By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports activities Author
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was on his again, reaching out desperately together with his proper hand to attempt to collect within the ball after it squirted via his arms as he was dragged right down to the Superdome turf.
The Heisman Trophy finalist couldn’t fairly get a grip on it earlier than it was ripped unfastened and in the end recovered by Ohio State.
And with that, Lawrence’s bid to complete a rare faculty soccer profession together with his second nationwide championship in three seasons slipped away. The Tigers have been down three touchdowns and the deficit grew even bigger within the fourth quarter earlier than No. three Ohio State celebrated a 49-28 victory over No. 2 Clemson within the School Soccer Playoff semifinal on the Sugar Bowl on Friday evening.
“I missed a couple of throws and put too many balls on the bottom,” mentioned Lawrence, who fumbled 3 times however solely misplaced one. “Clearly, it sucks to complete like this.”
For the second consecutive season, Lawrence and Clemson acquired bounced from the CFP by being blown out within the Massive Simple. These are the one two losses in his 36 faculty begins.
Final season, Clemson fell 42-25 to LSU within the nationwide championship recreation on the identical subject, with Lawrence having one of many worst video games of his profession (18 of 37, 234 yards, no touchdowns passing). This yr in New Orleans, like final yr, Lawrence scored the sport’s first landing on a keeper, however later misplaced a fumble whereas Clemson was attempting to shut a yawning second-half deficit.
Lawrence performed higher general this yr, regardless of Clemson being with out offensive coordinator and play-caller Tony Elliott, who was in COVID-19 protocol and didn’t make the journey to New Orleans. Lawrence completed 33 of 48 for 400 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
“I let you know what, man, Trevor Lawrence, I do know we didn’t win the sport, however you noticed every part it’s worthwhile to learn about that man tonight,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned. “I imply, he simply, he wished to play ‘until the final second and provides it every part he has. And that’s simply who he’s as an individual.”
The way in which Clemson’s protection struggled a lot of the recreation, giving up two landing passes longer than 50 yards, that wasn’t practically sufficient.
When it was over, Lawrence had been outshone by Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (22 of 28, 385 yards, six TDs).
“Clearly they kicked our butt tonight,” Lawrence mentioned.
The season “didn’t finish the way in which we wished it to, however it was particular,” Lawrence continued. “We simply didn’t get it completed tonight for lots of causes. … In video games like this, you have simply acquired to play effectively all the way in which round and we didn’t do this.”
That gained’t change something relating to the Heisman Trophy, as a result of the votes have been already in. Lawrence is one in every of 4 finalists, together with Alabama QB Mac Jones, Crimson Tide receiver Davonta Smith and Florida QB Kyle Trask.
Time will inform if it impacts the pondering in professional soccer entrance places of work. Lawrence, for a lot of this season, has been the consensus projected high decide within the 2021 NFL draft assuming he passes up his senior yr at Clemson.
Nonetheless, he’ll be remembered as one of many faces of faculty soccer — on the sphere and off — throughout a tumultuous junior yr.
Over the summer season, he was out entrance of each social justice marches and requires the video games to proceed regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s not a lot I’d return and alter,” Lawrence mentioned. “I’m happy with the person I’ve grow to be over the time I’ve been (at Clemson). … Yeah, it’s been a loopy yr.”
His stances earned him the respect of his friends throughout the nation, as did his play.
In three seasons, Lawrence has handed for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns, and has rushed for 943 yards and 18 TDs. He additionally went down in Clemson historical past because the QB for this system’s third nationwide championship staff. He’s the winningest quarterback in Clemson historical past and he led the Tigers to 3 straight ACC titles
Which will should suffice. In spite of everything, not many have completed higher.
Swinney mentioned Lawrence and Clemson senior working again Travis Etienne depart behind “unbelievable legacies” and “set the usual” at Clemson whereas by no means anticipating “something extra from their teammates than they have been prepared to provide.”
“Trevor Lawrence is a generational man. He’s going to be an important participant for a protracted, very long time,” Swinney added. “We’re all unhappy that it ended the way in which it ended tonight. And we wished to finish it in Miami with a victory (within the nationwide title recreation) and journey off into the sundown, however that wasn’t to be.”
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