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RECAP: Hurricanes avoid shutout in ACC Championship loss to Clemson, 38-3

Miami could not overcome a slow start to defeat the defending national champions.

ACC Football Championship - Clemson v Miami Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Top-ranked Clemson (12-1, 8-1) defeated seventh-ranked Miami (10-2, 7-2 ACC) 38-3, in the ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The Coastal Division Champions could not bounce back from the terrible loss to Pittsburg and fell to the nation’s top ranked team.

Miami started slow on offense and was unable to get things going in the second half finishing with 214 total yards.

Miami was without RB Mark Walton, TE Christopher Herndon, and WR Ahmmon Richards.

The Hurricanes dealt with several injuries during the game that continued to impact the team’s depth.

“We have guys that can play against anybody in America,” said Head Coach Mark Richt. “We just don’t have enough guys that can play against anybody in America. We’ll get there.”

The defending national champions scored 96 unanswered points in the series against Miami since 2010 before Miami nailed a field goal at the end of the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.

Miami has a ton of motivation to finish the season on high note and win its bowl game. The Hurricanes reached their first ACC Championship game and had a 10-win season for the first time since 2003.

“The season has still been a success and we have a lot to play for,” Shaq Quarterman said.

Play-by-play wrap-up

Clemson received the ball to start the game and quickly marched down the field to score a touchdown on the opening drive. The 10-play drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Travis Etienne. Kelly Bryant completed three passes to Hunter Renfrow for 41 yards and added 11 yards running the ball. 7-0 Clemson.

Miami took over at their own 25. After a short gain by Travis Homer, a false start penalty, and a broken-up pass to Jeff Thomas, Miami was forced to punt the ball.

On the ensuing punt, Clemson fumbled the ball resulting in an early Turnover chain sighting. Trent Harris recovered the ball and Miami took over on Clemson’s 37-yard line.

Malik Rosier connected with Lawrence Cager for an 11-yard gain followed by two runs by Travis Homer that netted 4-yards total. Braxton Berrios loss 7 yards on the pass from Rosier forcing the team to kick a field goal. Michael Badgley missed the 46-yard field goal and Miami could not capitalize on the turnover.

Clemson got the ball on its own 29 and was on the move. Bryant completed a pass to Etienne for 4 yards and to Ray-Ray McCloud for 40 yards. Sheldrick Redwine forced a fumble on the catch, but it was recovered by Clemson. The fumble rolled from the Clemson 33 to the Miami 27 for a gain of 40 yards and a Clemson first down. Etienne ran for 8 yards, and McCloud caught a pass for 12-yards before Bryant scored a TD on an 11-yard scramble. 14-0 Clemson

Miami’s drive stalled after Rosier was sacked and an incomplete pass to Berrios. Zach Feagles booted a 16-yard punt giving Clemson great field position.

The Tigers needed 9 plays and a 41-yard drive to extend their lead. Three drives, three touchdowns. 21-0 Clemson.

Miami took over on its own 20. Rosier converted a first down on a quarterback sneak after two short gains by Homer. After a one yard loss, Jeff Thomas was open for a first down but Rosier overthrew him on a rollout. Feagles punted.

The Tigers marched down the field again, but the drive stalled after two back-to-back incompletions. Miami’s defense forced Clemson into a third and long and got its first stop of the night forcing Bryant to throw the ball away. Bryant went 15-15 with 164 yards before those two incompletions.

Miami’s offense sputtered with a quick three and out and punted on four-of-five possessions.

Clemson punted on its next possession after Miami’s defense held them to 6 yards on 3 plays. Tavien Feaster gained 6 yards followed by two incomplete passes by Bryant.

The ‘Canes got the ball back but could not do much with the great field position. They gave the ball back to Clemson and Homer gave Miami a boost by downing the punt at the 1-yard line.

The teams traded 3-and-outs before Clemson closed the half with the ball. Miami stopped the Tigers’ final three third-down attempts of the half, and quarterback Kelly Bryant missed his final four pass attempts after completing his first 15.

Miami opened the half with a first down after a 16-yard rush by Rosier on a quarterback keeper, but he was sacked on third down.

Clemson started its possession across midfield on Miami’s 44 after a 19-yard return by McCloud and a facemask penalty on Miami. Feaster got the drive going with a 5-yard run. Bryant connected on 2-of-3 throws before getting sacked by Amari Carter for a 4-yard loss. Alex Spence extended the Tigers lead with a 46-yard field goal. 24-0 Clemson.

Rosier completed a 20-yard pass to Jeff Thomas, but Ryan Carter forced a fumble recovered by Clemson. The Tigers took over in plus territory. Miami’s defense forced a punt before taking over at 17-yard line.

The Hurricanes got the ball back and Rosier completed a 14-yard pass to Braxton Berrios before his pass was intercepted by Clemson. The Tigers were able to extend their lead on a 11-yard touchdown by Feaster on the following possesion. 31-0 Clemson.

DeeJay Dallas started the drive with three plays in the Wildcat. He gained 26 yards on his first three carries then Miami ran a double-reverse but Rosier overthrew Berrios. Rosier was intercepted on the next play by Kendall Joseph.

RJ McIntosh forced a fumble on the next Clemson drive, but the Tigers recovered the ball after losing 14-yards. Deon Cain scored on the next play on a 27-yard reception from Bryant. 38-0 Clemson.

Hunter Johnson and Derek Cooper shared time taking command of Clemson’s offense and both teams traded punts.

With 7 minutes remaining, Badgley booted a 22-yard field goal in garbage time to avoid the shutout. Final: Clemson 38 UM 3.

Up next

Miami hopes to head to the Capital One Orange Bowl for the program's fifth consecutive bowl game appearance.

On possibly getting into the Orange Bowl: "I'd be excited," Richt said. Senior Berrios echoed the same sentiments.