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Notre Dame Football

Pressure On Trevor Lawrence Key For Notre Dame

December 17, 2018

Can Notre Dame get to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence? 

The Tigers true freshman has taken the college football world by storm this season by throwing for 2,606 yards, 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Oh, he also is completing 65% of his passes. 

The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder won the ACC Rookie of the Year and has the full attention of Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea. 

“I don’t see him as a guy that loses his composure often,” Lea stated. “I see him as a guy that is very steady and is very comfortable. We have our work cut out for us.”

Lawrence has thrown for a touchdown in every game this season except for the Syracuse game where he was injured in the second quarter. It’s a pretty remarkable stats considering he didn’t start the first four games as he split time with  Kelly Bryant, who transferred mid-year. 

Lea knows Lawrence hasn’t had a ‘true freshman’ moment to this point and it will be his job to confuse the young signal caller. 

“He is a young quarterback, and he is extremely talented,” Lea explained. “I think he, through the course of his time being the starter, has really strengthened his game. It is going to be a challenge.”

Notre Dame’s defense enters the Cotton Bowl giving up just 198 yards per game in the air, and that’s due to having one of the nation’s top pass-rushing defensive line, an All-American cornerback in Julian Love and the nation’s top cornerback against the go route in Troy Pride Jr. 

Love hopes to play some mind games with Lawrence to force him into some bad decisions. 

“It’s a big moment and a big stage,” stated Love. “He’s handled himself well all year, but we’re going to do what we do. We’re going to make him earn it and make him think every play. I don’t know if it will rattle him, but we’ll make him think about it.” 

Another piece to the puzzle for the Irish will be safety Alohi Gilman. The junior transfer from Navy has been effective in pass coverage this season, including two interceptions against Syracuse, but also as a blitzer. 

“It’s been huge,” Love said of the addition of Gilman. “Having him adds cohesiveness to the back end. We work really well together, and I love the way he attacks. That’s what I’m about. You can do a million things wrong during the play, but if you’re aggressive, then you’re OK in my book. 

“He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he leads. He’s the outspoken guy we need.” 

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