Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence expects the Jan. 13 national championship game against LSU in New Orleans to be a 60-minute fistfight.
“They’re a really good team,” Lawrence said of the SEC’s Tigers on Monday during Clemson’s media day at the Poe Indoor Facility. “It’s going to be a hard-fought game. Whoever prepares the best and executes the best is going to win. It’s hard to say how the game’s going to go, but they’re a great team and we’re expecting a four-quarter fight, for sure.”
Lawrence gave his scouting report on LSU’s defense, which ranks 20th nationally in rushing defense (118.0 yards per game allowed), 56th in passing defense (221.9 YPG allowed), 29th in total defense (339.9 YPG allowed) and is tied for 28th in scoring defense (21.6 points per game allowed).
“They’re really good,” Lawrence said. “Up front, they’re bigger guys, but they can move well, and they have a really good pass rusher on the end and then their linebackers are really good sideline to sideline, really fast. It’s hard to kind out leverage them. And then also with No. 45 (Michael Divinity Jr.) coming back, he’s more of a run-stopper, but really good player. He hasn’t played in the last six or seven games (due to suspension), not really sure how many. So, it will be interesting to see how they work him back in, whether he’ll start or No. 8 (Patrick Queen) or whoever it is, so we’ll see there.
“But in the secondary, obviously that’s who gets all the attention. They’re really good and they play a lot of man-to-man, but they do it well. They have really good cover skills, and just a really good defense that flies around and plays with a chip on their shoulder.”
While LSU’s defense differs schematically from Ohio State’s, Lawrence does see some similarities between the LSU and Ohio State secondaries.
Lawrence went 18-of-33 passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the Tigers’ 29-23 victory over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28.
“Both teams are really good at corner and safety,” Lawrence said. “I think the linebackers are a little different. Just different play styles. I think the linebackers for LSU, they roam around more and they’re really fast. They can run sideline to sideline really well. And then Ohio State guys were more run-pluggers, but they could run, too. So, they’re different, and then the D-line’s a lot different in just what they do. Every game’s a little bit different. But definitely in the back end, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Many expect the national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to be a high-scoring affair.
While Lawrence would prefer not to get into a shootout, he knows in order for his team to win, Clemson’s offense must take advantage when Clemson’s defense is able to get Joe Burrow and LSU’s offense off the field.
“I would rather our defense play really well and not have a shootout,” he said. “But whatever it takes to win is just what we’re going to do. I know we’re going to have to play well on offense for sure. Playing against a really good team, especially how good their offense has been, it’s a lot on the defense’s hands for sure. So, we’ve got to back them up when they get stops. We’ve got to execute, we’ve got to score. But I think the biggest thing is just complimenting one another and getting some stops and then scoring off of those and creating turnovers and taking care of the ball.”
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