LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence overcame two early interceptions to throw three touchdown passes, Travis Etienne rushed for 192 yards and a score and No. 3 Clemson routed Louisville 45-10 on Saturday for its 22nd consecutive victory.
Darien Rencher and Chez Mellusi added rushing TDs for the Tigers (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who missed first-quarter chances to build a big lead when Lawrence was picked off twice near the goal line. The sophomore quarterback settled down to hit Joseph Ngata and Justyn Ross with second-quarter TDs for a 17-3 halftime lead.
Lawrence’s 10-yard TD to Cornell Powell made it 31-3, and he finished 20 of 29 for 233 yards.
The Tigers also posted six sacks and kept Louisville (4-3, 2-2) out of the end zone until Javian Hawkins’ 3-yard TD late in the game. Clemson outgained Louisville 551-263 and improved to 6-0 all-time against the Cardinals.
Hawkins had 129 yards on 26 carries, but Louisville never got closer than 10-3 after winning its previous two games.
Clemson will retain its top-five spot with a decisive win after a slow start.
Clemson: After initially looking like they’d have to work to get past Louisville, the Tigers dialed in on both sides of the ball for another blowout since their one-point escape at North Carolina. They rushed for 298 yards and held the Cardinals to just 107 yards passing, The Tigers have scored over 40 points in two straight games.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ hopes of following up their win over Wake Forest with a huge upset never materialized despite hanging in with defense early on. They couldn’t take advantage of those initial interceptions and eventually faded against the ACC’s top defense and one of its best offenses.
Clemson hosts Boston College on Oct. 26.
Louisville hosts Virginia on Oct. 26.