Trevor Lawrence Throws 5 1st-Half TDs as No. 1 Clemson Routs Georgia Tech

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, in New Orleans. Lawrence is on a streak of 314 pass attempts without an interception, a run dating back to last Oct. 19 when he was picked off twice at Louisville in Clemson's 45-10 victory. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The No. 1 Clemson Tigers went on the road and throttled the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 73-7 Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

Clemson junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence further proved why he is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, as he threw for five touchdowns in the convincing victory.

Clemson dominated in essentially every facet, as it had more first downs (29-7) and more total yards (671-204) and forced three turnovers.

The Tigers improved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in ACC play, while the Yellow Jackets fell to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

               

Notable Stats

Trevor Lawrence, QB, CLEM: 24/32 for 404 YDS, 5 TD, 1 INT

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Travis Etienne, RB, CLEM: 11 CAR for 44 YDS, 1 TD; 2 REC for 29 YDS

Amari Rodgers, WR, CLEM: 6 REC for 161 YDS, 2 TD

Jeff Sims, QB, GT: 6/13 for 81 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, GT: 15 CAR for 64 YDS; 3 REC for 23 YDS

Jalen Camp, WR, GT: 1 REC for 59 YDS, 1 TD

               

Lawrence Bolsters Heisman Case in Dominant Showing

Saturday's contest was viewed as a potential stat-padding game for Lawrence, and there is no question that he did his numbers and his Heisman Trophy candidacy a great service.

In the first half alone, Lawrence went 20-of-25 for 391 yards and five touchdowns, which helped give Clemson a 52-7 lead at the break.

Lawrence opened with a five-yard touchdown pass to Cornell Powell in the first quarter, but the Yellow Jackets answered with a touchdown of their own. From then on, though, it was all Lawrence and the Tigers.

Speedy wide receiver Amari Rodgers got behind the Georgia Tech secondary, and Lawrence made them pay with a perfect throw for an 83-yard touchdown:

After a field-goal drive, Lawrence made his only real mistake of the game when he threw an interception with pressure in his face. It was not only Lawrence's first pick of the season, but his first interception thrown in more than one calendar year. 

The miscue seemed to motivate Lawrence, however, as he was essentially perfect for the remainder of the first half.

Clemson scored an impressive five touchdowns in the second quarter alone, three of which were touchdown passes by Lawrence to tight end Davis Allen, wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr. and Rodgers:

Lawrence had never thrown as many as four touchdown passes in the first half of a game during his collegiate career, but he made it five Saturday.

Albert Breer of The MMQB was one of the many who were taken aback by Lawrence's uncanny ability to pick apart yet another Power 5 team with relative ease:

With Clemson dominating the game, Lawrence didn't play all the way through, which has become a common theme for him over the past few years.

Even though he was taken out of the contest in the third quarter, Lawrence put up monster numbers and cemented his status as the premier quarterback in college football.

                

Sims Shows Flashes in Blowout Loss for GT

Georgia Tech freshman quarterback Jeff Sims' numbers paled in comparison to what Lawrence was able to do Saturday, but there is reason for optimism moving forward.

A game against the formidable Clemson defense is a tough assignment for any quarterback, let alone a freshman. It was by far the biggest test of Sims' young career thus far, and he likely learned a lot.

The highlight of the day for Sims and the Yellow Jackets unquestionably came in the first quarter when he hit wide receiver Jalen Camp for a 59-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7:

Sims and the Georgia Tech offense didn't accomplish much beyond that, but the ability to make that type of play against arguably the best defense in college football is something that should serve Sims and the Jackets well moving forward.

SportsTalkATL.com offered some praise for Sims, as he has shown flashes at a position that hasn't been productive for Georgia Tech from a passing perspective in many years:

Devin Jackson of WTAJ News liked some of what he saw out of Sims as well and projected him favorably into the future:

Sims' numbers prior to Saturday left something to be desired, as he had thrown for five touchdowns and eight interceptions, but he also rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson's dominant defensive line took Sims' legs completely out of the equation, but they will be a big factor for him moving forward.

It is clear that Sims and the Yellow Jackets have some growing pains ahead of them, but getting the opportunity to play against the best team in college football is something that should better prepare them for the challenges they will face the rest of the way.

                

What's Next?

Clemson will be a huge favorite again next week and a likely candidate to move to 6-0 when it hosts the Syracuse Orange.

Georgia Tech has a tricky game on tap next week, as it will attempt to get back on track on the road against the Boston College Eagles.