The nitpicking began when Trevor Lawrence took a sack on third down for a 16-yard loss and a three-and-out on Clemson’s first possession Saturday night time towards Wake Forest.
The junior quarterback left little to over scrutinize after that. He backed his billing as the perfect participant in college football because the No. 1 Tigers (1-0, 1-0 ACC) flexed in a 37-13 victory, an end result that wasn’t precisely surprising contemplating they have been 33.5-point favorites coming in.
Lawrence (22-of-28 passing, 351 yards, three whole touchdowns) additionally backed up what he did off the sector within the offseason, when he established himself as a number one voice within the push to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was Lawrence, who threw 5 interceptions in his first three begins the final season, who drove house the purpose about his on-field standing by displaying no early-season rust. On the Tigers’ second possession, he hit Amari Rodgers for a 36-yard completion on a nook route. His recreation was practically flawless from there.
Lawrence hit 18 of 23 passes for 261 yards and a landing within the first half. He additionally scored on two brief runs within the crimson zone. Running again Travis Etienne gained 94 of his 102 speeding yards within the first half and scored within the second half.
Nitpick Lawrence in order for you. He had minus-24 speeding yards due to sacks. Clemson settled for area objectives a couple of instances and did not cowl. Lawrence may not win the Heisman as a result of he will not play sufficient within the fourth quarter of video games.
The final level is the one one which is not a stretch. Lawrence hit eight completely different receivers within the first half and 4 completely different receivers for beneficial properties of 20 yards or extra. He did all that without Justyn Ross, who will not play this season after the present process spinal fusion surgical procedure.
Why is that this vital? After all, it was simply one other run-of-the-mill ACC opponent in Wake Forest (0-1, 0-1), proper?
The backside line is Lawrence did not need to play one other down of college football. He may have opted out to arrange for the chance of being the No. 1 choice within the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s a nationwide champion, has performed in two College Football Playoff championship video games, and is 26-1 as a starter. He actually has nothing left to show.
Yet Lawrence saved pushing for the season. He’s pushing for social justice. He’s pushing for a college football gamers affiliation. He’s taking the concept of “more than a student-athlete” to the max. He desires to graduate after which he goes to the NFL.
College football can play that card all day. Lawrence is setting the tone to validate the 2020 college football season. He validates the ACC race, which now consists of one-time member Notre Dame and upstart North Carolina.
He validates the Heisman Trophy race — a race through which he has but to make the journey to New York as a finalist. John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck — these once-in-a-generation college QB-turned-No. 1 pick Lawrence usually will get in comparison with — by no means received the award. Big 12 stat-stuffers resembling Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler or Texas’ Sam Ehlinger would possibly get in the way in which, however, Lawrence made an impactful first assertion.
He validates the College Football Playoff race, too. The SEC will take its first lap in two weeks. The Big Ten would possibly even bounce on this October. Maybe Alabama (if it wins the SEC) or Ohio State (if the Big Ten reverses course) will get a rematch after dropping to the Tigers the final two seasons within the CFP. Maybe Lawrence doesn’t get again to the championship recreation, which might be the largest nitpick of all.
It’s value watching, proper? College football nonetheless needs a number of components to work in its favor — particularly with COVID-19 — however, it doesn’t harm to have its largest star-making the case to play, on and off the sector, and shining within the prime-time highlight.
There is all the time a motive to observe college football.
There simply is not an even bigger motive than Lawrence proper now.