Score one for the ACC: Clemson knocks off Auburn

Maybe it's because of the SEC's ongoing total domination of college football's upper echelons, but any time anyone gets a knock in against the league, it's like scoring an uppercut on '80s-era Tyson. Sure, maybe you only made him mad, but for the moment you've got the upper hand.

Saturday night, No. 14 Clemson topped Auburn in a 26-19 comeback win in Atlanta that says more about Clemson's options than it does about Auburn's drawbacks.

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The Tiger-on-Tiger violence started slow with two Clemson field goals, but Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier tossed a 54-yard touchdown to a wide-open Emory Blake. Both teams seemed out of sync, but Clemson knocked off the offseason rust while Auburn never could get completely on track.

On both sides of the ball, Clemson seemed entirely unlike the team that got hammered by West Virginia 70-33 in last year's Orange Bowl. This year's model piled up 528 yards of total offense, with Tajh Boyd throwing for 208 and Andre Ellington rushing for 231 of that. Most notably, Boyd put Clemson ahead for good with 9 minutes left in the game, throwing a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins that posted Clemson to a 23-19 lead.

Auburn, for its part, couldn't run and couldn't hold onto the ball. While Auburn peeled off a few highlight-worthy plays, it lacked the essential ground game and brick-wall defense it'll need to survive in the SEC.

This marked the first-ever victory of an ACC team in the five-game history of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff. Hey, winning streaks have to start somewhere, but it's anyone's guess if it'll continue: next year's version features Virginia Tech against Alabama. Start making your plans now.