Trevor Lawrence not a fan of the game-winning play


by - Senior Writer -
Travis Etienne takes it to the house on a pass from Lawrence
Travis Etienne takes it to the house on a pass from Lawrence

GLENDALE, AZ – Trevor Lawrence hated the game-winning play before it was called. He loved it after the fact.

Clemson's national-best winning streak improved to 29 games in a row thanks to quarterback Trevor Lawrence's game-winning touchdown pass to Travis Etienne and Nolan Turner's game-sealing interception in the end zone as No. 3 seed Clemson rallied to beat No. 2 seed Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Clemson trailed Ohio St. 23-21 with just over two minutes to play but had crossed into Buckeye territory on a 38-yard pass to Amari Rodgers. On the ensuing snap Lawrence took the snap and faked a run before stepping back and delivering a dump-off pass to Etienne. Etienne did the rest, out-racing the Buckeye defense into the endzone for the game-winning points.

Swinney said he told Lawrence before the drive that the play might be called.

“I actually went over and met with him right before the last drive there, and we talked about two or three things that I felt like we had set up,” Swinney said. “And one of them was the play to Travis [Etienne]. We had run a little quarterback counter a couple of times there. So, it was set up. Don't have to have great protection. It is a really hard run fake. He really executed it beautifully and Travis found a way to get through the trash and took it to the distance.”

The quick score left 1:49 on the game clock.

“Just a huge -- I thought we might have scored a little too quick, but it was kind of like, Maybe he was down at the one, but then it's up to your defense to go win the game,” Swinney said.

Lawrence wasn’t a fan of the play call.

“Honestly, I wasn't a big fan of the play in practice, because it's tough if the defense doesn't really bite on it and that safety comes down hard,” Lawrence said. “It takes it away. I was a little bit -- I felt like it was good because of how well we set it up throughout the game and thought it was going to work then. Throughout the week, I was like I don't really like this play. In the moment, we had a chance.”

The play worked after an unbelievable catch-and-run by Etienne, who led Clemson with three catches for 98 yards and two scores.

“It's tough. You've got guys off the edge coming,” Lawrence said. “O-line did a really good job holding them off. It is a weird play for them. It is a run pass-type blocking. For them to hold off long enough and for Travis [Etienne] to find his own and sit down. Like said, I threw it to him, but after that, his running for the catch was unbelievable.”

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