Clemson's 19-year-old true freshman quarterback picked apart No. 1 Alabama's defense and outplayed Tua Tagovailoa -- last year's title game wunderkind -- in the process in a 44-16 rout as the Tigers claimed their second championship under Dabo Swinney.
Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, as Clemson dealt Alabama what was far and away its worst loss under Nick Saban. The Tide had been beaten by 14 points on three other occasions, but never on this kind of stage, and never with an offense that rewrote the Alabama record books being so decidedly upstaged.
Of course, the Tigers' second-ranked defense, which held opponents to an FBS-best 12.9 points per game, certainly played its part.
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In four trips to the red zone, an Alabama offense that was racking up 527.6 yards (fourth in FBS) and 47.7 points (second), hit the end zone just once. Tagovailoa was picked off twice, resulting in 14 Clemson points, including a pick-six on the third play of the game, as the Tide's domination all season long proved meaningless because of those mistakes from the nation's most efficient passer.
The Offensive MVP honors went to Lawrence, who simply picked apart an Alabama defense that led the SEC and was third in among Power 5 teams in sacks (45), a unit that many felt could disguise its blitz packages and rattle the teen.
Lawrence, who beat out Kelly Bryant -- last year's starter in taking the Tigers to the playoff and who has since transferred to Missouri -- completed 20 passes to eight different receivers, including a 74-yard strike to Justyn Ross (who finished with six catches for 153 yards). That was the longest passing play by the Tigers all season.
And he wasn't sacked. Not once.
Tajh Boyd was the quarterback that put Clemson on the map under Swinney, and it was Deshaun Watson, two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, who was the QB who ended the Tigers' championship drought.
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But Boyd's mark was about the accumulation of his career, and Watson at least had to overcome a season-ending injury as a freshman before putting together two all-time kind of performances in back-to-back national title games.
Lawrence is there after just 10 starts, becoming the first freshman to open and win a contest that would decide a national title since Oklahoma's Jamelle Holieway in 1985.
Now, like Tagovailoa in propelling Alabama past Georgia last season, college football has a new darling, and with the potential of eight starters back on offense next season -- including fellow freshman Ross, and the team's leading rusher Travis Etienne -- Clemson is poised to challenge for more titles, with the stress on the plural, with Lawrence under center.
And they'll do so with the expectation that another clash with Tagovailoa will be in the making next season. But the difference is, it's no longer Alabama that is the measuring stick. It's the Tide who will do the chasing, with Clemson the nation's premier team behind a decimation of a Saban team that was so eye-opening it bears repeating: A. Decimation. Of. A. Saban. Team.
Welcome to the Trevor Lawrence Era, where Clemson hasn't just become a power. It's become the power.