‘I’m a nat­u­ral run­ning back’: Lawrence touts touch­down run

The State (Sunday) - - Clemson Football - BY MATT CON­NOLLY mcon­nolly@thes­tate.com

Dex­ter Lawrence was the lead blocker for Chris­tian Wilkins when Wilkins scored a touch­down run last week at Florida State.

Lawrence spent this week fight­ing for his shot and got it.

Lawrence had a 2-yard touch­down run in Clem­son’s 77-16 vic­tory, div­ing in from a yard out early in the third quar­ter.

The 350-pound de­fen­sive tackle lined up at full­back and pow­ered through the end zone for his first ca­reer rush­ing touch­down.

“I told him Chris­tian can’t score again un­til I get the ball,” Lawrence said of what he told Dabo Swin­ney. “We prac­ticed it a cou­ple times. I try and take ad­van­tage of my op­por­tu­nity. I’m a nat­u­ral run­ning back.”

Lawrence added that he be­lieves his touch­down run was more im­pres­sive than Wilkins’ be­cause he did not have a lead blocker.

“I had a lit­tle more traf­fic to go through,” Wilkins said. “I cre­ated a great hole for Chris­tian to run through so it was a lit­tle eas­ier to walk in for him.”

In ad­di­tion to Wilkins, Swin­ney’s son Will Swin­ney also scored a touch­down. Will caught an 8-yard pass with 8:52 left in the game to give the Tigers a 77-16 lead. It was the first touch­down of Will’s ca­reer.

“I’m proud of him. I re­ally am. That was real cool,” Dabo said. “Tony (El­liott) made a good call. It was well blocked. It looked like a big run in there, but the biggest thing is see­ing his team­mates happy for him. Will’s a grinder… That was a pretty cool mo­ment as a dad see­ing him out there.”

THIN AT CORNER­BACK

Se­nior corner­back Mark Fields missed Sat­ur­day’s game with a groin in­jury. Fields ag­gra­vated it in prac­tice this week.

Fel­low corner­back A.J. Ter­rell was ejected for tar­get­ing in the first half, leav­ing the Tigers thin at cor­ner, but other plays stepped up, in­clud­ing fresh­man Mario Goodrich.

Clem­son held Louisville to 312 to­tal yards de­spite sub­bing in back­ups reg­u­larly. Louisville did have a 16-play, 73-yard drive in the first quar­ter be­fore the Tigers set­tled down.

“It was good. Per­son­ally, the ex­pec­ta­tion isn’t to stop ev­ery sin­gle play,” de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Brent Ven­ables said. “Some­times the other team has a good play call or they ex­e­cute. I think as much as any­thing there were three third downs early in the game that we were just too ca­sual in a spot or two on the field.

“We said go­ing in that Louisville is a team that can ex­pose you and ex­e­cute, par­tic­u­larly in the throw­ing game. We’ve been pretty good in re­cent years on third downs, but on those, we were just a lit­tle bit sloppy. I was re­ally pleased with the over­all ef­fort, but there are still some things that we can coach the guys on.”

RUN­NING WILD

Clem­son set a record in yards per carry, av­er­ag­ing 13.3 yards per rush.

Travis Eti­enne, Lyn-j Dixon and Tavien Feaster each topped the 100-yard mark with Eti­enne rush­ing for 153, Dixon 116 and Feaster 101.

The three backs each had less than 10 car­ries.

Co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jeff Scott said es­tab­lish­ing the run was a big goal for the Tigers.

“That was im­por­tant to us,” Scott

“Re­ally our run­ning game get­ting back go­ing, and Feaster is a guy who has been prac­tic­ing re­ally well.

“Was not a sur­prise at all to see him go score on the play that he did be­cause he’s been run­ning that way in prac­tice.”

RICHARD SHIRO AP

Clem­son quar­ter­back Trevor Lawrence scram­bles out of the pocket against Louisville on Sat­ur­day in Clem­son, S.C.

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