COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECAP

Clemson dominates Miami in ACC title game

Sports Xchange

December 02, 2017 at 10:15 pm.

Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) celebrates with defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) after scoring a touchdown a touchdown in the first quarter in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) celebrates with defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) after scoring a touchdown a touchdown in the first quarter in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Top-ranked Clemson rolled past No. 7 Miami 38-3 on Saturday night in the ACC Championship Game, claiming what is expected to be a trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

It was the third consecutive ACC title for Clemson (12-1) and secured what is certain to be a third straight berth in the College Football Playoff.

The defending national champions enhanced their status with a dominating performance on both sides of the ball in front of a sold-out Bank of America Stadium crowd of 74,372 — the second largest attendance in ACC Championship Game history.

Clemson junior quarterback Kelly Bryant completed 23 of 29 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a second score and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Bryant completed his first 15 passes of the game, breaking the ACC Championship Game record held by former teammate Deshaun Watson.

He completed passes to 11 receivers and the Tigers got rushing touchdowns from four different players.

Clemson was held to a season-low 77 yards rushing, but that seemed insignificant, particularly with a defense that didn’t allow the Hurricanes (10-2) to score until a field goal with 3:29 left in the game.

Clemson dominated the first half and jumped out to a 21-0 lead.

The Tigers opened with a 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive. Freshman running back Travis Etienne darted from the 4-yard line for Clemson’s eighth touchdown on an opening drive in 13 games this season.

After being forced to punt on their first possession, the Hurricanes got a break when Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud fumbled after tripping over teammate Tee Higgins, who was blocking on the play.

But Miami managed only eight yards before missing a 46-yard field goal attempt.

Clemson drove 71 yards in seven plays for its second touchdown, with Bryant racing around left end for an 11-yard score.

The Tigers’ lead swelled to 21-0 on their next possession as Clemson capitalized on a short punt, taking over at the Miami 36 and scoring nine plays later on a 1-yard run by Adam Choice with 12:49 left in the second quarter.

Clemson outgained Miami 231-64 in the first half and held the Hurricanes to three first downs and 2 of 8 on third down.

NOTES: Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell, who leads the team with 16 tackles for loss, was named one of five finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award. … Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow has 14 career touchdowns, six of them have come in six postseason games. …Freshman WR Tee Higgins has nine receptions for 262 yards in the last two games for the Tigers. … Miami QB Malik Rosier is responsible for 30 touchdowns this season, matching the school record set by Vinny Testaverde in 1986. … Miami DB Jaquan Johnson has a team-best 81 tackles and is tied for the team lead in interceptions with four. … Hurricanes WR Braxton Berrios has team-high totals in receptions (45), yards (583) and receiving touchdowns (nine).