Clemson vs. Furman postgame notes and quotes


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Clemson vs. Furman postgame notes and quotes

No. 2 Clemson defeated Furman, 48-7, in front of an announced crowd of 80,048 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Clemson has now won 44 of their last 47 games, dating back to 2014.

Clemson improved to 92-23-8 all-time in season openers.

Clemson improved to 93-17-8 all-time in home openers and has now won 15 straight home openers, with the last home-opening loss coming to Georgia in 2003 in Dabo Swinney’s first game as an assistant coach at Clemson.

Clemson improved to 29-0 since 2015 when scoring first.

Clemson improved to 43-10-4 against Furman all-time.

Clemson opened a season against Furman for the ninth time in program history. The Tigers are now 9-0 all-time against Furman in season openers, including victories to begin the 1896, 1915, 1916, 1964, 1979, 1989, 1994, 1998 and 2018 campaigns.

Clemson won its 31st consecutive contest against Furman and extended its unbeaten streak against the Paladins to 32 consecutive games. The last tie between the two teams occurred in 1937, and the most recent Furman victory in the series came during the 1936 campaign. Clemson's 31-game winning streak against Furman is its longest active winning streak against any opponent.

Clemson extended its winning streak in non-conference regular season play to 16 games. Dating back to 2014, Clemson's current 16-game winning streak in regular season non-conference games is the longest such streak in program history.

Clemson won its ninth consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. It marks Clemson's third home winning streak of at least nine games in Dabo Swinney's tenure as head coach (21 from 2013-16, 13 from 2011-12).

Clemson accrued 531 offensive yards, including 254 rushing yards and 277 passing yards. It marked the ninth time in Swinney’s tenure that the team eclipsed 250 yards both on the ground and through the air.

Clemson’s 254 rushing yards were the team’s third most in a season opener under Swinney (366 in 2017, 320 in 2012).

Clemson held Furman to 163 total yards on 62 plays, an average of 2.6 yards per play. It marked the lowest yards-per-play average allowed by Clemson since holding Auburn to 1.8 yards per play on Sept. 9, 2017. Clemson has held opponents to 2.6 or fewer yards per play 10 times since 2014.

Clemson allowed only 46 passing yards, marking the 10th time under Swinney that the Tigers have held an opponent to 50 or fewer passing yards.

Clemson had a 23-13 advantage in total first downs and has now posted a 75-2 record since 2011 when recording more first downs than their opponent.

Clemson won the turnover margin for the 43rd time since 2011 and improved to 40-3 when winning the turnover margin in that timeframe.

Clemson eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark in a game for the 47th time under Swinney. The Tigers are now 46-1 when rushing for 200-plus yards in Swinney’s tenure.

The victory was Clemson’s 57th consecutive win when holding an opponent under 23 points, a streak that dates back to 2010.

Clemson has now won 30 of their last 31 games at Memorial Stadium.

The victory was Clemson’s 14th straight victory in games played in September.

Clemson won its 53rd game in its last 55 contests against unranked opponents.

Clemson remained undefeated against Football Championship Subdivision opponents, pushing the school’s all-time record against FCS teams to 33-0.

Swinney improved to 2-0 all-time against Furman as a head coach, including victories in 2012 and 2018.

Swinney extended his record in season openers as head coach to 9-1.

With the victory, Swinney tied Danny Ford (nine) for the second-most season-opening victories in Clemson history, trailing only Frank Howard (25) in program annals.

Swinney pushed his all-time record in non-conference play as a head coach to 37-13, including a 30-8 record against non-conference opponents in regular season play.

Quarterback Kelly Bryant recorded his 15th career start and passed for 127 yards (10-of-16) and a touchdown. Bryant also recorded the 15th rushing touchdown of his career on a 35-yard run.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was 9-15 for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Lawrence joined Deshaun Watson as the only true freshmen in program history to throw three touchdown passes in a game.

Running back Travis Etienne recorded his first career start, rushing for 63 yards on 11 carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Clemson opened the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to wide receiver Amari Rodgers. The touchdown pass was the 15th of Bryant’s career and the first receiving touchdown of Rodgers’ career.

Rodgers finished with a career-high 44 receiving yards and 87 punt return yards for a career-best 141 all-purpose yards.

