Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said the vicious hit he took from Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade in the first half of Saturday's College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl left his arm numb and was a turning point for the entire team in its 29-23 win over the Buckeyes.
"It was just, they hit me, and I was worried it was my collarbone for a second because I couldn't feel it up there around my shoulder and neck, and my arm just went numb," Lawrence said Monday on a CFP teleconference. "It was just a really bad stinger. And then I got kind of -- I was kind of pissed off because I knew they were over there thinking like, 'All right, we knocked him out.'"
After a review of the play on third-and-5, officials determined that Wade had lowered the crown of his head when going in for the sack, and he was ejected for targeting. Lawrence missed one play and returned to complete a 10-play drive that took 4:35 off the clock and was punctuated by an 8-yard touchdown by Travis Etienne.
"They think they had all the momentum, so I was like, 'All right, I'm just going to pop up, I'm going to run it off,'" he said. "And I was pissed, too, because I thought we were punting, and then it turns out they called targeting and we got a chance to go back out there and we finished and scored on that drive. But I was just like, man, from then on, they thought they had knocked me out. I had a different kind of edge when I got up.
"It's definitely I would say the most physical game I've ever been in and the most sore I've been after a game," he said. "Yeah, I woke up yesterday morning and definitely felt it. But you know, it's a good feeling, though, when you wake up and you know you left everything out there."
With the win, Clemson advanced to the CFP national title game for the fourth time in five years, where it will face No. 1 LSU on Jan. 13 in New Orleans (8 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN App). Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the entire team is banged up.
"Oh, there ain't nobody OK," Swinney said. "Are you kidding me? We just came out of a 15-round bout. Coaches are sore. We're all sore. Everybody is beat up. That was an unbelievable game. But again, our guys finished. Everybody who got hurt came back." Swinney said everyone will be healthy and ready to play on Jan. 13. The long break between games will work in their favor, but Swinney said he would still prefer to play sooner.
"I think playing on Saturday and then playing the following Monday, I like that," he said. "But in this particular case, it's a blessing for us because we can kind of give our guys a couple days to just rest and recover, and also the coaches."