Tigers "Chain" Hurricanes in blowout, head to College Football Playoff


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Kelly Bryant scores against the Hurricanes
Kelly Bryant scores against the Hurricanes

CHARLOTTE, NC – Next up, the College Football Playoff.

No. 1 Clemson ran over, around and through No. 7 Miami and won the school’s 17th ACC Championship in football in a 38-3 rout over the Hurricanes in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium.

With the win, the Tigers will advance into the College Football Playoff and play in either the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans or the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. If the Tigers retain their number one ranking when the rankings are released at noon Sunday, they will likely play in the Sugar Bowl against the No. 4 seed.

Miami is likely headed to the Orange Bowl as the ACC’s second-highest ranked team.

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was named the game’s MVP, completing 23-of-29 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. Ray-Ray McCloud had six catches for 100 yards.

Clemson has now won 43 of its last 46 games dating to 2014. The Tigers have won 25 of their last 27 against ACC teams and 14 of 15 away from home against ACC teams. Clemson is 16-1 at night over the last two years with nine of the wins coming over top 20 teams. Only four of the 15 night start wins have been at home.

Clemson has won 56 straight games when holding the opposition under 23 points (dates to 2010). Clemson has won nine straight games against Top 25 teams away from home, including 5-0 this year. Clemson is 12-1 in matchups of top 15 teams since 2015.

Clemson is 21-2 in games away from home over the last three seasons since the 2014 bowl season when the Tigers beat Oklahoma 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That includes a 14-1 record in true road games.

Miami won the toss and elected to defer, and Clemson made them pay. The Tigers started at their own 32 and marched 68 yards in 10 plays. Twice on the drive Bryant hit Hunter Renfrow for big gains and Travis Etienne capped the drive with a four-yard scoring run as Clemson led 7-0 early. The touchdown marked the eighth time this season the Tigers scored on the game’s opening drive.

The Canes were forced to punt on their first possession, but Ray-Ray McCloud muffed the punt and Miami took over at the Clemson 32. The drive lost yardage, however, and Clemson dodged early points when Miami missed a 46-yard field goal.

Two plays later, McCloud hauled in a 25-yard pass from Bryant, once again fumbled, but the ball was recovered by Milan Richard at the Miami 27. Five plays later Bryant rolled left and strolled in to the end zone from 11 yards out to make it 14-0 Clemson with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter.

The Canes were forced into another three-and-out, and a 16-yard punt gave the Tigers the ball at the Miami 41. Nine plays later and facing a third-and-goal from the one, Adam Choice followed left tackle Mitch Hyatt’s block and rumbled into the end zone for a 21-0 lead with 12:49 to play in the half.

That was it for the fist half. Bryant completed his first 15 passes and Clemson converted each of their first seven third downs, but the Tigers couldn’t dent the scoreboard and led 21-0 at intermission.

Alex Spence ended Clemson’s first drive of the second half with a 46-yard field goal, and Clemson led 24-0 with 10:08 to play in the third quarter. The 46-yarder was a career-long for Spence.

Two drives later, Carter intercepted Miami quarterback Malik Rosier at the Hurricane 43, and the Tigers put the game away with a six-play drive. The drive ended on an 11-yard run by Tavien Feaster, who broke over left tackle and sped into the end zone, making it 31-0 with 3:17 to play in the third quarter.

Miami seemed to be putting together a drive on the ensuing possession, but Rosier was picked off by Kendall Joseph at midfield and he returned it 37 yards to the Miami 15. C.J. Fuller fumbled the ball and lost 14 yards to put the Tigers in second-and-long, but Bryant threw over the top and hit Deon Cain in stride for a 27-yard scoring toss that put Clemson up 38-0 late in the third quarter.

The Hurricanes added a late field goal.

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