No. 4 Clemson stays in playoff hunt with 61-3 Citadel win
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Kelly Bryant threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns and was out of the game before halftime as No. 4 Clemson comfortably remained in the playoff race with a 61-3 win over The Citadel on Saturday.
The lower-division Bulldogs were out of this one quickly. After Bryant's 14-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Chase on the offense's 26th play, Clemson (10-1, No. 2 College Football Playoff) led 28-0.
Bryant completed 17-of-22 passes before Tigers coach Dabo Swinney started putting in backups at quarterback and other places to work on the two-minute drill before the end of the first half.
Freshman receiver Tee Higgins caught six passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and fellow freshman Travis Etienne ran eight times for 62 yards and two TDs as Clemson scored on nine of its first 10 possessions and ended the game with 662 yards, their third game over 600 yards this season.
Clemson honored its seniors at its last home game. But for a playoff contender, it was quite a low-key celebration. The Tigers have just six seniors on scholarship and only three of them are starters. Two juniors who will graduate were also honored. One of those, defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, lifted his leg high by his foot, a homage to the splits he did in the confetti after last season's national title.
The Citadel (5-6) ran for 155 yards. Jordan Black completed one pass for the Bulldogs for 61 yards to Raleigh Webb in the fourth quarter setting up a 30-yard field goal for the Bulldogs only score. The Citadel also had two interceptions.
Citadel: The Bulldogs were paid $300,000 for Saturday's game ... Eleven Citadel seniors played the final game of their careers. This year's class won the Southern Conference and made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs twice and won 29 games -- second only to the 1990-93 class' 30 victories ... South Carolina's only military college was quite the appropriate opponent for Clemson's Military Day celebrations.
Clemson: The Tigers have now won at least 10 games for seven years in a row. The only longer active streak is Alabama at 10 seasons. Swinney has half of all of Clemson's 10-win seasons in its 121 years of football ... One of Bryant's touchdown passes went to Hunter Renfro. It was his first TD since catching that 2-yard national championship winning reception last January against Alabama ... Clemson is now 32-0 against FCS teams. ... Dabo Swinney's son Will had a 15-yard catch.
Citadel: The Bulldogs start studying for winter exams as their season ended Saturday.
Clemson: The Tigers travel to rival South Carolina next Saturday, the last hurdle before what could essentially be a playoff quarterfinal against Miami on Dec. 2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.