After throttling Syracuse last week on the road, Clemson returned to Death Valley to take on the Charlotte 49ers. The Tigers came into the game a 40+ point favorite and figured to go deep into the depth chart to get valuable experience for the reserves.
Clemson kicked off and Isaiah Simmons tackled the returner at the 16. On first down the 49ers picked up 6 yards on an inside run but on 2md down K’Von Wallace batted down a pass at the line. On 3rd and 4 Charlotte couldn’t complete the pass and had to punt. Amari Rodgers fielded it and the Tigers took over at their 40. Travis Etienne picked up a tough 2 yards on 1st down and then Trevor Lawrence hit Tee Higgins streaking down the field with a defender trailing him by several yards and scored with the 58 yard reception. B.Y. Potter’s extra point made it 7-0 Clemson with less than a minute and a half expired on the clock.
Potter kicked it out of the end zone and Charlotte took over at the 25. A couple of good runs moved the 49ers out to the 38. On 1st down Wallace dropped an easy interception. Logan Rudolph blocked a pass on a rollout, but Charlotte had a nice 3rd down run to move the chains into Tiger territory. A short run on 1st down gained about a yard. On 2nd down, Wallace got another chance for an interception and made good on it, taking it 66 yards for the score with great downfield blocking by K.J. Henry and Simmons. Clemson led 14-0 with the Potter extra point.
The 49ers took over at the 25 after the touchback. A couple of runs led to 3rd & 7. Charlotte didn’t get anything on a pass and had to punt again. On 1st down Etienne picked up 12 yards. Lawrence looked for Higgins down the right sideline but the 49er DB committed pass interference. A no-gain run and a dropped flare pass by Etienne set up 3rd & 10. On a rollout draw, Etienne powered his way for 26 yards. From the 49er 21 yard line, Etienne took it down to the 3. On 1st & goal, he was stuffed at the line and on 2nd down he lost 2 yards. On 3rd down, Lawrence rolled left and tried to hit Higgins in the corner of the end zone, but it was nicely defended to force the incompletion. Potter came in an kicked the FG to put the Tigers up 17-0 with 5 minutes left.
Charlotte started at the 25 and picked up 6 yards on 1st down but committed a false start and had 2nd & 9. The 49ers had a nice gain on a slant pass, but a holding penalty set them back. A nice run by Charlotte RB Benny Lemay set up 3rd & 8 but the 49ers couldn’t convert. Rodgers took the punt back 20 yards to the Tiger 40. Lyn-J Dixon picked up 9 yards on 1st down and another 10 on 2nd down. From the 49er 41, hit Frank Ladson on an out route for 6 yards. Joseph Ngata took a short pass down to the 21. J.C. Chalk picked up 3 on a short pass and Dixon got another 5. Ngata got 11 yards on a slant down to the 2 as the 1st quarter expired. On the next play, Lawrence hit Cornell Powell for the score. Clemson led 24-0.
Charlotte took a fair catch and Lemay had a nice run on 1st down. The Tiger defense stiffened after that and forced 3rd & 13. The 49ers picked up 10 and went for it on 4th & 3, but the pass was blocked and the Tigers took over on downs. Chase Brice came in at QB and Etienne picked up 5 yards up the middle. Brice kept it on a read option and picked up 7 yards to get the 1st down. He then rolled out and hit Dixon on a short pass for 7 yards. Etienne picked up a couple and on 3rd & 1, he bulled forward for the 1st down. Will Swinney took a jet sweep for 4 yards and then Brice tried to hit T.J. Chase, but they couldn’t connect. Brice then tried to same throw to Rodgers and Charlotte committed pass interference. Etienne took two carries to get into the end zone. Clemson led 31-0 and the 2nd quarter wasn’t even half over.
Charlotte took the fair catch and started at the 25. They picked up 18 on a poorly defended run. On the next play they got another 15 and the Tigers were called for a late hit. Suddenly Charlotte was in Clemson territory. A holding call moved the 49ers back. Xavier Thomas got TFL and it was 3rd & 17. The 49ers picked up 11 yards and Derion Kendrick committed a personal foul. On 3rd & 5 from the Tiger 7, the pass fell incomplete in the end zone. Charlotte settled for the FG and it was 31-3 with 4:27 left in the half. Dixon picked up 3 yards on 1st down and then Brice hit Diondre Overton for 18 yards. Dixon then got another 18 yards out to the 49er 30. Brice then tried to hit Ladson over the middle but he was interfered with. Dixon then got 7 yards down to the 8. Brice picked up 2 to set up 3rd & 1 from the 6. Dixon powered down to the 1 and then went airborne with a flip to get into the end zone. Clemson was up 38-3. The 49ers took over at their own 2 after a bad decision by their returner. They ran a couple of plays and the clock expired.
Clemson fielded the short kickoff at their 29 to open the 2nd half. Darrien Rencher picked up 5 on 1st down and 1 on 2nd to set up 3rd & 4. The 49ers put pressure on Brice and he had to throw it away. Will Spiers’ punt out of an unusual formation rolled 64 yards down to the 49er 1 yard line. Some short runs and a false start set up 3rd & 6. Lemay had a nice run on an option for the 1st down, but a hold brought it back. That guy is a pretty good RB. Charlotte couldn’t pick up the 1st down on a QB draw and had to punt. It was downed at the 49er 45 yard line. Brice hit TE Luke Price down to the 26. Brice was sacked on 1st down but then hit Ngata down the left sideline for the 37-yard TD. Clemson was up 45-3.
Charlotte started at the 25 and got a 1st down out to the 36 but then the Tigers forced 4th & 1. The 49ers committed a false start penalty and decided to punt. Will Swinney muffed the punt, though, and Charlotte took over at the Tiger 12. K.J. Henry knocked down the 1st down pass and Lemay ran for 4 tough yards to set up 3rd & 6. 49er QB Chris Reynolds ran it in from there. The score was 45-10 with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds and the Tigers took over at their 35. Taisun Phommachanh came in at QB. A couple of runs by Michel Dukes netted 22 yards. Phommachanh hit Brannon Spector for 5 yards and then ran for 12. A couple of plays later Phommachanh was picked off as the DB jumped an out route at the 49er 28.
Charlotte ran several plays and got 10 yards on one of them, but Baylon Spector got a sack. On 3rd & 14, a swing pass only got 5 yards and Charlotte punted. This time Swinney fielded the punt successfully at the Tiger 20. On 2nd down, Swinney picked up 20 yards on a bubble screen. Phommachanh missed a 1st down throw and Chez Mellusi picked up 5 on 2nd down. Phommachanh missed another throw to Jaelyn Lay on 3rd down, and the Tigers had to punt. Aidan Swanson came in to punt but only netted about 30 yards.
Charlotte was playing some of their reserves and moved out to the 40. Lannden Zanders made a leaping sack on 2nd down and the 49ers had to punt two plays later. Clemson took over at their 35. Drew Swinney picked up 11 yards on a catch, powering ahead with defenders on his back. Michel Dukes then had a nice run for 24 yards for the TD. Clemson led 52-10.
Charlotte didn’t do much with their possession and punted. Ben Batson came in at QB and the Tigers moved into Charlotte territory. Patrick McClure also came in at QB on the drive and the clock ran out, giving the Tigers a 52-10 victory.
So, the Tigers did exactly what was expected tonight. Lots of players got onto the field and there were no major injuries. Next week Clemson travels to Chapel Hill to take on UNC. Check back with us over the next few days for the best in-depth coverage of Clemson football that can be found. Let’s hear your thoughts on tonight’s game in the comments below, and as always, thank you for making us part of your Clemson football experience.