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Clemson Poised For Another Run

By Carlos Pineda
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Clemson played like the top-ranked team in the nation, handling Miami 38-3 in the ACC Championship game Saturday night.

Clemson played like the top-ranked team in the nation, handling Miami 38-3 in the ACC Championship game Saturday night.

The victory gave the Tigers (12-1) their third straight league title, and secured them a berth in the four-team College Football Playoff. They are likely heading to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Clemson overcame a surprising October loss to Syracuse with six straight wins.

The Tigers became the ninth ACC team to win at least 12 games.

Led by quarterback Kelly Bryant, Clemson was up 14-0 in the first quarter after scoring touchdowns on its first two drives consisting of 10 plays for 68 yards and 7 plays for 71 yards.

Bryant, who was named the game's MVP, completed 23 of 29 passes for 252 yards. He started the game completing his first 15 passes.

The Clemson defense shut down Miami's (10-2) sluggish offense, holding them to 214 total yards and without an offensive score.

Despite their second consecutive loss, the Hurricanes finished with their best season since 2013. Miami is likely to head to the Orange Bowl as the ACC's second best team. Key injuries such as the loss of running back Mark Walton, tight end Chris Herndon and receiver Ahmmon Richards plagued the offense.

As Dabo Swinney and the Tigers head to their third consecutive playoff it's interesting to look back at the questions surrounding the offense with the departure of Deshaun Watson. Bryant stepped in as a third-year rookie and only guided the team to its seventh consecutive 10-win season. While the production was down compared to a year ago, the offense entered Saturday's game ranked second in the ACC in scoring and fourth in total offense.

One thing Clemson has continued to do is be consistent. The Tigers continue to be one of the best teams in college football. Since 2013, Swinney has compiled a 40-3 record, with two national title game appearances and a title.

There's no doubt that Clemson has what It takes to make another deep run.

Carlos Pineda - Carlos Pineda is a featured writer for Southern Pigskin. He covered the UCF Knights football team for Florida Today in 2010. Carlos' work has been published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal. He attended the University of Central Florida. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CarlosFPineda.