Freshman Trevor Lawrence is the new starting quarterback for No. 3 Clemson, replacing senior Kelly Bryant — for now.
The move doesn’t mean Bryant is being benched, or won’t regain the starting spot. But coach Dabo Swinney wouldn’t say anything Monday following the announcement that Lawrence will start Saturday against Syracuse (4-0, 1-0).
Lawrence has completed 39 of 60 passes for 600 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Bryant has thrown for 461 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in four games.
Lawrence’s play, particularly in last week’s 49-21 win at Georgia Tech, could not be ignored, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said.
“You’ve got to reward productivity,” Elliott said. “If you look at his opportunities, he’s taken advantage of them.”
Elliott cautioned that Lawrence’s elevation is just for this week and the competition with Bryant for playing time will continue.
Bryant led Clemson to a 12-2 season and a third consecutive ACC title and College Football Playoff berth.
Hokies ’Jackson out
Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson needs surgery for a broken left fibula and is out indefinitely.
Jackson, who set Hokiesfreshman records last year by throwing for 2,991 yards and 20 scores, was replaced by redshirt junior Ryan Willis in the third quarter of Saturday’s 49-35 loss at Old Dominion. Willis was nine for 18 for 131 yards with a touchdown pass. He also ran four times for 30 yards.
Receivers Jalen McCleskey of Oklahoma State and Jonathan Nance of Arkansas will sit out the rest of the season as redshirts and prepare to transfer.
McCleskey, the Cowboys’ primary slot receiver for three years, ranks sixth in school history with 167 receptions and ninth with 17 touchdown catches. He’s second on the team this season with 15 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns; he had four receptions for 52 yards in Saturday’s 41-17 loss to Texas Tech.
“He did not feel good about us getting the ball to him...” coach Mike Gundy said. “I hated to see it. He’s been awesome for us.”
Nance, a senior, led Arkansas in catches last year with 37 for 539 yards. He has one catch for minus-two yards this season.
Northwestern leading rusher Jeremy Larkin is retiring from football after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck and upper back. ... David Blough was named Purdue’s starting quarterback after leading the Boilermakers to their first win Saturday against Boston College.