Trevor Lawrence threw two touchdown passes, Travis Etienne ran for three scores and No. 1 Clemson shook off a sluggish performance to win its 27th straight Atlantic Coast Conference game and put away pesky Syracuse 47-21 on Saturday.
The Tigers opened 6-0 for the sixth straight season, but it took a late burst to get it done — just like usual against Syracuse (1-5, 1-4). The Orange were the last ACC team to beat the Tigers (5-0 ACC) with a 27-24 victory in 2017. A year later at Death Valley, Syracuse again looked primed for the upset as it held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before Clemson’s 27-23 escape to keep its national championship season intact.
Syracuse kept the Tigers out of synch much of the game and was down just 27-21 late in the third quarter. But Andrew Booth Jr.‘s fumble recovery and touchdown run after Rex Culpepper was sacked late in the third quarter turned the game in Clemson’s favor for good.
Etienne added rushing TDs of 9 and 1 yard. Lawrence threw for 289 yards with scoring passes of 25 yards to Cornell Powell and 18 yards to Davis Allen.
The Tigers broke fast for a 17-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game. That’s when things got away from the five-time defending ACC champion. Syracuse freshman Drew Tuazama blocked a punt and four plays later Sean Tucker scored on a 7-yard run. Then right before half, Orange cornerback Garrett Williams caught a pass off Amari Rodgers’ hands and took it 39 yards for a pick six.
Syracuse made it a one-score game when Nykeim Johnson caught an 83-yard TD pass from Culpepper to draw to 27-21 — and stun the crowd of about 19,000 before Booth’s defensive score got the Tigers rolling to victory.
NO. 5 OHIO STATE 51, NEBRASKA 17
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Justin Fields completed 20 of 21 passes for two touchdowns and ran for another score, Master Teague III rushed for a pair of scores and Ohio State rolled over Nebraska in the Big Ten teams’ pandemic-delayed opener.
Fields completed his first 12 passes and threw for 276 yards. He ran for another 52 yards — including a stunning 17-yard third-quarter touchdown scramble around the left side that saw him spin past a defender into the end zone.
The Ohio State defense took most of the first half to figure out a way to contain quarterback Adrian Martinez, who marched the Huskers down for a touchdown in the opening 2 minutes of the game.
Nebraska tied it at 14 in the second quarter, but Ohio State had a field goal, a defensive stop and Teague’s second TD run to lead 24-14 at the half. Then came Fields’ nifty touchdown run and a 55-yard scoop and score by Buckeyes cornerback Sevyn Banks, and Ohio State had it under control.
NO. 14 NORTH CAROLINA 48, NO. 23 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 21
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Javonte Williams ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 14 North Carolina beat No. 23 North Carolina State 48-21 in Saturday’s renewal of the longtime state rivalry.
Michael Carter ran for 106 yards and a score of his own for the Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who used a run-through-and-over-tacklers ground game that helped them take control in the third quarter. UNC ran for 326 yards and finished with 578 overall, bouncing back from an upset loss at Florida State to beat the Wolfpack (4-2, 4-2).
Sam Howell threw for 252 yards and a TD for the Tar Heels, while Dyami Brown had 105 yards on a career-best seven catches.
NO. 20 KANSAS STATE 55, KANSAS 14
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Phillip Brooks returned a pair of punts for touchdowns, Kansas State took advantage of an embarrassing day of special teams by its biggest rival, and the Wildcats rolled past Kansas,
Will Howard threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns while Justin Gardner returned an interception 25 yards for another score, helping the Wildcats (4-1) improve to 4-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2014.
Deuce Vaughn added 71 yards rushing and another touchdown as Kansas State beat the Jayhawks (0-5, 0-4) for a series-record 12th straight time. Kansas has not beaten its Interstate 70 rival since Nov. 1, 2008, in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks were playing their first game since coach Les Miles returned from a positive COVID-19 test.
NO. 25 COASTAL CAR0LINA 28, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 14
CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Backup quarterback Fred Payton three three touchdown passes and Coastal Carolina won its first game as a ranked team with a victory over Georgia Southern.
The Chanticleers (5-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) played without starting passer Grayson McCall, who has an upper-body injury. Payton threw a 24-yard TD pass to running back C.J. Marable with 8:53 remaining to break tie.
Georgia Southern dropped to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the Sun Belt.
Image credits: AP
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