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Paws Up, Paws Down, CFP Style; No Luck For The Irish

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Trevor Lawrence and the Tiger receivers proved to be too much for the Fighting Irish

Justyn Ross stiff arms Irish defender in Cotton Bowl
(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

After a tightly contested first quarter, the nation got to witness exactly why true freshman QB Trevor Lawrence was named starting QB after Week 4. With laser-like precision, the young phenom torched the Notre Dame defense in the second quarter. The Tigers scored 20 unanswered points in the quarter to take a 23-3 lead into the half, on their way to a dominating 30-3 win over the Irish in the Cotton Bowl.

Against a pass defense that had been lauded for having given up only 7 TD’s through the air all season, Lawrence would throw three in the second quarter alone, hitting fellow true freshman WR Justyn Ross for TD’s of 52 and 42 yards, and hitting Tee Higgins for a 19 yard score with just 2 seconds left in the quarter. A catch as good as any you'll see this season.

After a week filled with off field controversy and distractions, it was quite the performance, as the defense held the Irish offense in check all game long. Dexter Williams was never allowed to get going and Ian Book was harassed time and time again. It was an impressive outing by a group of guys one would assume were a little extra motivated.

Albert Huggins

Huggins is a player that could have easily decided to transfer after Christian Wilkins decided to return. Entering his last season of eligibility and expecting to finally get his shot to start, no one could have blamed him had he decided to move on, after Wilkins decided to come back. He could have been a starter at many P5 schools, yet chose to stay. That decision paid off in a big way when he was called on to start in place of suspended DT Dexter Lawrence. He was a factor all game along the interior, making his presence felt early and often. You could not have asked for a much better performance from him on this stage..... Paws Up

Trevor Lawrence

Trying to win a national title with a true freshman QB is never ideal, but if you are faced with that situation, then Lawrence is the true freshman you want. Nothing seems to faze him and the moment is never too big. Against the best defense he had faced in his young career, Lawrence finished 27-39, 327 Yds, and 3 TD’s and was named offensive MVP. There’s still one more step to take for this team to reach its ultimate goal, but the sky is the limit for this kid, and the scary thing is he is only going to get better..... Paws Up


That was an inspired effort. The Irish came in with what many thought to be the best group of receivers the Tigers had seen, a QB that had been good distributing the ball to them, and one of the best RBs in the nation. It didn’t matter. Stopping the running game was key, and this defense did exactly that, holding Dexter Williams to just 3.4 YPC and 54 YDS rushing. Ian Book finished with only 160 YDS passing and 4.7 YPA, and he was sacked 6 times. The defense had 8 TFL in all. It will take a similar effort, maybe even better, next week..... Paws Up

Justyn Ross

As good as he has been this season, Ross had his coming out party to the nation yesterday. His two TD catches in the second quarter got the Tiger offense on track, as he finished with 6 catches for 148 yards, which equates to 24.7 YPC. Lawrence gets a lot of the pub but having guys like Ross to throw to makes his job a little bit easier..... Paws Up

Coaching Staff

You can not say enough about this coaching staff, as well as the leadership on this team. This team has faced so many off field distractions throughout the season, yet somehow this staff keeps these guys eyes on the prize. Bryant transferring, the death of a former teammate, the recent suspensions, and still this team remains focused and determined. Kudos..... Paws Up

Special Teams

I’m not usually one to beat a dead horse, but this is without question, the weak spot on this team. Punting leaves a lot to be desired and any FG’s longer than about 42 yards have fans holding their breath. The Tigers were very fortunate that Derion Kendrick’s fumble on the early kickoff return didn’t cost them. Just remember, poor special teams play cost Clemson in its first national title game matchup with Alabama..... Paws Down

And in some other bowl games across the country.....


The Mark Richt Era has come to a quick end. Too bad for him it wasn’t a painless end. Richt never could find a QB, an area that is supposed to be where he excels. When you get beat 35-3 by an average Wisconsin team, maybe it’s time to find a new coach anyways..... Paws Down


I know the Fightin’ Harbaugh’s were without some key guys against Florida, including Rashaun Gary, but giving up 41 to that Gator offense? Were you not considered the best defense in the land heading into Rivalry Weekend? Michigan is going to Michigan I guess..... Paws Down

Georgia Tech

That was the best you could muster in Paul Johnson’s final game? Against Minnesota no less? I can honestly say that I will miss watching Brent Venables defenses shut that option down every season, but PJ deserved a better sendoff than that..... Paws Down

Dawgs Nation

No, you still didn’t belong in the CFP after yesterdays semifinal games. You can not have your mulligan..... Paws Down

South Carolina

All season we have listened to you tell us how you would run through the Coastal, and then you get your chance to prove it against a middle of the pack Coastal team and can not score a single point. You got shutout by UVA, Sorry, but an injury depleted defense will not explain away that offensive showing. That was a terrible loss for Will Muschamp and his staff, and one that will be felt for some time. #SpursUp, but..... Paws Down


The Clemson fan base thanks you for giving up 70 in a bowl game. Mad props..... Paws Way Up

That is all for this week. Keep checking back with STS for all the analysis you will need on Alabama as we prepare for Clemson vs Bama IV.