Record night for Lawrence, Higgins help Tigers blow out Virginia for 5th straight ACC Championship

Record night for Lawrence, Higgins help Tigers blow out Virginia for 5th straight ACC Championship
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) breaks a tackle attempt by Virginia cornerback Nick Grant during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Higgins scored on the play. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn) (Source: Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WIS) - To say Trevor Lawrence and Tee Higgins had a good night in Charlotte may very well be the understatement of the season.

The duo put up record numbers for Clemson to help the Tigers pick up a dominant 62-17 win over Virginia and their fifth straight ACC Championship.

Virginia opened the game by marching down the field and taking advantage of holes in the Clemson secondary. However, the drive would be punctuated by the Tigers after Bryce Perkins was intercepted in the end zone by Nolan Turner.

The Tigers capitalized on the takeaway with a 5-play drive that lasted 94 seconds. The series was capped by a 19-yard Trevor Lawrence touchdown pass to Tee Higgins to put the ACC Atlantic champions up 7-0 with 11:11 left in the first.

Virginia collected themselves and tied the game about five minutes later. Bryce Perkins led the Cavaliers on a lengthy drive that spanned 74 yards and ended with a touchdown pass to Hasise Dubois to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:22 left in the quarter.

Clemson wasted little time regaining the lead. In another brief drive, Lawrence put the Tigers ahead with a 59-yard touchdown pass. The drive last four plays and 94 seconds and Clemson found themselves ahead 14-7 with 4:46 left in the first.

Clemson added to their lead in the second quarter. Following a Tigers timeout and an offsides penalty against Virginia, BT Potter managed to boot a 47-yard field goal through making it a 17-7 game.

The Tigers found their rhythm and began to pour it on. Following an acrobatic catch by Tee Higgins, Travis Etienne found paydirt for the first time. The ACC Player of the Year scored on a 26-yard run extending Clemson’s lead to 24-7.

Clemson added one last touchdown in the first half for good measure. Lawrence and Higgins hooked up with 49 seconds left to make it a 31-7 game. That set a new ACC Championship record for most points in the first half.

The Tigers finished the half with 345 yards of total offense.

Dabo Swinney’s squad added two more touchdowns in the third including Higgins’ ACC Championship record third touchdown reception as they entered the fourth quarter with a 45-14 lead.

Higgins finished the night with nine catches for 182 yards and three touchdowns. The mark for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns were both new ACC Championship game records. Lawrence was 16-of-22 passing for 302 yards with four touchdowns. Lawrence’s four touchdowns is also a new ACC Championship record.

As for the Clemson defense, it was business as usual. The Tigers made life difficult for the Cavaliers for four quarters. Although Virginia was able to put up big numbers through the air, Bronco Mendenhall’s squad was held to just 104 yards on the ground.

With this win, the Tigers recorded the most points in an ACC Championship game. The win also secures a spot in the College Football Playoff for Clemson. The only question is where will they end up.

The final College Football Playoff rankings of the season will be unveiled Sunday at noon.

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