NEW ORLEANS — Trevor Lawrence squatted at the LSU 35-yard line and put his head down. He could not believe what was happening.
For the first time in his college career, things just did not go right for the All-ACC quarterback. With LSU ahead by 17 points late in the fourth quarter, Lawrence had just fumbled while desperately trying to make a play.
“Everything was kind of against us right there,” Lawrence said. “We had a chance and we were driving the ball down the field and the guy made a good play. He put his head right on the ball. I had it tucked and everything and he just knocked it out.”
It was that kind of night for Lawrence as he suffered his first defeat as a college quarterback in LSU’s 42-25 victory Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at the Superdome in New Orleans.
“That was kind of a dagger, if you will, so that just sucked,” Lawrence said.
When he got back to the Clemson sideline, he was greeted by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who put his arm around his young quarterback and consoled him.
“He put his arm around me and told me he loved me and just kind of told me the things we have been able to accomplish these past two years has been awesome and that this one moment and this one game does not define me and we will be back,” Lawrence said.
It was a hard fall for Lawrence and the Tigers on Monday as they not only lost in the national championship game, but it was their first defeat since losing in this same dome in 2018, when they were beat by Alabama in the 2018 Sugar Bowl.
“The worst thing is these group of (seniors) we will never get to play with them again,” Lawrence said. “We are going to miss them a whole lot, especially the guys up front and some of the wideouts. Man, it hurts, but everything happens for a reason, no doubt.
“In Romans 8:28, ‘God works all things for the good of those who love him.’ That is true even though we lost. Win or lose that is still true. I just have a lot of faith in the journey and everything happens for a reason, but dang it, it sucks to go out like this for sure.”
Lawrence has his worst night as a quarterback. His fourth quarter fumble was his first of his college career and his first turnover of any kind in eight-plus games.
The sophomore finished the game just 18-37 for 234 yards and no touchdowns. According to ESPN’s stats and info, Lawrence had seven overthrown passes on third down Monday night, compared to just six in the previous 29 games combined.
“They did some stuff on third down early that gave us some fits, but after that, I missed a lot of throws and I was not putting the ball where they had a chance to catch it,” Lawrence said. “That was on me. It was not my night.
“Hats off to LSU. They did a great job of disguising and bringing pressure. It just was not my night.”