CLEMSON, S.C. – The No. 5 Clemson Tigers opened the 2017 season with a win on Saturday in Death Valley, defeating the Kent State Golden Flashes 56-3 in the teams’ first meeting. The 56 points were the most the Tigers scored in a season opener since 1990. With the win, the Tigers moved to 1-0 on the season, while the Golden Flashes fell to 0-1.
The Clemson offense amassed 665 yards, the fifth most in school history, between three quarterbacks. The Tigers were led by quarterback Kelly Bryant, who finished the game with 16 completions for 236 yards and a touchdown as well as 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground in his first career start, and Travis Etienne, who ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in his first game in a Tiger uniform. The Clemson defense limited the Kent State offense to just one completion for one yard in five pass attempts.
Clemson got on the board less than two minutes into the game on a 26-yard run by C.J. Fuller, and Bryant threw his first touchdown pass of 2017 just three minutes later, a 61-yard dagger to Deon Cain. The third and final score of the first quarter came on a three-yard touchdown run from Adam Choice.
Kent State’s lone score came on a Shane Hynes 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Bryant’s first rushing touchdown of 2017, an eight-yard run, came later in the same quarter and gave the Tigers a 28-3 lead that they took into halftime.
Clemson opened the scoring in the second half on Fuller’s second touchdown of the game, a two-yard run, and Tavien Feaster also added a 47-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, good for the longest scoring run of his career. Third quarter scoring wrapped up on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Zerrick Cooper to Cornell Powell, and it was the former’s first career touchdown pass and the latter’s first career touchdown reception.
The Tigers’ final score of the day was Etienne’s first career touchdown, a four-yard rush that came four minutes into the fourth quarter.
Clemson returns to action next Saturday when they host Auburn at 7 p.m. at Death Valley.