Rodgers averaged 43.5 yards on two punt returns, the third-highest single-game average by a Clemson returner with at least two returns since 2000 (Jacoby Ford, 47.0 vs. Florida Atlantic in 2006; Ray Ray McCloud, 44.0 at NC State in 2017).

The touchdown pass was Bryant’s sixth career touchdown pass of 40 or more yards.

Rodgers recorded a 62-yard punt return in the first quarter, the longest punt return by a member of the Tigers since Ray-Ray McCloud’s 77-yard return against NC State in November 2017.

Kicker Greg Huegel matched his career-long by converting a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter, matching his previous best set against Louisville in 2017.

Lawrence recorded the first passing touchdown of his career on a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Diondre Overton, the second receiving touchdown of his career.

The touchdown pass from Lawrence to Overton was the culmination of an 11-play, 95-yard drive. It was the longest drive by distance by Clemson since a 95-yard touchdown drive against Syracuse on Nov. 5, 2016.

Etienne recorded his 14th career rushing touchdown in the second quarter.

Wide receiver Cornell Powell recorded a career-long 42-yard reception in the second quarter.

Wide receiver Justyn Ross recorded his first career touchdown reception on a 15-yard pass from Lawrence in the third quarter. The drive was the culmination of a touchdown drive that covered 92 yards in three plays, with all 92 yards gained by true freshmen.

The 92-yard, three-play scoring drive marked the fewest plays needed for Clemson to go 90-plus yards since a two-play, 95-yard drive against Syracuse on Nov. 5, 2016.

Clemson led at halftime, 27-0. Dating back to last season, Clemson has shut out its opponents in the first half of five of its last six games (27-0 vs. Furman, 21-0 vs. Miami, 20-0 vs. South Carolina, 38-0 vs. The Citadel, 17-0 vs. Florida State).

Clemson led 41-0 through three quarters. Clemson is now 75-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.

Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 29 games.

Wide receiver Derion Kendrick recorded his first career reception a 38-yard pass from Bryant. On the play, Bryant surpassed 3,000 career passing yards, becoming the 15th player in Clemson history to reach the mark.

Tight end Braden Galloway recorded his first career touchdown reception on a nine-yard pass from Lawrence in the fourth quarter.

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins recorded a sack in the third quarter, pushing his career total to 11.0.

Defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell increased his career sack total to 16.5 with a sack in the third quarter.

Defensive linemen Jordan Williams and Albert Huggins split a sack in the third quarter. The half-sack was the first of Williams’ career and pushed Huggins’ career total to 5.0.

Linebacker Baylon Spector caused and recovered the first fumble of his career in the fourth quarter for the Tigers’ first takeaway of the year.

Defensive lineman K.J. Henry recovered the first fumble of his career in the fourth quarter.

Clemson’s captains for the contest were defensive lineman Austin Bryant, quarterback Kelly Bryant, kicker Greg Huegel and linebacker Kendall Joseph.

Clemson faced the opponent against whom the team played its first game in program history. Guided by Head Coach Walter Riggs, Clemson earned a 14-6 road victory against the Furman Purple Hurricane in the Tigers’ gridiron debut on Oct. 31, 1896.

Despite being the 123rd season of Clemson Football, the game marked only the 118th home opener in program history as a function of five seasons in which the team did not play a home game.

QUOTES

CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY

On the overall game:

“I think we had a nice balance today. We were able to play so many people. We didn’t commit any turnovers and committed only four penalties. The depth showed up for us today. We got all three quarterbacks in the game [and] there were a lot of opportunities for players to touch the ball.”

On the importance of starting out the season with an impressive win:

“It doesn’t matter how talented these guys are; for anybody, the first college experience is a big deal. No matter how much you practice, it’s hard to simulate game day. Overall, there’s a lot we can coach off of, but I was pleased with what we did offensively. Defensively, our guys set the tone and created two turnovers.”

On the defensive performance:

“We played a ton of guys defensively. It was good to see so many guys play. We saw a lot of great things from several guys up front. Shaq Smith played well. Isaiah Simmons performed well in his start. He’s freakishly athletic, and that showed. Nolan Turner, Denzel Johnson and Niles Pinckney played well, too.”

