Lawrence threw long passes to Amari Rodgers and EJ Williams during the first half to help the Tigers (10-1) avenge a 47-40 double-overtime loss to Norte Dame – with Lawrence put to the gap due to coronavirus – to lock in a place in the college football playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
Lawrence, the game’s MVP and alleged first pick in the NFL Draft, overcame an early interception on a tilted ball to complete 25 of 36 passes for 322 yards. He ran 14 times for 90 yards, with a 34-yard touchdown.
The junior quarterback did it all, even throwing a block to bring out Etienne for a 15-yard gain on a third run at the end of the second quarter leading to a touchdown and a 24-3 lead at halftime. .
Rodgers had eight catches for 121 yards, and Williams added four for 80 yards, including a dynamic one-handed catch where he reached behind his head to hook the ball.
Clemson allowed Notre Dame to rack up 518 yards in the previous meeting, but limited the Fighting Irish (10-1) to 263 yards on Saturday and sacked quarterback Ian Book six times. Book spent most of the game under duress, regularly emptied of his pocket and forced to play while running.
The Clemson secondary put the pincers on Notre Dame’s wide receivers, and running back Tyren Williams was limited to 49 rushing yards after finishing with 140 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Game 1. The pound was held 219 passing yards and no touchdowns.
Momentum changed late in the first quarter when Notre Dame kicker Jonathan Doerer, who had converted a game-record 51-yard CCA title in the game’s first practice, slammed an attempt to 21 yards on the right upright.
The Tigers quickly capitalized when Rodgers bit cornerback Shaun Crawford on a double move and landed a perfectly pitched pass from Lawrence for a 67-yard shot, the first of four consecutive orders to close the first half. time.
After Clemson stopped Notre Dame on a fourth and third key, Lawrence moved the Tigers 72 yards in six plays, showing his pocket conscience as he stepped up to avoid pressure and buy enough time to find Williams on a crossing route. for a 33 yards. score and a 14-3 lead – Notre Dame’s biggest deficit of the season.
Etienne opened it up when he took a transfer, slipped an ankle tackle and ran 44 yards for a touchdown in the fourth and 1 for a 24-3 lead with 21 seconds left in the first half. Lawrence basically put it aside with 3:43 left in the third quarter when he ran down the middle for a 34-yard touchdown.
Clemson: The return of linebacker James Skalski and defensive tackle Tyler Davis, who both missed Game 1, turned out to be a major difference for Clemson’s defense this time around.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish couldn’t get anything in the passing game. Book was under pressure almost every time he tried to throw the ball and Notre Dame’s wide receivers couldn’t shake Clemson’s defensive backs.
Clemson safety Nolan Turner will have to skip the first half of the first round playoff after being sent off in the fourth quarter for targeting tight end Michael Mayer.
Clemson: No two-losing team had ever qualified for the college football playoffs, so it was imperative that the Tigers win to secure a spot – and that’s exactly what they did.
Notre Dame: Notre Dame is hoping to beat No.5 Texas A&M for last place in the playoffs.