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Louisiana native Travis Etienne aims to break losing streak at the Superdome

LSU takes on Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz...
LSU takes on Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.(KPLC)
Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 8:55 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (KPLC) - Clemson running back Travis Etienne Jr. has had a storied career with the Tigers. Etienne has been apart of a national championship team, is a two-time Doak Walker Award finalist, and holds numerous school and conference records.

Despite all that success, the former Jennings running back is 0-2 playing in his home state at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Etienne’s Tigers lost in the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl CFP semifinal to No. 4 Alabama in 2018, and again this past January to No. 1 LSU in the CFP National Championship.

Etienne will get one final shot Friday to change that when No. 2 Clemson takes on No. 3 Ohio State in College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

“It’s a great opportunity that I have and I am thankful for it. The last few times, going 0-2, I feel like at this point I’m tired of talking about what I’m going to do,” said Etienne. “[I want to talk about] the things I’m grateful for. I’m just ready to get to that point and make it right.”

Despite smaller crowds allowed this year due to the pandemic, Etienne is happy to still have his family in attendance.

“I have close to 20 tickets, so I have quite a bit of family coming and they’re going to get to see me play,” admitted Etienne. “My senior year has been a really great opportunity even with COVID-19 and the pandemic going on, so I’m really grateful that they get to see me play in the Superdome.”

Etienne’s usage has shifted with more focus coming from his receiving abilities this season. He’s the only running back in the nation with over 500 receiving yards.

That type of usage will be key when facing the loaded boxes Ohio State is known to deploy.

“The type of defense they play, the eight-man front they present, and just the way they are structured— they are structured to stop the run. That presents a challenge within itself, but we just have to focus on ourselves and come out there with our A-game,” said Etienne. “I just have that mentality that they’re not gonna give us the yards and we’re going to have to go out there and impose our will to win in the trenches.”

That’s not to say Etienne isn’t still wildly effective at running the football. He’s added 882 yards this year to his already recording-breaking career total. Etienne is the ACC’s all-time leading rusher.

He also holds the career touchdown mark. With his 13 touchdowns this season, he joins the rare company of Ron Dayne as the only players in FBS history to score at least 13 rushing touchdowns in four different seasons.

It’s no secret that his success on the field vs. the Buckeyes will be pivotal in sending Clemson to the National Championship.

“It’s a game within a game. Ohio State is structured to stop the run, so we have to find ways to give me the ball and get me in space and just let me be effective other ways in the game. I feel like Coach has really done that and he has put me in a position to do that,” Etienne said. “I feel like going into this game, the offensive line and [the rest of the offense] have great chemistry we’re hitting our stride at the right time and I feel like it’s going to be on notice for the whole world to see.”

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