in 44 of his 52 career games.
  • Etienne rushed for a touchdown in a seventh consecutive game to record his third career streak of seven games or more with a rushing touchdown. It ties a seven-game streak of his own from 2018 and a seven-game streak by Kenny Flowers in 1985 for the sixth-longest streak in school history.
  • During the game, Etienne (76) joined Tajh Boyd (133), Deshaun Watson (116) and Trevor Lawrence (97) as the only players in school history to be responsible for 75 career touchdowns (scored and/or thrown).
  • Etienne (68) passed Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary (66) for sole possession of the sixth-most career rushing touchdowns according to official NCAA FBS records.   
  • Etienne scored multiple touchdowns for the 23rd time in his career. The FBS record for most career games scoring two or more touchdowns is 25, shared by Miami (Ohio)’s Travis Prentice (1996-99) and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (2009-12).
  • Etienne (76) passed Texas’ Ricky Williams (75) for the fifth-most career total touchdowns of any FBS player since 1956.
  • With 12 points in the game, Etienne (456) became the 14th player (and sixth non-kicker) in FBS history to reach 450 career points. He joined Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (466 from 2009-12) as the only ACC players to accomplish the feat.
  • Wide receiver Cornell Powell recorded six receptions for a career-high 176 receiving yards, surpassing his 161-yard effort against Notre Dame in Clemson’s most recent game.
  • Powell’s 176 receiving yards tied for the 10th-most in a game in Clemson history.
  • Powell recorded his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game to tie a school record shared by Charlie Waters (1969), Tony Horne (1997), Rod Gardner (2000), DeAndre Hopkins (2012) and Sammy Watkins (2013).
  • Powell became the first Clemson player to record back-to-back 150-yard receiving games since Sammy Watkins against Maryland and Virginia in 2013. It’s the third such instance in Clemson history, joining Watkins in 2013 and DeAndre Hopkins against Georgia Tech and Boston College in 2012.
  • Powell scored on a 43-yard flea flicker from Lawrence in the first quarter. It’s now the second time this season he’s scored a touchdown in consecutive games.
  • Wide receiver E.J. Williams made his first career start. Instead of his usual No. 6, Williams wore No. 39 during the Military Appreciation Day game in honor of his father, Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Williams Sr., who died at 39 years of age in 2010 after serving 18 years in the U.S. Army.
  • Williams gained 38 yards on three receptions with one receiving touchdown.
  • Williams recorded his first career touchdown reception on a five-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence in the first quarter. The touchdown opened the scoring, and with the win, Clemson is now 57-1 when scoring first since 2015.
  • Running back Lyn-J Dixon scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a one-yard first quarter run.
  • Running back Chez Mellusi scored his third rushing touchdown of the season on a two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
  • Mellusi scored his first career receiving touchdown on a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei in the fourth quarter. Saturday marked Mellusi’s first career game with multiple touchdowns.
  • Wide receiver Amari Rodgers recorded a career-high 10 receptions for 93 yards.
  • Rodgers became the first player in Clemson history to catch at least six passes in seven straight games.
  • Rodgers, who entered the game already holding single-season career highs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, now has a single-season career-high 58 receptions this season, surpassing his 55 receptions in 2018.
  • With the 10 receptions on Saturday, Rodgers tied Terry Smith (162) for ninth in school history in career receptions.
  • Cornerback Malcolm Greene ended Pitt’s second possession with his first career interception.
  • Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. recorded his second interception of the season, picking off Kenny Pickett in the first quarter.
  • Cornerback Mario Goodrich recorded his first interception of the season on Clemson’s third pick of the first quarter. It was his second career interception and his first since the third game of the 2019 season at Syracuse.
  • Goodrich added his second interception of the game in the fourth quarter, the first multi-interception game of his career. It was the first multi-interception game by a Clemson player since Cordrea Tankersley’s two-interception game against Virginia Tech in the 2016 ACC Championship Game.
  • Clemson registered six sacks and has now recorded multiple sacks in 31 of its last 32 games, including each of its last 15. Clemson’s 15-game streak with multiple sacks ties a streak across the 2012-13 seasons for the Tigers’ fourth-longest streak since 1980.
  • Clemson’s six sacks tied a season-high set in the season opener at Wake Forest.
  • Linebacker Trenton Simpson recorded his third sack of the season on Pitt’s opening drive.
  • Defensive tackle Tyler Davis returned to action and recorded a sack in the second quarter.
  • Linebacker Baylon Spector added to his single-season career high in sacks, pushing his season total to 3.5 with a sack in the second quarter.
  • Defensive end Xavier Thomas added his first forced fumble of the season in the second quarter, coming on his third sack of 2020.
  • Defensive end Regan Upshaw added a sack to push his season and career total to 2.5.
  • Linebacker LaVonta Bentley added his second sack of the season — the second of his career — in the fourth quarter.
  • Bentley later added the first forced fumble of his career in the fourth quarter. It was recovered by linebacker Kane Patterson, his first career fumble recovery.
  • Captains for the contest were quarterback Trevor Lawrence, wide receiver Cornell Powell, linebacker James Skalski and safety Nolan Turner.

