Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Clemson RB Travis Etienne plays 'for Him,' thanks God after setting FBS touchdown record

The Clemson Tigers proved once again Saturday night why they are the No. 1 team in the country, as they easily dispatched No. 7 Miami, 42-17, to improve to 4-0 on the season. The star for the Tigers on this particular night in Death Valley was senior running back Travis Etienne.

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Etienne carried the ball 17 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns (an average of 8.8 yards per attempt) while also catching eight passes for 73 more yards.

In the process, Etienne added another record to his ever-increasing list of accomplishments: the most games in which a player has scored at least one rushing or receiving touchdown. His 39th game with a touchdown broke the previous NCAA Division I mark held by Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon.

“Honestly, it will probably take me a while to reflect on that,” Etienne told reporters in a press conference following the game. “It’s just a tremendous accomplishment and I just want to first off thank God. Without Him, I wouldn’t even be here in this situation.”

Etienne added later in the press conference that the success he’s had during his college career will probably mean more to him with each passing year.

“I mean it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said. “We are just so deep into the grind, just trying to get better each and every week. I guess when I’m older, 10 years later looking back on it, man it’s going to really hit me and just going to look back and see all things that I was able to accomplish coming here to Clemson.”

The two rushing touchdowns Etienne accumulated against the Hurricanes now gives him 60 for his career, to go along with his seven career receiving touchdowns. He’s surpassed 1,600 yards on the ground each of the past two years and has never averaged less than seven yards per carry for a season since he arrived on campus in 2017.

After he tied the record last week in a 41-23 win over Virginia, Etienne was also sure to give praise to God.

“It’s just a humbling experience,” he said. “I’m thankful God put me in such a great place to be able to accomplish these things. I couldn’t do this by myself. I just want to thank everybody who’s been a part of my career, getting me to this point to accomplish this … To be able to accomplish that feat, it’s the God-given ability to go out and play for Him. It’s a crazy experience. It’s humbling. I’m very blessed.”

As Etienne’s fame continues to grow nationwide — he’s among those in the Heisman Trophy discussion — he has not shied away from sharing his faith on Twitter. His head coach, Dabo Swinney, and his superstar quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, are also outspoken believers.

Etienne won ACC Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 while earning first-team All-America honors after his sophomore campaign. He was eligible to declare for the NFL Draft at the conclusion of the 2019 season, but he surprised many by returning.

His personal success has coincided with unprecedented success from Clemson’s football program. He’s been a vital offensive weapon as the program made it to the national championship game each of the past two years, winning the first, 44-16, over Alabama. The Tigers are the favorites for a third consecutive appearance this season.

Etienne will look to add to his new touchdowns record when he and his Clemson Tigers teammates travel to take on 2-2 Georgia Tech on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on ABC.

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