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Lawrence, No. 3 Clemson pound Pitt

Trevor Lawrence is back.

In a big way.

Clemson's junior quarterback, who hadn't played in a game since Oct. 24, returned to action with a flourish Saturday afternoon, passing for 403 yards and two touchdowns in the third-ranked Tigers' 52-17 victory against visiting Pitt.

Lawrence missed two games, including the team's 47-40 double-overtime loss at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, while in quarantine for COVID-19. The Tigers' scheduled game at Florida State last week was postponed due to coronavirus concerns regarding the Seminoles' program.

Playing in what was expected to be his final home game, Lawrence shined from the outset, guiding the Tigers to scores on five consecutive possessions as Clemson posted a school-record, 31-point first quarter.

The Tigers (8-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) kept their hopes alive for a sixth consecutive ACC championship as well as a sixth straight berth into the College Football Playoff.

Pitt (5-5, 4-5) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

The victory enabled Clemson's seniors to cap their careers by going undefeated at home (27-0) over the past four seasons.

It also was Clemson's 28th consecutive home victory, coincidentally dating back to a 43-42 loss to Pitt on Nov. 12, 2016. Clemson went on to win the national championship that year.

Lawrence, who is expected to be the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 26 of 37 passes, and his yardage total fell 1 yard shy of his career high set earlier this season against Georgia Tech.

The Tigers intercepted Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett four times -- matching his total for the season in seven games prior.

Mario Goodrich had two interceptions while Andrew Booth Jr. and Malcolm Greene each had one for the Tigers.

Pickett connected on 22 of 39 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns, an 18-yarder to Jordan Addison and a 4-yarder to Vincent Davis.

Clemson's Travis Etienne gained 58 yards on 11 carries with a pair of short touchdown runs, and backups Lyn-J Dixon and Chez Mellusi each added scoring runs.

Lawrence threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to E.J. Williams, a freshman, and 43 yards to Cornell Powell, a senior. Powell finished with six receptions for a career-high 176 yards.

--Field Level Media

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