‘I was thinking too much about what I need to do to live up to the expectations’
Trevor Lawrence is having fun, and lately, he and the Clemson offense has had a lot of fun.
In the last six weeks, the third-ranked Tigers have rolled through their competition, while putting up record numbers along the way. Clemson has averaged 52.5 points and 590.7 yards per game, while becoming the first college football team since 1972 to beat four consecutive opponents by 45 or more points. No ACC team has ever done it.
It’s no secret Clemson’s offensive dominance has come during the same stretch in which Lawrence has been on fire, playing perhaps the best in his young college career to this point. In this past Saturday’s 52-3 victory over Wake Forest, Clemson’s quarterback completed 21 of 27 passes for 272 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. And just as importantly, he did not turn the football over for a fourth straight game.
“I’m just playing, playing for myself and my teammates and just this program and not really worrying about all the expectations and everything that is on me. I’m just having fun and enjoying the moment,” Lawrence said.
After starting the Louisville game rough—3-for-7 for 9 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns—Lawrence has not thrown an interception in the last 19 quarters and is completing 77.4 percent of his passes.
In those 19 quarters, he has completed 86-of-111 passes for 1,265 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“He has been playing well. I don’t know what it is and I am not going to take credit for it, but if I had to guess, and just give my analysis of it, he has found out how to block out the noise like he did last year,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “He is not worried about what people are saying and he is not letting anyone get inside his head. He is just going to work every day and he is not trying to do too much.”
Lawrence agreed with Elliott. Though he was still having fun, he was pressing at times, feeling as if he had to prove everyone right. He felt he had to prove to everyone that he was a Heisman Trophy candidate and was one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
“I do think I was thinking too much about what I need to do to live up to the expectations and I think it is easy to start thinking about those things,” the sophomore said. “It has been good to be able to play free and not really worry about that stuff. I feel confident about what we are doing and what I am doing so I am not really worried about all the expectations of what people will say.”
Since he cleared his mind and blocked out all the noise, no one has been able to slow the Tigers down. Lawrence has thrown 19 touchdown passes in the last six games, becoming the first Clemson quarterback ever to toss three or more touchdowns in six straight games.
To put that in perspective, LSU’s Joe Burrow, the leader in the Heisman Trophy race, has thrown three or more touchdowns in five of the last six games. He has thrown 21 touchdown passes during that same span.
“(Lawrence) understands he has a ton of weapons around him. He has a ton of support,” Elliott said. “He does not have to do everything by himself and I think that has allowed him to go out and play with the cool and calm that we are used to.”