Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdown passes as second-ranked Clemson beat Furman 48-7 to open the new season Saturday in front of 80,048 fans at Death Valley.
Lawrence finished the afternoon 9-of-15 for 137 yards.
Though Lawrence had a good game, starter Kelly Bryant also put up solid numbers as he threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers and ran 35 yards for another.
The senior got off to a shaky start by completing just five of his first 10 passes, but he bounced back to complete five of his last six, including a long pass to freshman Derion Kendrick in the third quarter, which set up his 35-yard touchdown with 5:26 to play in the third quarter. He finished the game 10-of-16 for 127 yards. He also rushed for 44 yards on five carries.
Bryant’s touchdown to Rodgers came with 7:50 to play in the first quarter as he hit the sophomore down the far sideline for the Tigers’ first score of the season.
Clemson fans got what they wanted early in the second quarter when Lawrence came in for Bryant. Lawrence threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Diondre Overton in the second quarter and then hit fellow freshmen Justyn Ross and Branden Galloway in the second half.
On Lawrence’s first possession, the Tigers’ fourth overall, he completed a third-down pass to Rodgers. Later, when feeling a blitz up the middle, he found Tee Higgins along the sideline, which the wide receiver turned into a long gain.
Higgins’ catch-and-run set up Greg Huegel’s 49-yard field goal which gave Clemson a 13-0 lead with 9:19 to play in the half.
On Lawrence’s second possession, he found Powell for a career-long 42-yard pass down the sideline after Furman jumped offside. Later, on second-and-goal from the Furman six, he hit Overton for his first-career touchdown pass.
That gave the Tigers a 20-0 lead with 2:54 to play in the half.
Clemson increased its lead to 27-0 with 1:03 to play in the half when Travis Etienne ran in from 8-yards out. Etienne’s touchdown was set up by a 15-yard pass play to freshman Brandon Galloway.
With all the talk of the quarterbacks coming into Saturday’s game, Rodgers was the star of the first half for Clemson. The sophomore scored his first career-touchdown with his 40-yard reception from Bryant and his 62-yard punt return set up the Tigers’ second score, a 35-yard Greg Huegel field goal.
Lawrence later threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ross in the third quarter and an eight-yard score to Galloway in the fourth quarter.
The defense was on all day. The Tigers’ first-and-second team defenders were pitching a shutout before the Paladins got a late touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Furman finished the game with 163 total yards. Clemson had 531 total yards.