|Clemson makes it four straight ACC titles with 42-10 win vs. Pittsburgh|
|Tigers punch ticket to FCS playoffs|
|Published Sunday, December 2, 2018 12:04 am|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|Clemson running back Adam Choice and receiver Tee Higgins celebrate a play during the Tigers' 42-10 win against Pitt Saturday in the ACC title game at Bank of America Stadium. The win was Clemson's fourth straight league championship and clinched a spot in the FBS playoffs.|
The ACC football championship game went as expected.
The Clemson Tigers (13-0), No. 2 in the nation, won their fourth consecutive conference championship, beating the Pitt Panthers (7-6) 42-10.
“I got the opportunity to be the head coach at Clemson on this day [10 years ago],” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “We’ve got one goal left, and that is to try and win our closer.”
Said Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi: “Clemson is the measuring stick in the ACC right now.”
Clemson scored on a 75-yard run on their opening drive. Sophomore running back Travis Etienne’s touchdown run took 13 seconds, making it the fastest score in ACC championship game history. He finished as Clemson’s leading rusher with 12 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers carried the ball 35 times for 301 yards.
Pitt’s best chance came in the second quarter when they drew within 14-10. However, Clemson led the entire night, holding Panthers sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett to 8 yards passing, and capitalizing on an interception just before halftime.
“We had a lot of unforced errors out there,” Narduzzi said. “They have caused havoc in the backfield against every team they have played against this year.”
Pickett finished with four completions on 16 attempts, and was sacked by middle linebacker Tre Lamar and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
“It comes down to the people out there on both sides of the football,” Narduzzi said.
By comparison, Clemson’s freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 12 passes on 24 attempts for 118 yards two touchdowns, taking one sack.
Conference play is over. Heading into a bowl game becomes the focus for both sides.
“We didn’t play good enough to win,” said Pitt senior defensive back Dennis Briggs, who had five tackles. “What we’re going through right now is the emotions of losing, but we have to get over that, because we have another game to go.”
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