ATLANTA — Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence made his return to the Atlanta area a good one in the first half Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.
The Clemson freshman threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow, a 53-yard strike to Justyn Ross and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne as second-ranked Clemson leads Georgia Tech 28-7 at halftime.
Lawrence completed 9-of-14 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. All of it came in the second quarter.
The Yellow Jackets opened the game with a long drive that got them to the Clemson 16-yard line. But a procedure penalty, a fumble and sack fumble and another penalty pushed the ball back and out of field goal range.
The Tigers grabbed the lead thanks to the defense which smothered Tech after the opening drive. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins forced a TaQuon Marshall fumble. He then picked up the loose ball and fumbled it where defensive Clelin Ferrell landed on the loose ball in the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 3:42 to play in the first quarter.
After Clemson struggled to move the ball under starter Kell Bryant, Lawrence came into the game and guided the Tigers on a 7-play, 74-yard drive. He capped the drive by throwing a dart to Renfrow for a 17-yard touchdown. That gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 9:11 to play in the half.
On Clemson’s next possession, Lawrence hit a wide-open Ross in stride for a 53-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 7:05 to play in the half.
Lawrence’s only mistake came on the Tigers’ next possession as his pass hit of the backside of Gage Cervenka and was intercepted. The Yellow Jackets later cashed in on the turnover as Marshall ran 11 yards for a touchdown with 2:08 to play before halftime.
But Lawrence bounced back and completed 6-of-10 passes for 55 yards and ran 11 yards as he guided Clemson on a 12-play, 64-yard drive in 1:53. He capped the drive with his three-yard touchdown pass to Etienne with five seconds to play in the half.
Clemson’s defense held Tech to 75 total yards, all on the ground. The Yellow Jackets were 2-for-8 on third down and averaged 2.2 yards per carry. Marshall was sacked three times.