2020 Clemson Tigers football team
The 2020 Clemson Tigers football team represented Clemson University during the 2020 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Dabo Swinney, in his 12th full year. The Tigers competed as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina.
The season was played amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ACC settled on an eleven-game football schedule, with ten conference games with no divisions and one non-conference game. Clemson canceled their previously scheduled non-conference games against Akron and South Carolina, and kept their game against The Citadel. Precautions were taken to reduce the spread of the virus, including testing, isolation requirements, and limitations on the number of fans in attendance.
Clemson began the year ranked first in the preseason AP Poll, and handily won their first seven games of the season, including a 42–17 win over then-No. 9 Miami (FL). Starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19 on October 29, and was forced to miss the team's next two games against Boston College and temporary ACC member Notre Dame. The team escaped with a close win against Boston College, but lost on the road to then-No. 4 Notre Dame in double overtime, 47–40. Clemson won the remainder of their regular season games, and earned a place in the ACC Championship Game by finishing in second in the division-less format with an 8–1 record, behind Notre Dame. In the rematch against the Fighting Irish, this time with Lawrence at quarterback, the Tigers were victorious by a score of 34–10, to win their sixth consecutive ACC title. In the final College Football Playoff rankings of the season, Clemson was ranked second, earning them a place in the national semi-final to be played at the Sugar Bowl against third-seeded Ohio State, a rematch of the previous season's Fiesta Bowl. Clemson lost the rematch, 49–28, to end the season at 10–2 and ranked third in the final polls.
Junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence led the team on offense with 3,153 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns. He was named ACC Player of the Year and finished in second in voting for the Heisman Trophy. The team's leading rusher was Travis Etienne, who was named a consensus All-American all-purpose back. Amari Rodgers was the team's leading receiver and was named first-team all-conference. On defense, the team featured two first-team all-conference members in lineman Bryan Bresee and cornerback Derion Kendrick. Bresee was named the ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year.