Clemson fans got what they wanted early in the second quarter when freshman sensation Trevor Lawrence came in for starter Kelly Bryant.
The freshman from Cartersville, Ga., found Tee Higgins and Cornell Powell for long passes and then hit Diondre Overton for a six-yard touchdown pass as the second-ranked Tigers lead Furman 27-0 at halftime.
On Lawrence’s first possession, the Tigers’ fourth overall, he completed a third-down pass to Amari 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.
Bryant, as expected, got off to a shaky start, completing just 5 of his first 10 passes for 65 yards. However, he did find Rodgers on a 40-yard touchdown pass down the far sideline, which gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 7:50 to play in the first quarter.
But Bryant and the offense struggled on the next drive, following a 62-yard Rodgers’ punt return to the Furman 20. Clemson gained just two yards and Huegel was called on for a 35-yard field goal, which gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead with 2:45 to play in the first.
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.
The 62-yard return was also a career-high.