Clemson University

‘I’m a natural running back’: Lawrence touts TD run as more impressive than Wilkins’

Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence recaps touchdown run

Clemson football DT Dexter Lawrence rushed for a touchdown against Louisville
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Clemson football DT Dexter Lawrence rushed for a touchdown against Louisville

Dexter Lawrence was the lead blocker for Christian Wilkins when Wilkins scored a touchdown run last week at Florida State.

Lawrence spent this week fighting for his shot and got it.

Lawrence had a 2-yard touchdown run in Clemson’s 77-16 victory, diving in from a yard out early in the third quarter.

The 350-pound defensive tackle lined up at fullback and powered through the end zone for his first career rushing touchdown.

“I told him Christian can’t score again until I get the ball,” Lawrence said of what he told Dabo Swinney. “We practiced it a couple times. I try and take advantage of my opportunity. I’m a natural running back.”

Lawrence added that he believes his touchdown run was more impressive than Wilkins’ because he did not have a lead blocker.

“I had a little more traffic to go through,” Wilkins said. “I created a great hole for Christian to run through so it was a little easier to walk in for him.”

In addition to Wilkins, Swinney’s son Will Swinney also scored a touchdown. Will caught an 8-yard pass with 8:52 left in the game to give the Tigers a 77-16 lead. It was the first touchdown of Will’s career.

“I’m proud of him. I really am. That was real cool,” Dabo said. “Tony (Elliott) made a good call. It was well blocked. It looked like a big run in there, but the biggest thing is seeing his teammates happy for him. Will’s a grinder… That was a pretty cool moment as a dad seeing him out there.”


Senior cornerback Mark Fields missed Saturday’s game with a groin injury. Fields aggravated it in practice this week.

Fellow cornerback A.J. Terrell was ejected for targeting in the first half, leaving the Tigers thin at corner, but other plays stepped up, including freshman Mario Goodrich.

Clemson held Louisville to 312 total yards despite subbing in backups regularly. Louisville did have a 16-play, 73-yard drive in the first quarter before the Tigers settled down.

“It was good. Personally, the expectation isn’t to stop every single play,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “Sometimes the other team has a good play call or they execute. I think as much as anything there were three third downs early in the game that we were just too casual in a spot or two on the field.

“We said going in that Louisville is a team that can expose you and execute, particularly in the throwing game. We’ve been pretty good in recent years on third downs, but on those, we were just a little bit sloppy. I was really pleased with the overall effort, but there are still some things that we can coach the guys on.”


Clemson set a record in yards per carry, averaging 13.3 yards per rush.

Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Tavien Feaster each topped the 100-yard mark with Etienne rushing for 153, Dixon 116 and Feaster 101. The three backs each had less than 10 carries.

Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said establishing the run was a big goal for the Tigers.

“That was important to us,” Scott said. “Really our running game getting back going, and Feaster is a guy who has been practicing really well. Was not a surprise at all to see him go score on the play that he did because he’s been running that way in practice. I really like where we are from a depth standpoint.”

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