Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was injured in the second quarter of Saturday's game vs. Syracuse. After scrambling out of the pocket near midfield, he was hit hard in the head while diving near the sideline and has not yet returned to action. Chase Brice entered the game for the Tigers as Clemson's former starting quarterback, Kelly Bryant, transferred earlier this week after coach Dabo Swinney chose to go with the freshman Lawrence as his starter.
Lawrence initially remained on the sideline following his exit from the field, but his helmet was taken away by trainers and he eventually left the field with just over two minutes before halftime. He did not play in the second half. Brice and running back Travis Etienne orchestrated a second half comeback, and the Tigers topped the Orange 27-23. After the game, Swinney told reporters that Lawerence is in concussion protocol.
Lawrence was 10-of-15 passing for 93 yards prior to his injury. The true freshman from Cartersville, Georgia, was the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2018. In four games as the backup prior to making the start against Syracuse, he was 39-of-60 for 600 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions -- an average of 10 yards per attempt.
Offensive coordinator Tony Elliot was incredibly complimentary of Lawrence after naming him the starter this week.
"After four games, just looking at it, it just came down to more productivity," Elliot said, via: 247Sports. "He's taken advantage of his opportunities. Kelly (Bryant) didn't do anything wrong. It's just a situation where he's been in the game and he's been productive and to be fair to competition, coaches decided to name him the starter for this game."
If Brice has to play for an extended period of time, the coaches are confident that he can get the job done.
"Moxie, he's a winner," coach Swinney said this week. "Big arm. Great athlete. He was a big-time baseball player too. He's got a high football IQ. Watching the tape, he's a little Brett Favre-ish. I'm not comparing him to Brett Favre, but he's just a little unorthodox sometimes. He's just got this moxie to him, man. He just finds a way. He's tough. We were tickled to death when we were able to get he and Hunter [Johnson] in that class."
With Bryant gone and Lawrence hurt, Clemson's quarterback depth thinned out over the last week. But the broadcast team said that he is still enrolled in school, and a process is in place for him to be reinstated if he chooses to.