Tigers’ Ellington, Freeman earn ACC weekly awards

Clemson running back Andre Ellington and center Dalton Freeman headline a list of eight players named as the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week, announced by the conference on Tuesday. Ellington rushed for a nation-leading 228 yards and Freeman played every snap at center as the Tigers defeated No. 25 Auburn, 26-19.

Virginia Tech also had two players recognized from its 20-17 Labor Day Monday night overtime win against Georgia Tech. Jack Tyler was named the Linebacker of the Week after tallying a conference-leading 17 tackles, and teammate Cody Journell was named the Specialist of the Week as he connected on a game-tying field goal on the last play of the regulation and the game-winning kick in overtime.

Duke’s Conner Vernon, the Receiver of the Week, became the all-time leader in receptions in Blue Devil history. Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, the Defensive Lineman of the Week, had four sacks for minus-28 yards in just over one half of play. Wake Forest’s A.J. Marshall returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown in a 20-17 win over Liberty and was named the Defensive Back of the Week. Miami’s Duke Johnson rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries against Boston College in his debut.

Ellington gained 228 yards rushing in 25 carries to lead Clemson to a 26-19 victory over 25th ranked Auburn in the season opener in Atlanta.  Ellington’s total was the most in the nation this weekend, the most by a Clemson running back against an SEC team in history, and the most in a season opener.

Ellington had 80 yards rushing in eight carries in the fourth quarter when he set up two scores with long runs. The 228 yards ranks as the fifth-best effort by an ACC back against a ranked opponent. Ellington was named the National Running Back of the Week by College Football Performers and is one of four candidates for the National Player of the Week by ESPN.  Voting will take place during this week.

Freeman played every snap (87) at center and graded a team best 94 percent in the win over Auburn.  Freeman had five knockdown blocks to lead the team in that category as well. The senior directed the Clemson offense from a pace standpoint, as the Tigers ran 87 plays for 528 yards, including 320 rushing yards.

It was the most rushing yards in a game for Clemson in three years. Clemson ran for 137 yards in the fourth quarter and many of the key blocks were provided by Freeman.

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