Trevor Lawrence was ready to step up to the plate when Kelly Bryant was forced to step out in the second quarter of second-ranked Clemson’s game vs. Georgia Southern on Saturday.
The freshman quarterback came on in relief of the senior, and on the second play after Bryant suffered an injury, Lawrence hit a home run, throwing a 57-yard touchdown pass to Justyn Ross that put the Tigers up 14-0 in their eventual 38-7 victory over the Eagles at Death Valley.
“I was just ready to go in,” Lawrence said after the game. “On the sidelines, I put my helmet on and went in right when I saw him go down.”
“I hope he’s good though,” Lawrence added.
Bryant was replaced by Lawrence after being injured on a rushing attempt with under seven minutes remaining in the second quarter. Bryant returned to lead Clemson’s final drive of the first half, which resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run from Tavien Feaster, but the senior quarterback did not play in the second half.
Clemson’s coaching staff said Bryant bruised his chest and underwent a CAT scan and an EKG after the game.
“I don’t really know all the details on it yet,” Lawrence said of Bryant’s injury. “I’ll probably talk to him later tonight. But I’m not totally sure on it.”
Bryant completed 7-of-10 passes for 68 yards and an interception that he threw on Clemson’s opening possession, while Lawrence finished the game 12-of-19 passing for 194 yards, one touchdown and an interception that was the result of a batted ball up in the air.
Lawrence says he was ready to take complete control of the reigns, and that his mentality did not change, after he learned that Bryant would not play in the second half due to the injury.
“I was just ready to go out there and play,” he said. “It didn’t really change anything, we just were not going to be rotating. Same mindset for me, though.”
Clemson’s first three possessions of the game ended in an interception by Bryant, a missed 39-yard field goal by Greg Huegel and lost fumble by Adam Choice, respectively.
But the offense got rolling from there, going on a 13-play, 93-yard drive led by Lawrence that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Travis Etienne.
Lawrence then hooked up with Ross for the long touchdown on Clemson’s next possession, and Feaster scored with under a minute left in the first half to give the Tigers a comfortable lead at halftime.
“There was a linebacker between us, so I put a little air under it,” Lawrence said of his touchdown pass to Ross, who had 103 yards receiving on three catches. “But he ran a good route. It was a good play.”
Overall, Clemson racked up 595 yards of total offense. It was a balanced attack with 309 yards rushing on 46 carries and 286 yards passing on 31 attempts.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense allowed just seven points, 140 total yards and seven first downs.
“We ended up finishing well, but just kind of stalled on a few drives,” Lawrence said. “But I feel like we moved the ball really well. Obviously the defense played really well, so it was a good win.”