Trevor Lawrence spent his freshman season taking Clemson fans’ breath away. Thursday night, the star quarterback had them holding their breath.
The preseason Heisman Trophy frontrunner had an uneven season-opening performance in the top-ranked Tigers’ 52-14 win over Georgia Tech, and invited potential danger when he chased down a Yellow Jackets defender to make a hard tackle.
Upon throwing one of his two interceptions, Lawrence sprinted after Georgia Tech’s Tre Swilling, and prevented a pick-six with a left shoulder tackle at the 2-yard line.
“Even before the ball [was caught], I said, ‘This is gonna be picked,’ so I started running, and I got him on an angle,” Lawrence said after the win. “So, just trying to make a play, give our defense a chance.”
Lawrence’s play paid off as Clemson stopped Georgia Tech with a goal-line stand. The quarterback then fired a 62-yard touchdown pass on the next drive, giving the Tigers a 28-0 lead.
Though some Clemson fans weren’t thrilled to see their most indispensable player take a needless risk in a blowout, Lawrence’s teammates approved.
“They liked it,” Lawrence said. “It was good to be able to make a tackle and get a good hit on him.”
Lawrence’s Heisman chances took an early hit as he completed 13-of-26 passes for 168 yards with two total touchdowns and two interceptions, while running back Travis Etienne made an early statement, rushing for 205 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 carries.