Clemson vs. Georgia Tech score: No. 1 Tigers make statement in trouncing Yellow Jackets in opener
Clemson didn't need a superstar performance from its star QB to get a blow out win on Thursday
A big part of picking No. 1 Clemson to make it back to the College Football Playoff, if you were among the many experts or fans to to do so, had to with a strong sophomore season from seemingly NFL-ready quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Thursday night's opener against Georgia Tech did little to sway anyone from the belief that Lawrence is among the best quarterbacks in the country, but it did remind us that the most impactful star in the offense might be elsewhere in the Tigers' backfield.
Travis Etienne, the 2018 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, got right back to his productive ways in a 52-14 win against the Yellow Jackets. The junior running back totaled 205 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries, following the lead of a stellar offensive line and showcasing the breakaway speed that makes him just as dangerous as any of the highly touted wide receivers on Clemson's roster.
Etienne's performance served as a great reminder of where Dabo Swinney values excellence on the football field. Clemson's wide receiver room is as talented as anyone in the country, with Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross leading a group that creates matchup problems against most defensive backfields, but the Tigers offense starts with winning battles at the line of scrimmage and opening running lanes for Etienne and the rest of Clemson's running backs to keep opponents on their heels.
That said, Higgins did put up one of the best plays of the night on a 62-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Lawrence.
There's a long list of passing game stars that have excelled under Swinney, a former wide receivers coach himself. But last season's 15-0 title run was powered by Etienne and elite play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Georgia Tech is a program in Year Zero with low expectations, but it's still an ACC opponent that faces the Tigers every year. Clemson's dominance on Thursday night should not be served with asterisk, but as a warning sign to the rest of the league that even on a night when Lawrence puts up a pedestrian stat line -- 13-for-23 passing for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions -- the Tigers are going to be good enough to win the league.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from Clemson vs. Georgia Tech. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here.
Thanks for stopping by.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Faulk has been on the LSU staff since 2018 and previously served as the director of player...
The LA Bowl will play its first game in December 2020, and will take place in SoFi Stadium...
Wyatt is facing charges of criminal trespass, damage to property and family violence
Ohio State's former star is taking a leadership role attempting to pass name, image and likeness...
Day led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff in his first full season at the helm
With more than 80,000 confirmed cases around the world, Michigan has opted to cancel its yearly...
CBS Sports was with you all day covering National Signing Day as the Class of 2020 wrapped...
Complete analysis, highlights and coverage of the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Miami (OH) vs. Louisiana football game