Swinney happy to see another side of Trevor Lawrence
|Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 7:01 AM-|
Seeing it carried out in the critical moments of Saturday's second half was confirmation of that.
The No. 2 Tigers defense was on the field for over eight minutes while UNC moved the ball and scored -- and then opted to go for the potential go-ahead 2-point conversion with 1:17 left. After a Tar Heels timeout, Lawrence made his way over to the huddle to talk his teammates up before they went out for the crucial stop.
“Going into the national championship, (people said) the moment was going to be too big for him. He proved it wasn't," Swinney said. "It's not that I wanted to see a close game but you know you're bound to have one where it is tight. He didn't have his 'A' game or play his best game (versus UNC) but to see him dig down and respond and the grit and the will to win and the character -- his leadership, his mental toughness -- that I know he has but I just hadn't experienced with him in that situation.”
Lawrence hasn't had the Heisman-worthy stats expected, and the second half wasn't his finest with the game in jeopardy either. After completions in 15 of his first 21 throws, Lawrence had one connection in his next seven, leading into a critical 3rd-and-6 at the UNC 38 in the fourth quarter.
His top target all game and all season, junior Tee Higgins, split UNC's coverage in the back-seven and Lawrence put the throw on the money for the go-ahead score.
“It's not always perfect," Swinney said of Lawrence's game, who finished out 18-of-30 passing for 206 yards and rushed for an additional 45 with a TD. "I know a lot of people think he's some kind of robot and we're some kind of video game-people. We're real people. And no perfect people. No perfect coaches. People make mistakes. That throw he made to Tee and then the scramble throw he made to Tee was unbelievable. He made some critical plays at critical times and we all made mistakes and things we have to do better. Simple things, very, very correctable things.
“I was just very encouraged to see his grit and his moxie. I knew it was there but to see it in that situation with the game on the line. And he ran the ball and had to make a couple tough runs. It was awesome. If they had got that 2-point conversion, he was ready to go and win the game...Lot of good things to see in our team and also with Trevor."