TAMPA, JAN. 1 -- DeChane Cameron ran a ball-control offense and Clemson's defense scored one touchdown and set up one today as the 14th-ranked Tigers routed Illinois, 30-0, in the Hall of Fame Bowl.
He threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 76 yards on 17 carries as the Tigers, runners-up to Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference, finished 10-2 for the fourth consecutive season. They have won five straight bowl games.
"I couldn't be prouder of this team, and especially the senior leadership that we received," said Ken Hatfield, the Tigers' first-year coach. "It was Clemson's first bowl shutout and these seniors have won 40 games, which is an ACC record."
"We didn't expect the number of passes they threw," said Illinois linebacker Darrick Brownlow, who was ejected after a third-quarter scuffle that ended with Clemson's James Trapp also being ejected.
Sixteenth-ranked Illinois (8-4) was no match for the nation's top-ranked defense, totaling 247 yards and bogging down three times inside the Clemson 35.
John Johnson recovered Howard Griffith's fumble at the Illinois 14 to set up Clemson's first touchdown. Arlington Nunn intercepted Jason Verduzco's pass and returned it 34 yards for a second-quarter touchdown that gave the Tigers a 24-0 halftime lead.
Cameron, who completed 14 of 20 passes and was voted the game's most valuable player, sat out the fourth quarter. But Clemson's defense never took a rest. It stopped Illinois on downs at the Clemson 20 with six minutes remaining, then survived Steve Feagin's 21-yard run to the 29 to preserve the shutout in the closing seconds.
Clemson set the tone for the day on its opening possession, driving 71 yards in 16 plays to take a 3-0 lead on Chris Gardocki's 18-yard field goal. Terry Smith had third-down receptions of 11 and 17 yards, and Cameron ran six yards on third and four from the Illinois 10 to keep the march alive.
The Illinois offense never recovered from Griffith's fumble, forced by Chester McGlockton. Six seconds later Cameron's pass to Thomas put Clemson ahead 10-0.
Verduzco, who led the Big Ten in passing yardage and efficiency, threw two interceptions -- one killing a possession in Clemson territory -- and was sacked four times.
No ball carrier gained more than 70 yards on the Tigers during the regular season, and the unit held Griffith, a 1,000-yard runner who broke some of Red Grange's school records, to 59 yards.