For the Clemson Tigers, they’re putting all the rankings, the comments and everything that comes with it behind them. They’re focused on just playing football and having fun.
The second-ranked Tigers did that in last week’s win over Florida State and cruised to an easy 31-point victory.
“It worked out well. We weren’t thinking too much,” quarterback Trevor Lawrence said.
No, instead Clemson was playing and played perhaps its best game of the season. On defense, the Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC) held the Seminoles to 253 total yards and to just 2-of-13 on third down, while forcing four turnovers.
On offense, the Clemson came out firing right out of the gate with a 40-yard Lawrence to Tee Higgins pass on the first play of the game. All afternoon they kept pushing the ball downfield, while throwing in a few wrinkles, such as a halfback pass on the first drive that Travis Etienne completed for 28 yards to Justyn Ross, and then a reverse on the opening drive of the third quarter, which Amari Rodgers ran into the end zone from 29 yards out.
“We just went out and played,” Lawrence said. “We played with a faster tempo, were aggressive and took some shots.”
The Florida State game was arguably the best all-round game the Tigers have played to this point of the season. They definitely played better than they did at Chapel Hill on Sept. 28, a game, by the way, they still found a way to win, 21-20.
“We wanted to prove we are a better team than that and we can do a lot more than we did. We have high expectations for ourselves, just like a lot of people do,” Lawrence said. “I felt like we were really efficient, and we were executing well. We were really rolling. The tempo really got us in a rhythm and made us feel confident.”
Some of it can be owed to Lawrence, who stood up in a team meeting last week and addressed his teammates.
“I just told the guys don’t waste the day. We have at most, three months of this season left, and you are going to look back and if you did not do all the things you could have done, you are going to have some regrets,” the All-ACC quarterback said. “Don’t waste the day. In three months go get a break, relax and kind of rethink everything. As for now, let’s just go to work and take every step and take advantage of everything we have.”
Clemson will try to take advantage of Louisville on Saturday when it visits Cardinal Stadium for a noon kick. The game will be televised by ABC.
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