On the impact of the special teams:

“We want to be one of the best special teams groups in the country. We have the right roster to be elite. You saw that on kickoffs and punt returns today. Cornell Powell had a 43-yard punt return. We expect our special teams to not only keep us in games, but also win us some games.”

On the fan support at Death Valley:

“I was actually just telling our players how fortunate we are to have such great fans. I’m really thankful for our fans. Traffic was backed up all the way to Anderson, but we still had a packed house today. There was plenty of excitement in Death Valley for us to feed off of.”

On the outlook moving forward:

“This coming week, we’ll get in game mode, watch the tape and make some improvements to help us to continue to win. We don’t always play perfectly, but we play with a lot of heart and toughness, and that helps us get the job done.”

CLEMSON QB KELLY BRYANT

On getting back on the field:

“It was good. This being my first game as a senior... it’s special. I’m just trying to soak it up and enjoy it. It was good to see everyone play against another opponent other than against Clemson in practice, and we’re going to enjoy it.”

Oh his play today:

“I managed it. It could have been better but in the end, we did what we had to do. I did the job; we moved the ball and put some points on the board.”

On changes after halftime:

“Nothing changed. We went out with the same demeanor. We just had to keep attacking and execute.

CLEMSON QB TREVOR LAWRENCE

On playing his first game:

“It was awesome. I’ve been waiting on it for a while [and have] been practicing hard. It [was] good to finally get out there.”

On hardest in-game adjustments:

“Everyone says speed, but it’s probably defenses. Defenses change-up post-snap and things like that.”

On difference in comfort during second half:

“It felt a lot more comfortable, for sure. Getting [into] a routine and a rhythm [made] going out for the second half a lot more comfortable than the first one.”

On going through the quarterback battle since spring:

“It’s been really good and it’s definitely made me better. I think it’s made Kelly [Bryant] a lot better, too, just from competing. We have a good relationship, so that’s good for the rest of the team.”

CLEMSON DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Brent Venables

On the performance of team:

“I loved our attitude coming out of the locker room. We were ready to play and played with passion and energy. We were very intense and physical. I thought our guys were really excited to play today, and we played to our standard. I think we saw 34 guys play today on defense, and that will pay off in dividends. It’s good to reward guys for their work, and I’m pleased with a lot of guys. I thought our guys up front, from the onset, set the tone for the day.”

On contribution from younger players:

“It builds their confidence and gets their jitters out. This is a developmental game, and the more they play, the better they are going to get, even through failure. As we continue to develop our depth across the board, this will be a great start for some of those guys in their careers.”

CLEMSON DE K.J. HENRY

On the excitement and the energy in Memorial Stadium:

“It was everything. I was talking to Dexter [Lawrence] on the bus, and we couldn’t really prepare for something like that. There were recruits out there, and we were on that bus to the Hill. Just really being a part of a team [was exciting]. We’ve been a part of it for eight months now, waiting for it come, and we finally got out there and had fun. I wasn’t even ready for it.”

On the play of the defense:

“We played well. It was a great scheme with great coaching. But, as a whole, I think we played very well.”

On his fumble recovery:

“That happened so fast. I have to give a shoutout to Shaq [Smith]. He was the one who knocked it loose, and I just saw the ball and went for it. It was a great play, and that’s all to God. That ball was right there for me...it wasn’t anything spectacular. I was the one who got credit for it, but the other 10 guys did their job even though I was the only one who got credit for it.”

FURMAN HEAD COACH CLAY HENDRIX

On overall performance of the team:

“Hats off to Clemson...they were as advertised. I thought our defense played really well for about a half. When that call right was overturned before halftime, they came down and scored, and we gave up two scores. Offensively, we struggled all day, but I thought our kids fought and hung in there. We’ll watch some tape, and there’ll be some good and bad stuff. The two freshman quarterbacks, I thought, handled themselves pretty well under the circumstances. I like this bunch. We just have to go back and get better. We certainly won’t see another group like this for the rest of the year. At least, I hope we don’t.”

On moving forward with the season:

“We did some things well. In every game you find out what you did well, and you identify the things that you did poorly..maybe we have to move some people around and get our best people in the [game]. You learn every week and every day is different. We knew it was going to be a challenge coming in, and it certainly was.”

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