Clemson players using last year's loss to Alabama as motivation
The prevailing statement coming out of Clemson during Tuesday’s media day for the 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic was their trip to Dallas “is a business trip.”
A few Tigers admitted at the Poe Indoor Practice facility that they got a little carried away and had too much fun in New Orleans last year, which they believe contributed to their loss to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
“We had a little bit too much fun in Louisiana last year,” defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence said.
That defeat has stuck with the Tigers all year and has motivated them to get to this point, an opportunity to redeem themselves in the College Football Playoff. Clemson, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The winner of the Cotton Bowl plays the winner of the Orange Bowl between No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma, on Jan. 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif., in the CFP National Championship Game.
Last year, Clemson could never get things going in the Sugar Bowl as the Crimson Tide’s defense returned one interception for a touchdown and returned another inside the five-yard line to set up another score. The Tigers were held to 188 total yards.
Alabama won the game, 24-10.
Lawrence says the Tigers (13-0) are all business as they get set to play the Irish. The All-American says the Tigers will be focused on the task at hand and not having fun.
“That is the difference in this team. We know we cannot do that,” he said. “There is a different mindset that we have to bring for this bowl game. We have all the time in the world and we are in a different city that everybody wants to explore, but at the end of the day, we are there for business and we have to take care of our next goal and that is to win these four quarters.”
Though he was not at Clemson in last year’s playoff loss to Alabama, quarterback Trevor Lawrence says there is no pressure on the Tigers because they know if they are prepared, then good things are going to happen.
“The way you take pressure off of the moment is to prepare beforehand,” he said. “We have done that, and we are going to continue to do that, obviously, and get a bit of time before we play. That is how you lessen that pressure in the moment, just be ready.”
Clemson is 3-2 all-time in the College Football Playoff.