If you think Trevor Lawrence is consumed by his shortcoming the last time he played in the New Orleans Superdome, think again.
The Clemson starting quarterback with a 34-1 record in the last three seasons actually thinks it's worked out for both he and the Tigers that he didn't lead them to a victory in last season's national championship game against LSU.
"It would have been cool to have the opportunity to not lose a game in college, but I think some things are necessary for you to grow," Lawrence said. "You’ve got to face a little bit of adversity and sometimes you’re a little bit blinded by success if you don’t have any hiccups along the way. I think for us and for me personally, it was good for us to not win that game in a lot of ways."
Don't take that as meaning Lawrence took his lone loss in stride. He called the 42-25 defeat "devastating in the moment." But the junior QB is mature enough to understand that one game doesn't define his career, and he's back in the College Football Playoff semifinal looking to move past Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Friday at 8 p.m.
"After that, I think we have gotten a lot better. I learned a lot about myself. There’s a lot of things I needed to work on to be a better player," Lawrence said. "I think leading in times when things are harder when you lose a game is definitely harder than when you’re winning. So, it taught me a little about how to lead better."
Based on his play in 2020, it appears that happened. Lawrence, a Heisman Trophy finalist, is 9-0 this season as a starter and has amassed 2,753 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Lawrence has added seven scores via the ground.
"I think we kind of needed that (loss to LSU), and at the end of the day, we don’t want to take winning for granted," Lawrence said. "We win a lot around here, and it’s easy to forget how hard it is to win when you win so much. I think it taught us a lot and I think we took that next step as a program and team because of that. Obviously, you don’t choose losing going forward but sometimes it’s better for you.”
In that game in January, Lawrence had his worst performance, completing under 50 percent of his passes for the only time in his career and finishing with 234 passing yards and no touchdowns. He also turned the ball over on a fumble.
"He just missed some plays that he would normally make," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said about that game against LSU. "I don't know that I learned anything other than he’s human. He can have a bad day."
Lawrence hasn't had once since, and he's looking to have a big game against an Ohio State defense that's allowing 261.3 yards per game, worst in the Big Ten in 2020.
"I’m just realizing that nobody’s perfect and (struggles are) going to happen," Lawrence said. "I’m just focused on playing my game, to play comfortably, and if there’s going to be a few turnovers then it’s just part of the position.
"I’m just staying confident and not letting that get in my head and I’ll keep playing my game and not really changing."