All eyes were on Clemson’s returning quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, Thursday against Georgia Tech. The Cartersville, Georgia, native had a historic 2018 season, earning the starting role as a freshman, being in the Heisman conversation, and ultimately winning the coveted National Championship against the highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide.
Lawrence, who had a lot of hype surrounding him heading into this new season, helped the Tigers open their season in winning fashion with a 52-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
“It was great. We did a great job, the offensive line did great, and obviously Travis [Etienne] did too,” said Lawrence, who finished the game 13-of-23 passing for 168 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. “We had to run the ball a little more than we thought we would, but the O-line and running backs were great.”
The sophomore is no stranger to adversity. In fact, last year’s team went through what Lawrence described as just about every situation they could possibly experience in a season. This experience is what prepared the Tigers and Lawrence for the unknowns Georgia Tech brought to the field Thursday and ultimately allowed them to fight through adversity early in the game.
“Just responding to adversity is always good to see,” Lawrence said. “Especially with a team like this that lost so many guys from last year. We are a young team, but we have good leadership and seeing us just kind of fight when some things didn’t go our way, and coming back and responding, that was exciting.”
Lawrence faced some adversity of his own, throwing an almost-pick-six midway through the second quarter.
“Right when I threw it, even before the ball came out, I was like ‘this is going to be big,’ so I went ahead and started running and got him on an angle,” Lawrence said. “I was just trying to make a play and give our defense a chance.”
The starting quarterback did just that, making the stop against Tre Swilling, bringing the Georgia Tech cornerback down at the 2-yard line, allowing the defense to hold them and prevent the touchdown. Lawrence says this grit and love for the game that made him go for the tackle, goes all the way back to his days at Cartersville High School.
“If I ever throw a pick, even in high school, I just wanted to kill the dude whenever I threw a pick because I was so mad, so that’s kind of what I did,” Lawrence said. “I just took off to try and give our defense a chance, and it was great to see them have my back and get that goal line stand out there and the interception was awesome.”
His teammates on defense were impressed with his hard hit, with linebacker Isaiah Simmons joking that they could use him on the other side of the ball.
“I don’t know if he had any other choice but to hit him hard,” Simmons said. “But it was a good hit. We might need to use him.”
Earning his first win of the 2019 season, Lawrence is now ready to turn the page to Texas A&M on Sept. 7. With a little extra time to prepare for next week’s game, Lawrence reminds us that he’s just like every other college kid and planned to kick back and enjoy some college football from the other side of the TV on Saturday.
“I definitely like to watch some football and kind of be a spectator, not in the film room,” he said. “Stuff like that and watching the game live is cool because we don’t get to do that much, so it’ll be fun to do. I’m just going to relax, put this game to bed, and start preparing for Texas A&M soon.”
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