Military Appreciation Day Halftime Ceremony

Military Appreciation Day Presentations

Click to see information on all the Military Appreciation Day presentations:

Clemson Holds 2020 Military Appreciation Day Saturday

With the Win...

  • Clemson has now earned eight wins through the first nine games of a season for the 16th time in school history. Clemson previously won at least eight games in its first nine contests in the 1939, 1948, 1950, 1978, 1981, 1987, 2000, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.
  • Clemson won a seventh ACC regular season game for a sixth-straight season, adding to the longest streak in school history. It gives Clemson at least seven regular season conference wins in eight of the last nine seasons, dating to 2012.
  • The 2020 Clemson seniors improved to 27-0 at home from 2017-20 and tied the school record for most home wins by a senior class held by the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seniors (27 each). The group became the first Clemson class in the modern era to post a perfect four-year record at home and the first to do so since Memorial Stadium opened in 1942. (Note: Clemson was undefeated at home in a four-year span from 1900-03 but only played a total of five home games in that four-year window). 
  • Clemson’s seniors became the first FBS senior class to post a perfect career record at home since the 2010 Boise State (26-0) and Oklahoma (25-0) seniors.
  • Clemson finished undefeated at home for the sixth time in seven years. It marks the school’s first time accomplishing the feat (including ties) since 1935-41, when the team was 15-1-1 in its final seven seasons at Riggs Field prior to the opening of Memorial Stadium in 1942.
  • Clemson has now won all its home games in four consecutive seasons for the first time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. 
  • Clemson won its sixth home game this season to give the Tigers a 10-year streak of winning at least six games at Memorial Stadium. Clemson has posted a winning record at home in 19 consecutive seasons.
  • Clemson is now a national-best 47-1 at home in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014) and defeated the Pitt program that was responsible for Clemson’s lone home loss in that span (43-42 in 2016).
  • Clemson won a 28th consecutive home game to extend its school record for the longest home winning streak and longest home unbeaten streak in school history. Of the 119 players on Clemson’s 2020 roster, 110 have never experienced a home loss in their Clemson careers. Nine fifth-year seniors on Clemson’s 2020 roster were on the 2016 team that recovered from a home loss to Pitt by winning the national championship that season.
  • At 30-2, the Clemson seniors tied the 2018 and 2019 seniors (30 wins each) as the winningest class in school history in regular season conference play and pulled within one game of the four-year conference record of 31, set by multiple Florida State classes from 1995-2000.
  • Clemson improved to 26-6 in games following a loss under Dabo Swinney, including season openers following a loss in the previous season finale. 
  • Clemson has played 124 games since losing back-to-back games, the longest active streak in the nation and the longest in ACC history, per ESPN. Clemson’s last time losing back-to-back games came in 2011.
  • Clemson, which entered the game fourth in the AP Poll after being ranked No. 1 prior to its last game, won its 17th consecutive game when ranked lower in the AP Poll than in its previous contest. Clemson is now 25-4 under Dabo Swinney when playing a game at a lower AP ranking than in its previous contest, including season openers in which Clemson opened lower than it finished the prior season.
  • Clemson improved to 66-3 in regular season play since the start of the 2015 season.
  • Clemson improved to 50-3 against conference opponents since the start of the 2015 season, the first year of Clemson’s active run of five consecutive ACC titles. 
  • Clemson evened its all-time series with Pitt at 2-2 and leveled its all-time home record in the series at 1-1.
  • Though 2020 is technically a divisionless season, Clemson improved to 32-8 against opponents historically from the ACC Coastal Division, including postseason play, under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson has now won 18 of its last 19 games against the Coastal Division since 2015.
  • Clemson has now won 85 of its last 87 games, including each of its last 48, when leading at halftime.
  • Clemson improved to 107-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
  • Clemson now has a 63-3 record when winning the turnover margin since 2011.
  • Clemson now has a 106-2 record when totaling more first downs than its opponent since 2011.
  • Clemson has now won 87 straight games when holding teams under 23 points, dating to 2010.