CLEMSON FOOTBALL: 5 THINGS WE LEARNED

Freshman QB Lawrence looks good in opener

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 9/4/18

When you've got a program that is ranked No. 2 in the country and is predicted by most to play in the College Football Playoff for a fourth straight year going up against a good Football Championship Subdivision team, a 48-7 final like Clemson laid …

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CLEMSON FOOTBALL: 5 THINGS WE LEARNED

Freshman QB Lawrence looks good in opener

Posted

When you've got a program that is ranked No. 2 in the country and is predicted by most to play in the College Football Playoff for a fourth straight year going up against a good Football Championship Subdivision team, a 48-7 final like Clemson laid on Furman on Saturday is what one might expect.

There was still plenty to learn about the Tigers on Saturday though despite the easy triumph. The most obvious thing we learned is that an ultra-hyped freshman is not going to be a bust.

1. HE ISN'T WILLY KORN

Of course, the player we're talking about is 5-star true freshman recruit Trevor Lawrence. The prediction by many has been that it's just a matter of time before he takes over for senior Kelly Bryant, who only led the Tigers back to the 4-team playoff for a third straight year after taking over for Deshaun Watson.

While it remains to be seen if Lawrence will live up to the massive buildup over his ability, he proved that he is going to be better than the last 5-star QB who was supposed to be dominate for the Tigers. That would be Willy Korn, who never panned out for Clemson.

Lawrence completed 9 of 15 passes for 137 yards and three TDs.

2. WHY BRYANT IS THE STARTER

Bryant connected on 10 of 16 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. While those are good, but not great numbers, Bryant does possess the ability to run the football and pick up big yardage in quick fashion.

He had a 35-yard scoring run at the start of the third quarter that pushed the lead to 34-0. Bryant finished with 44 yards rushing on five carries.

It remains to be seen how the competition between the two will play out, but Bryant wasn't just a stop-gap fill-in last year.

3. THE OFFENSE IS STILL EXPLOSIVE

Clemson was leading just 13-0 late in the second quarter, leading one to think Furman had a chance to say it was in the ball game. Then, just like that, the game was officially out of hand.

The Tigers got the football back at their 5-yard line with just over five minutes left in the first half. Lawrence led them on an 11-play, 95-yard drive that only took 2:26 off the clock. Then, less than two minutes, they're on the board again for a 27-0 lead.

4. DOMINANT D-LINE

Even though the Tigers' front four on defense is lauded as a National Football League line, it did not let that hype affect its play on Saturday.

While Furman had some success running the ball, gaining 201 yards, it also lost 84 yards for a net total of 117.

The test should be a stiffer one on Saturday at Texas A&M though.

5. HUEGEL BACK IN FORM

Placekicker Greg Huegel looked to be his old, consistent self against the Paladins. He was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, including nailing a 49-yarder, that tied a career high.

Huegel was 14-for-19 on field goals as a sophomore during the Tigers' national championship season. However, he tore an anterior cruciate ligament during practice in September of last season.