Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant passed for 236 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 77 yards and a score in the first start of his career.
The defending national champion Tigers dominated from the outset, scoring on their first three possessions to set the tone in front of 80,121 at Clemson's Memorial Stadium.
While Clemson's offense wasted little time in getting untracked, the Tigers' defense also appeared to be in midseason form, limiting the Golden Flashes of the Mid-American Conference to 120 yards.
Clemson outgained Kent State 326-54 in the first half in building a 28-3 lead.
Junior running back C.J. Fuller capped a four-play, 65-yard drive with a 26-yard run up the middle for Clemson's first touchdown. It took the Tigers just two plays to score on their ensuing possession as Bryant connected with wide receiver Deon Cain for a 61-yard touchdown.
Running back Adam Choice added a 3-yard scoring run with 3:18 left in the first quarter to finish a 10-play, 54-yard drive and provide a 21-0 lead.
Kent State picked up its initial first down on a 7-yard run by quarterback Nick Holley with 1:48 left in the first quarter and the Golden Flashes proceeded to march 55 yards to the Clemson 20-yard line before settling for a 37-yard field goal by Shane Hynes on the fifth play of the second quarter.
But that would be about the only threat the Golden Flashes could muster on a day when Clemson allowed its second- and third-team players to play extensively. Nine players had at least one rushing attempt for the Tigers and 15 players caught at least one pass.