Lawrence puts on show for Tigers
It’s on to ACC title game after QB leads rout of Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dabo Swinney simply couldn’t contain his joy over Trevor Lawrence, and midway through the Tigers’ latest blowout, the Clemson coach just had to let him know.
“Man,” Swinney said he told Lawrence, “it’s just so much fun watching you play quarterback.”
Swinney should get at least a couple of more opportunities to see Lawrence shine in the postseason, starting Saturday with the ACC championship game against Virginia.
Lawrence threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns as the third-ranked Tigers won their 27th straight and finished their second consecutive 12-0 regular season with a 38-3 victory over rival South Carolina on Saturday.
Lawrence, who led Clemson to a national title as a freshman, showed off a full range of skills with highlight-show touchdown throws to Tee Higgins and a knack for running the Tigers out of trouble.
Lawrence finished 26 of 36 passing and completed an ACC-record-tying 18 straight throws to keep the Tigers rolling. He also led Clemson with 66 rushing yards, several of his runs going for first downs.
“After this year’s over and see if we accomplish what we set out to do, then we take a step back,” Lawrence said. “But I don’t think there’s really any time to do that right now. We really want to enjoy this win, but Monday get right back to it and prepare for Virginia.”
Travis Etienne ran for two touchdowns to break ACC records for career touchdowns from scrimmage (57) and rushing scores (53) as the Tigers dominated throughout on the way to a sixth straight win over the Gamecocks (4-8).
Lawrence had touchdown throws of 10 and 65 yards to Higgins and 16 yards to Justyn Ross.
“This is where we are supposed to be. And this is what we do,” Clemson cooffensive coordinator Jeff Scott said.
Clemson’s defense did its part in the beatdown, holding the Gamecocks to 174 yards and continuing a run in which the
Tigers have limited all 12 opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense.
South Carolina, which gained 600 yards in this game a year ago, struggled to make anything happen against Clemson’s frontline defense. The Gamecocks had 99 yards at halftime, and their only score was Parker White’s 39-yard field goal.
It was South Carolina’s fewest points against Clemson since a 45-0 shutout in 1989.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp did not want to list the things he believes caused his team to struggle, saying it would sound like excuses.
“The bottom line is we weren’t productive and we need to get better,” he said.
Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts after a Clemson touchdown against South Carolina.