ARLINGTON, Texas – Second-ranked Clemson did as they willed in a 30-3 win over No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday in the Cotton Bowl Classic. In doing so the Tigers (14-0) earned a third trip to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in four seasons.
Following each game, The Clemson Insider gives out helmet stickers to players who contributed with outstanding individual performances.
Throughout the week pundits wondered if freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence could handle the big stage of a CFP Semifinal, he answered those questions with a resounding yes. Lawrence finished the day 27-of-39 for 327 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers earning him the Sanford Trophy for the Cotton Bowl’s “Outstanding Offensive Player.”
He continued to show his ability to created explosive plays by completing touchdown passes of 52 and 42 yards against a Notre Dame team that had only given up one passing touchdown over 20 yards on the season. Now he is set to compete in his first national championship game.
Bryant stepped up the edge to keep Irish quarterback Ian Book at bay. The Clemson defense combined to sack Book six times on the afternoon for 26 yards and recorded eight tackles-for-loss for 37 yards.
He finished the day with team-high six tackles, two sacks on back to back plays, three tackles-for-loss and a quarterback hurry. Bryant’s performance earned him the McKnight Trophy for the games “Outstanding Defensive Player.”
Higgins finished the day with just four catches for 53 yards, third on the Clemson team. But, he had by far the most impressive play and one of the best plays many have witnessed when he went up and hauled in a 19 yard touchdown pass with one hand and touched his foot in the back of the end zone for the score.
Even with just a few catches Higgins’ impact is felt in the Tigers’ passing game and he certainly contributed in the Cotton Bowl.
All week people wondered if Huggins could fill the shoes of Dexter Lawrence who is suspended for a violation of the NCAA’s drug use policy. He stepped up and held Notre Dame to 88 yards rushing while collecting a tackle and quarterback hurry.
Renfrow continued his trend of shining in CFP games with four catches for 62 yards against the Irish. His longest reception of the day was for 32 yards and he also drew a pass interference that led to a Clemson touchdown.