By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Kelly Bryant ran around and away from No. 12 Virginia Tech and led No. 2 Clemson to a 31-10 victory Saturday night, the Tigers’ third in three games against teams in the Top 25.
Making just his fifth start, the junior ran for 94 yards, hit Tavien Feaster with a pass the speedy running back took 60 yards for a score and avoided mistakes. He also kept alive a late scoring drive after scrambling right on a play that started at the 5, dodging three Hokies, shaking free from an ankle tackle and eventually turning back upfield at the 23. He zig-zagged all the way back to the 4.
The defending national champion Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have also beaten No. 13 Auburn 14-6 and No. 17 Louisville 47-21. This triumph was their 12th in a row on the road, and fifth in a row against Virginia Tech, including the 2016 ACC championship.
Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1) never mustered much offense and got its only touchdown after Isaiah Simmons made an ankle tackle on Greg Stroman’s 43-yard punt return to the Tigers 2. Sean Savoy ran it on the next play, but the Hokies had just 234 yards through three quarters.
Feaster and C.J. Fuller also scored on 1-yard runs for the Tigers, and Dorian O’Daniel returned an interception 22 yards for a TD.
Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson threw two interceptions after throwing 11 touchdown passes and just one interception through four games. He accounted for the final score with a 30-yard pass to Savoy with 1:32 remaining.
Clemson: The Tigers’ defensive front was as stellar as Hokies coach Justin Fuente said it would be, giving Jackson little time to throw and seeming to close running lanes easily. Despite some nicks in the secondary, the Clemson defensive backfield also ran step-for-step on long passing attempts by Jackson, while Kelly, who came in with three interceptions and two touchdown passes, showed no inclination to be rattled in the rare moments when Virginia Tech applied pressure.
Virginia Tech: Despite playing the Tigers close in last year’s ACC championship, the Hokies didn’t appear quite ready for an opponent this good and seasoned after two straight appearances in the national championship game. Their offensive line got very little push and the Tigers didn’t allow the Hokies’ to get much productivity from their favored short passing game.
Clemson is at home against Wake Forest.
Virginia Teach heads out on the road against Boston College.