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.