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Clemson's Swinney channels Brett Favre in praising Trevor Lawrence after 'awful' start

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trevor Lawrence made four "bad" plays in Clemson's 45-10 win at Louisville on Saturday, said Tigers coach Dabo Swinney, who called two of them "awful."

But Swinney was impressed with Lawrence's ability to bounce back. It reminded him of a Pro Football Hall of Fame member.

"Brett Favre's one of my all-time favorite players," Swinney said, referencing Favre's penchant for throwing interceptions. "He knows he ain't supposed to do that. He's played a million years. But he was Brett Favre his whole career because he was mentally tough."

Swinney also mentioned Houston Texans quarterback and former Clemson star Deshaun Watson and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in explaining why he was so impressed with Lawrence's mindset Saturday. 

The quarterback finished the first quarter 3 for 7 for 9 yards and two interceptions. By game's end, he was 20 for 29 for 233 yards and three touchdowns without throwing another pick. He also rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries. It was a tough start for the sophomore, but Swinney beamed as he spoke of his signal-caller afterwards.

"Nobody plays a perfect game," Swinney said. "The best of the best of the best in the world will make some bad plays from time to time."

Lawrence started his turnaround in the second quarter. First, he found wide receiver Joseph Ngata for a 6-yard score on the Tigers' first possession of the quarter. After the teams traded punts, Clemson got the ball back with 1:05 left in the half. Lawrence drove the team down the field, and then with five seconds remaining, chucked a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Justyn Ross in the back of the end zone after scrambling around.

"I just put it where only he could get it," Lawrence said. "The receivers we have, they'll make plays like that."

Ross came down with the ball, giving the Tigers a 17-3 lead entering the half. Lawrence guided the offense the rest of the way, atoning for his early mistakes. 

"He had four bad plays," Swinney said. "We can sit around and focus on that, or we can focus on good plays. That's what I choose to focus on.

"Man. What a job he did."

Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.

Joshua Needelman covers Clemson for The Post and Courier. He's a Long Island, N.Y., native and a University of Maryland alum. He's won national and state awards in sports and feature writing, and for reasons unclear he still roots for the New York Knicks.

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