Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is on top of the football world after he led the second-ranked Tigers to a 44-16 win over the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in college football’s national championship game Monday. He also became the first true freshman quarterback to start and win a national title since 1986.
Lawrence, who took over as starting quarterback after five games into the season, passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns in Monday’s stunning upset at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
“I’ve only been here for a year,” Lawrence said in a news conference Tuesday. “But just in my first year, it’s just been amazing, definitely made the right choice coming to Clemson.”
Lawrence is the first true freshman to win since Jamelle Holieway led the Oklahoma Sooners over the Penn State Lions in the Orange Bowl 33 years ago. During the 1985-1986 season, Holieway took over as starting quarterback after Troy Aikman’s leg was broken.
Playing in his first year out of high school, Lawrence outplayed former Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant, who despite winning an ACC title and taking them to a berth in the semi final last season, couldn’t produce in the passing game when it mattered most. Lawrence’s work in the first four games of the season while Bryant was still on the roster made it clear that the staff knew they might need him down the road, CBS Sports reported.
In the fourth consecutive playoff meeting between them, Clemson tied the series and defeated Alabama for the second time in three seasons. Clemson is the first team in the AP poll era, dating back to 1936, to finish with a 15-0 record.