Lawrence: ‘The goal is to go undefeated against these guys’

Lawrence: ‘The goal is to go undefeated against these guys’

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Lawrence: ‘The goal is to go undefeated against these guys’

Clemson quarterback set for his first game against the Gamecocks

Growing up in Cartersville, Ga., Trevor Lawrence did not know much about the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry. He knew the two played every year, but he did not know how intense it was until he watched last year’s game in Columbia.

The second-ranked Tigers, who will host the Gamecocks on Saturday at Death Valley, beat South Carolina rather easily that night. However, it wasn’t the intensity on the field as much as it was in the stands and on the sideline that stuck out to him the most.

South Carolina’s student section was throwing objects at Clemson players on the field and were making rude hand gestures from the stands. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney chased down the officials and gave them an earful after wide receiver Hunter Renfrow was hit in the back with a Coke bottle following a second-quarter touchdown.

“You can definitely tell how intense the rivalry is,” Clemson’s freshman quarterback said. “I’m excited for it.”

Lawrence grew up a Tennessee fan, and he admits he was taught not to like the Florida Gators. So, he has somewhat of an understanding of how the fans, on both sides, feel.

“I did not really hate them, but growing up a Tennessee fan, our big rival is Alabama,” he said. “But Tennessee-Florida is the one I remember the most growing up and watching, and my family not liking Florida being that they’re Tennessee fans.”

Being that he now lives in Clemson and is from North Georgia, Lawrence has not had many run ins with Gamecocks. He admits the few times he has encountered a South Carolina fan, they were good experiences.

His teammates, however, have not been as lucky.

“I have heard some of the stories with some fans doing some questionable things,” he said smiling. “But I have had good interactions for the most part with those guys just being in this area.”

Though he is new to the rivalry, Lawrence understands how important is to Clemson fans. He also understands the big roles his predecessors played in the rivalry.

Charlie Whitehurst of course went 4-0 against the Gamecocks in his career, the only quarterback in the rivalry’s history to do it, while Deshaun Watson was 3-0 against the Gamecocks.

“Definitely, the goal is to go undefeated against these guys,” Lawrence said. “That is definitely a goal to go for.”

This year, the Tigers (11-0) are going for five straight in the series, something no Clemson team has done since the 1934-’40 teams won seven straight over the Gamecocks. No matter what happens, Lawrence is sure to play a role in the outcome.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 7 p.m., and will be televised by ESPN.

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