No. 1 Clemson took down No. 7 Miami 42-17 at home in Memorial Stadium on Saturday behind 222 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns from Travis Etienne, who rushed for 149 yards on 17 carries and caught eight Trevor Lawrence passes for 73 more yards.
Clemson led 21-3 late in the first half off a pair of Lawrence touchdown passes to Braden Galloway and a two-yard Etienne touchdown run to cap a 99-yard scoring drive.
However, the Hurricanes gained a new lease on life after Jared Harrison-Hunte blocked Clemson's first half-ending 61-yard field-goal attempt. DJ Ivey picked up the loose ball and scored a touchdown as the half expired.
Clemson regrouped and dominated in the third quarter, though, as Etienne scored on a 72-yard scamper before Lawrence punched one in from three yards out to help give the Tigers a 35-10 lead. The two teams traded touchdowns before the game ended.
Clemson improved to 4-0 on the season. Miami fell to 3-1.
The Tigers will have gone three calendar years since losing a regular-season game when the calendar turns to Tuesday. Clemson fell to Syracuse on Oct. 13, 2017, and has only lost two postseason matchups since, going 39-2 overall.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: 29-of-41, 292 yards, 3 TD; 8 rushes, 34 yards, 1 TD
Clemson RB Travis Etienne: 17 carries, 149 yards, 2 TD; 8 catches, 73 yards
Clemson TE Braden Galloway: 4 catches, 74 yards, 2 TD
Miami QB D'Eriq King: 12-of-28, 121 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT; 14 rushes, 84 yards, 1 TD
Clemson Makes Quick Work of Miami
Clemson out-gained Miami 550-210, with Etienne out-pacing the Hurricanes by himself with 12 extra yards.
The Tigers possessed the ball for 38:23 compared to Miami's 21:37 time of possession, and they gained 34 first downs to Miami's nine.
Miami committed nearly twice as many penalties (15 to eight) and committed two more turnovers (three to one).
The Hurricanes also didn't score an offensive touchdown until there was just 8:31 left in the game.
The stats don't tell the whole story, however. Clemson scored at will and played dominant defense, but the team seemingly did whatever it wanted with relative ease and perfect execution.
Galloway could have walked into the end zone with this cavalcade of blockers in front of him:
Meanwhile, the defense, led by Baylon Spector, came to play:
Credit to Miami for fighting all night in the face of adversity, but Clemson somehow found a way to come out on the right end of impossible situations, like when the Hurricanes clogged up the gaps on a goal-line stand only for Etienne to pivot and charge around the mass of players for a score:
Any chance Miami had in the second half to make it a game got squandered when Sheridan Jones picked an opportune time for his first-ever interception:
That gave Etienne the opportunity to do more damage, and he responded with a 72-yard scamper around the edge and down the sideline thanks in part to great blocking up front:
That pretty much put the game to bed.
The score may not reflect it, but Miami is a very good, resilient and tough team. The 'Canes outscored UAB, Florida State and Louisville 130-58 over their first three games. Granted, those teams are not off to good starts, but Miami left no doubt about its dominance on the field.
The problem is this Clemson team might be the best in the Dabo Swinney era, featuring peak performances from future NFL stars like Lawrence, Etienne and others. We might be seeing nights like this from now through the end of the College Football Playoff at this rate, especially given the defense's epic performance.
Clemson's biggest test before a presumed postseason berth will be at No. 5 Notre Dame on Nov. 7. Until then, the Tigers will continue their ACC schedule in hopes of completing their second undefeated season in three years and third championship campaign in five.
Clemson will visit Georgia Tech on Oct. 17 at noon ET in Atlanta's Bobby Dodd Stadium. Miami will host Pittsburgh in Hard Rock Stadium on the same day and time.