COLUMBIA — The Clemson Tigers have a special talent in quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but his 2019 campaign may have shown just how special a talent he is.
With his three-touchdown performance in Saturday's 38-3 win over in-state rival South Carolina, Lawrence further cemented himself as one of the best to ever play the position at Clemson.
"There was a point when I walked over to him during the game and took my headset off and I just said, 'Man, it is so fun to watch you play quarterback,' head coach Dabo Swinney said. "Because he made a couple of decisions — the big third down on the long (21-yard run), they played a four-man, which is basically like a two-man concept and that's a tough coverage, but the weakness is if you have a quarterback who can run the ball. But for him to process it and realize the situation and not try to force a ball and to take off and run ... that's what he can do."
Lawrence completed 26-of-36 passes for 295 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed eight times for a career-high 66 yards — his 361 combined yards of total offense were the fourth most of his career and his second most of the season (437 at Syracuse).
Lawrence’s 295 passing yards were Clemson’s fourth most against South Carolina in school history. Including his school-best 393 passing yards against South Carolina, Lawrence is responsible for two of the top four passing yardage performances against the Gamecocks in school history.
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Lawrence has thrown a touchdown pass in 22 consecutive games. His current streak is the longest active one in the country, and he threw three touchdowns to tie his single-season career high in passing touchdowns (30), set as a freshman last year.
And Lawrence joined some rarefied air as his third touchdown pass was his 30th of the season. He joined Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson as the only players in school history to throw 30 touchdown passes in multiple seasons.
Lawrence has thrown three touchdown passes in seven consecutive games for the first time in his career. He had already been the first Clemson quarterback to accomplish the feat in six straight games.
But more than what he has done with his arm this season, it is what he has done with his legs that Swinney believes has made Lawrence, and the Tigers' offense as a whole, a different animal.
"The No. 1 thing for Lawrence coming into the season for him to grow was being more productive with his legs and not just on designed runs but productive in creating third-and-5s, checking the ball down, extending plays," Swinney said. "You saw him resetting in the pocket on the deep ball to Tee when he moved his feet. Great protection, but sometimes on a play like that takes a while to develop — his reset in the pocket, moving his feet. And some scrambling, you saw that today. You look at him and you don't really think that because he's so long and tall, but he can run."
It is Lawrence's ability make those plays that, for Swinney, made his performance Saturday so special to watch.
"He's just gotten a really good feel for when to use his legs. And had some great check-downs today and didn't force the ball," Swinney said. "They played a lot of man coverage today and he found his back two or three times to keep us on schedule. I just thought it was pretty special to watch him play quarterback today."