COLUMBIA — In the history of the Clemson-South Carolina series, there have been a lot of impressive performances from former Clemson quarterbacks.
Steve Fuller led the Tigers on a game-winning drive in the final seconds of the 1977 game. Rodney Williams passed and ran his way to a Clemson victory in the 1988 game. Charlie Whitehurst had four outstanding performances while going 4-0 against the Gamecocks and of course there was Deshaun Watson, who beat USC with a torn ACL in 2014 and then threw six touchdown passes in the 2016 win.
On Saturday, Trevor Lawrence added his name to that impressive list by throwing for 295 yards, running for 66 more and throwing three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 38-3 victory Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. His 295 passing yards were Clemson’s fourth-most against South Carolina in school history.
Including his school-best 393 passing yards against South Carolina, Lawrence is responsible for two of the top four passing yardage performances against the Gamecocks in school history.
Saturday was the seventh consecutive game in which Lawrence has thrown three or more touchdown passes in a game. During that stretch the sophomore has thrown 22 touchdown passes to just three interceptions.
“I think if you look back and watch the course of the season, he just kind of forced a couple of plays and got a bad rap for it. He had a couple of interceptions,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said afterward. “But we are not in the position that we are in without him playing at a high level.”
Lawrence threw a 10-yard touchdown and 65-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins in the first quarter and then found Justyn Ross for a 16-yard score in the second quarter. He completed 26 of his 36 attempts, while at one point completing 18 straight passes, tying ACC single-game records held by Virginia’s Michael Rocco (vs. Miami in 2012) and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky (vs. James Madison in 2016).
With the 2019 regular season in the books, Lawrence has passed for 2,870 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 12 games. The Cartersville, Georgia native has also rushed for 383 yards and seven scores on the ground.
“For him to show that championship caliber toughness up at North Carolina and then from there to just be able to block out the noise and able to correct something himself to try and not force those plays and take what the defense gives him. I think that is the only difference in what he has been doing at the beginning of the season. He is just not forcing those kinds of plays.”
And he is looking more and more impressive each week.
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