A fourth-quarter comeback. “Sometimes, that is how it goes with us. We get down and we have to claw our way back,” quarterback Tajh Boyd said.
A last-second field goal. “Every week I visualize a game winner and this week I got that opportunity and I thank my team for giving it to me,” placekicker Chandler Catanzaro said. Clemson’s #1 Fan and my personal Tiger Historian J. Lewis Cromer called me today and reminded me of the 2nd chance placekicking parallel between the Catman and David Treadwell (anyone remember the Va. Tech. game winner @1983?)
Parallels aside, That last minute field goal, for Clemson, adds up to a division title and a ticket to the ACC Championship Game. As I feared, the Tigers got all they could handle from Wake Forest on Saturday, and then some. Down 14-7 at halftime, the Demon Deacons pulled a “Freaky Friday” and scored an explosive 21 points in the third quarter to take a two-touchdown lead. But there was hope. After all, Clemson came back from down 18 at Maryland. But this one would be without wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who left the game in the third with a shoulder injury. (Mercifully, looks like his injury was not serious and he is expected to be fine Saturday for the 3:30 kickoff at NC State.)
“You always want to make a play and when one player goes down that just gives the next guys an opportunity to make a play,” CU wide receiver Jaron Brown said.
“We have a chance for our 10th win at NC State next week,” he said. “I look forward to seeing everyone in Raleigh. Hang on to your hat, we may not always be pretty, but we’re a work in progress. Go Tigers, baby!”
If Clemson isn’t always pretty, Carolina’s giving ugly football a new look.
Todd Blackledge of ESPN said on Saturday that he didn’t like the notion of “style points” in college football because it’s hard enough to win, especially in the SEC. For USC, there wasn’t much pretty to look at, though the Gamecocks relied on its proven abilities to beat Florida 17-12 and secure six SEC wins in one season for the first time in program history.
Carolina lost out on its division title though, barring an improbable Kentucky upset of Georgia this weekend.(Don’t get me wrong, I’ll STILL be crossing all my fingers and toes for the Wildcats Saturday). While the Bulldogs’ blowout of Auburn in Athens gave them a one-game lead in the SEC East standings on USC, the Cock’s victory over Florida still means a great deal to the program.
“It’s interesting, not many of you would say we’d be 6-2 in the conference without Marcus or with a quarterback who’s never played, Connor Shaw,” USC head coach Steve Spurrier said following the game. “Or without Kyle Nunn who we lost the second week with a back injury. But our defense stayed pretty healthy throughout. Most of our veteran guys are on defense.”
He continued, “This was a good win for us. I’m happy with this one. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had, not because it’s my old school but because it’s six wins in the conference and beating those three schools that have dominated South Carolina prior to ’05. That’s why it’s really special.”
Please leave your comments on this past weekend’s performance– or anything else on your mind, for that matter. And I think you can safety consider this my last ” Kumbaya Palmetto Pigskinl Piece” this Season, ’cause after this weekend, all bets are off!
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr, an Attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia. He received his BA in 1985 from Clemson University and his JD in 1988 from the University of South Carolina School of Law.