No. 4 Clemson tops NC State 55-10, wins ACC division title

No. 4 Clemson tops NC State 55-10, wins ACC division title
Renderings of possible upgrades to Memorial Stadium at Clemson University (Source: Clemson University)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Trevor Lawrence threw for two scores and ran for another in a dominating first quarter for fourth-ranked Clemson, which beat North Carolina State 55-10 on Saturday night to clinch a trip to Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

The reigning national champion Tigers learned this week that they were on the outside looking in for the first rankings for the four-team College Football Playoff. Yet coach Dabo Swinney had said the Tigers (10-0, 7-0, No. 5 CFP) were in a "good spot" and needed to focus instead on finishing strong.

Starting that way was enough against the Wolfpack (4-5, 1-4) as Clemson extended its school-record winning streak to 25 games.

By halftime, Clemson led 42-0. That first half was highlighted by 6-foot-4, 330-pound left guard John Simpson taking a goal-line handoff and plowing in for a 1-yard touchdown. Near the end of the game, Clemson added a 1-yard scoring run with 11 seconds left before letting linebacker James Skalski unsuccessfully kick the extra point.

There weren’t many positives for N.C. State beyond freshman Zonovan Knight’s 53-yard TD run. That came early in the third quarter, long after the Wolfpack’s typically rowdy fans had fled for the exits to leave the rest of the game to play out in a largely empty Carter-Finley Stadium.