Top-ranked Clemson Tigers drub outmatched Charlotte 49ers

Clemson’s Lyn-J Dixon (23) rushes while being defended by Charlotte’s Jacione Fugate.
Clemson’s Lyn-J Dixon (23) rushes while being defended by Charlotte’s Jacione Fugate. AP

The top-ranked Clemson Tigers made quick work of the Charlotte 49ers in a 52-10 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Getting explosive plays on both sides of the ball, Clemson (4-0) jumped out to a 31-0 lead in the second quarter. The 49ers (2-2) got their only touchdown in the third quarter on a quarterback keeper by Chris Reynolds from 8 yards out after the 49ers had recovered a muffed punt by Clemson.

Clemson scored on its second play from scrimmage, a 58-yard strike from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to Tee Higgins. On Charlotte’s next possession, Clemson’s K’Von Wallace picked off a Reynolds pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown.

The lead grew to 31-0 after Lawrence threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cornell Powell and Lin-J Dixon scored on a 1-yard run, during which he flipped into the end zone.

The 49ers got their first points on a 24-yard field goal by Jonathan Cruz.

Penalties were a huge issue for Charlotte. The 49ers were flagged 11 times for 106 yards.

The 49ers were playing without three injured senior defensive starters — end Tyriq Harris (lower back), linebacker Jeff Gemmell (ankle) and safety Ben DeLuca (shoulder). True freshman linebacker Prince Bemah (knee) also missed the game.

The game changed when …

What appeared to be a fumble on Clemson’s first play of scrimmage by Travis Etienne was instead ruled stopped by forward progress. On the next play, Lawrence hit Higgins over the top for a 58-yard touchdown pass and the rout was on..

Helmet stickers

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: The Heisman-candidate quarterback completed 7-of-9 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns in one quarter of action.

Benny LeMay, Charlotte: Senior running back was a bright spot for 49ers, rushing for 81 yards on 18 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Making sense of the numbers

16:47-13:13: Charlotte’s time of possession edge in the first half, illustrating how effective Clemson’s big-play capability was.

125-7: Clemson is celebrating its 125th year of football this season; Charlotte is playing its seventh year of the sport.

In case you missed it

A few scenes from a Disney movie called “Safety” — based on the life of former Clemson player Ray Ray McElrathbey — were filmed at halftime. Included were “Tigers” actors running down the famous end zone hill (with the real crowd cheering) and several plays on the field.

David Scott: @davidscott14