Blacksburgh, VA—Clemson is starting to feel like their own self again by playing hard nose, tough, and physical defense.
Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence ran for two touchdowns and threw a scoring pass and No. 4 Clemson beat Virginia Tech 45-10 on Saturday in Blacksburgh, VA.
Lawrence completed 12 of 22 for 195 yards with a pick. He ran for 41 yards. The offensive line gave Lawrence all the time he needed to look down the field for receivers.
Virginia Tech have played in 27 consecutive bowl games, which represents the nation’s longest active streak, but that might come to an end with the loss against the Tigers. The Hokies lost four straight games and five out of six, and they’ve allowed 39 points per game in their losses.
Tech stayed relatively close to Clemson in the first half, chewing up the clock for 19:53 of the first 30 minutes, frequently running the play clock down until the final second before snapping the ball and went to the locker room down just 17-10.
The Hokies had a chance to score right before the half, but appeared content with being down by a score. Despite having all of their timeouts, VT ran the ball and would have let time expire off the clock. But Khalil Herbert broke a 21-yard run on second down that prompted coach Justin Fuente to call his first timeout with two seconds remaining.
In the second half, Clemson scored 28 points quickly with Lawrence scoring on a 7-yard run and throwing a 65-yard touchdown pass to Cornell Powell.
Tigers’ Derion Kendrick returned a fumble 66 yards on the Tech’s sidelines for a touchdown and Clemson scored another touchdown off a turnover later in the game.
By the end of the night, the Tigers wore the Hokies down to the ground. Virginia Tech had no answers for the different defensive schemes masterminded by defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
On a brighter note for VT was running back Khalil Herbert, who ran for 96 yards on 21 carries and scored the Hokies only touchdown in the game.
Herbert, a transfer from Kansas who rushed for 592 yards in the first four games this year, finally passed the 1,000-yard plateau.
“It was definitely different,” said Hokies tight end James Mitchell of the slower pace of play. “But we knew that’s what we wanted to do to give ourselves the best chance to be in a good position to win the game.”
Clemson: The Tigers was committed to pound the ball on the ground, and they struck gold with the strategy. They entered ranked 11th in the ACC in rushing offense, but their 238 yards were their second-most in a game this season.
Clemson: Vs. Notre Dame in the ACC championship came on Dec. 19 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Virginia Tech: Hosts Virginia next Saturday in the regular-season finale.