Clemson moved to 2-0 in the 2020 college football season following a 49-0 win over The Citadel. The defense of the top-ranked Tigers proved to be too much for its FCS opponent, holding the Bulldogs to 162 yards of total offense and 3-of-16 on third down conversions. Linebacker James Skalski returned a fumble for a touchdown in Clemson's first shutout since the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence played the first half, throwing for 168 yards and three touchdowns while adding another score on the ground.
Clemson heads into a bye week at 2-0 and will play its next game at home against Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 3. The teams last met in the 2019 ACC Championship Game, which Clemson won 62-17.
Here is the complete 2020 Clemson football schedule, including opponents, results and players to watch.
2020 Clemson football schedule: Dates, times, opponents, results
Here is the full, detailed schedule for Clemson’s 2020 football season, with broadcast information and results.
|at Wake Forest||Saturday, Sept. 12||7:30 p.m.||ABC||Winston-Salem, NC||W, 37-13|
|The Citadel||Saturday, Sept. 19||4 p.m.||ACCN||Clemson, SC||W, 49-0|
|Virginia||Saturday, Oct. 3||TBD||TBD||Clemson, SC||TBD|
|Miami (Fla.)||Saturday, Oct. 10||TBD||TBD||Clemson, SC||TBD|
|at Georgia Tech||Saturday, Oct. 17||TBD||TBD||Atlanta, GA||TBD|
|Syracuse||Saturday, Oct. 24||TBD||TBD||Clemson, SC||TBD|
|Boston College||Saturday, Oct. 31||TBD||TBD||Clemson, SC||TBD|
|at Notre Dame||Saturday, Nov. 7||7:30 p.m.||NBC||Notre Dame, IN||TBD|
|at Florida State||Saturday, Nov. 21||TBD||TBD||Tallahassee, FL||TBD|
|Pittsburgh||Saturday, Nov. 28||TBD||TBD||Clemson, SC||TBD|
|at Virginia Tech||Saturday, Dec. 5||TBD||TBD||Blacksburg, VA||TBD|
Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all games, dates and times are subject to change.
The Tigers went 14-1 last year, winning their fifth consecutive ACC title. Clemson beat Ohio State 29-23 in one CFP semifinal before falling 42-25 against LSU in the national championship.
Here’s what happened in every game of Clemson’s 2019 schedule:
|Georgia Tech||Thursday, Aug. 29||8 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||52-14|
|Texas A&M||Saturday, Sept. 7||3:30 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||24-10|
|Syracuse||Saturday, Sept. 14||7:30 p.m.||Syracuse, NY||W||41-6|
|Charlotte||Saturday, Sept. 21||7:30 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||52-10|
|North Carolina||Saturday, Sept. 28||3:30 p.m.||Chapel Hill, NC||W||21-20|
|Florida State||Saturday, Oct. 12||3:30 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||45-14|
|Louisville||Saturday, Oct. 19||12:00 p.m.||Louisville, KY||W||45-10|
|Boston College||Saturday, Oct. 26||7:30 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||59-7|
|Wofford||Saturday, Nov. 2||4:00 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||59-14|
|NC State||Saturday, Nov. 9||7:30 p.m.||Raleigh, NC||W||55-10|
|Wake Forest||Saturday, Nov. 16||3:30 p.m.||Clemson, SC||W||52-3|
|South Carolina||Saturday, Nov. 30||12 p.m.||Columbia, SC||W||38-3|
|Virginia||Saturday, Nov. 30||7:30 p.m.||Charlotte, NC||W||62-17|
|Ohio State||Saturday, Dec. 28||8 p.m.||Glendale, AZ||W||29-23|
|LSU||Monday, Jan. 12||9 p.m.||New Orleans, LA||L||42-25|
Top returning players
Clemson finished last season top 5 in scoring defense and scoring offense. In many cases that's a championship formula, but the Tigers were unable to keep up with LSU in the national championship game. Replacing six defensive starters won't be easy, though points shouldn't be too hard to come by in Death Valley with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne both returning.
Lawrence grabbed hold the reigns under center four games into his freshman year and never looked back, leading Clemson to 25 wins and two College Football Playoff appearances — including a national championship victory — in two seasons. It's also worth noting that Lawrence has never lost to an ACC team. That's notable in a year when the Tigers' regular season is exclusively made up of conference opponents. As a sophomore, he threw for 3,665 yards and scored 45 total touchdowns while doubling his interceptions from four to eight. Lawrence's biggest adjustment of 2020 might be the absence of his top two receiving targets — Justyn Ross (injury) and Tee Higgins (NFL) — from a year ago.
Sharing the backfield with Lawrence is Etienne, whose return to Clemson may have come as a surprise to some after posting back-to-back 1,600-yard campaigns in his sophomore and junior seasons. But Etienne isn't just a hard runner or a tough tackle to make, he's also a scoring machine who has found the end zone 62 times through three seasons. Like Lawrence, the Tigers' senior tailback garnered numerous preseason accolades between the AP preseason All-America teams to being named to the Maxwell and Doak Walker Award watch lists.
With Lawrence and Etienne commanding the offense, linebacker James Skalski could potentially become the backbone of coordinator Brent Venables' defense. Skalski lined up for 699 snaps a year ago, the third-most on Clemson's defense behind Isaiah Simmons and AJ Terrell — both 2020 first round NFL Draft picks. The graduate transfer registered 105 tackles, 7.5 for loss in addition to 4.5 sacks and four pass breakups. With Simmons, Tanner Muse and Chad Smith all gone, Skalski could be poised for a bigger role. His 2019 numbers earned him spots on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurksi and Butkus Awards.
We have Clemson at No. 1 in our preseason Top 25. Here’s the breakdown:
This was set regardless of what happened in New Orleans. QB Trevor Lawrence could be the clear Heisman favorite going into 2020, plus he'll get to throw to Justyn Ross. And in big news, RB Travis Etienne, the Tigers' all-time leading rusher, said he's coming back for 2020. There will also be turnover on the offensive line and with losing key defensive standouts, but DC Brent Venables will keep this a powerful unit. The incredible recruiting class will help.
LATEST RANKINGS: AP Top 25
2020 College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff era is entering its seventh season in the 2020-21 season. LSU won a national championship in its inaugural appearance while Clemson extended its streak of consecutive appearances to five years. History is also on Clemson's side coming into the new season. The Tigers are 6-3 in CFP games, having won national championships the year after each of its first two CFP losses.
Here are the dates and sites for the 2020 College Football Playoff semifinals and CFP national championship.
When are the College Football Playoff semifinals?
The CFP semifinals are set for Jan. 1, 2021. One semifinal is the Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. The other semifinal is the Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
When is the 2021 College Football Playoff national championship?
The CFP national championship is a bit later in 2021. The two winners of the semifinals will meet on the second Monday of January in Miami on Jan. 11, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium
Below is a complete history of the College Football Playoff national championship game.
|YEAR (OF GAME)||GAME|
|2015||No. 4 Ohio State 42, No. 2 Oregon 20|
|2016||No. 2 Alabama 45, No. 1 Clemson 40|
|2017||No. 2 Clemson 35, No. 1 Alabama 31|
|2018||No. 4 Alabama 26, No. 3 Georgia 23|
|2019||No. 2 Clemson 44, No. 1 Alabama 16|
|2020||No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25|
2021-2024 CFP national championship locations and dates
2021: Miami-South Florida (Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida) - Jan. 11
2022: Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana) - Jan. 10
2023: Los Angeles (Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, California) - Jan. 9
2024: Houston (NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas) - Jan. 8