Sports

Clemson Comes Alive!

The biggest football game Clemson University has hosted in decades more than lived up to its advance billing – with head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers earning their second straight statement victory over one of the powerful Southeastern Conference’s elite programs. In fact Clemson embarked on an SEC-style 12-play, 87-yard scoring…

The biggest football game Clemson University has hosted in decades more than lived up to its advance billing – with head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers earning their second straight statement victory over one of the powerful Southeastern Conference’s elite programs.

In fact Clemson embarked on an SEC-style 12-play, 87-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter to seal the deal – and prove the naysayers (us included) wrong.

The Tigers’ 38-35 win over No. 5 Georgia – coming on the heels of last year’s bowl victory over Louisiana State – gives No. 8 Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC) back-to-back wins over two of the best football programs in America. It also puts Swinney’s team squarely in the middle of the national championship conversation.

Meanwhile Georgia (0-1, 0-0 SEC) must regroup as it prepares to open its conference slate at home next week against sixth-ranked South Carolina.

In addition to the game, the Tigers won the much-hyped battle of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterbacks – with senior quarterback Tajh Boyd out-dueling Georgia’s Aaron Murray.

Boyd connected on 18 of 30 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns – with no interceptions. He also ran for 42 yards on 10 carries – including a pair of touchdowns (and numerous key conversions). His favorite target? Junior Sammy Watkins – who reminded Tiger fans of his 2011 All-American campaign with six receptions for 127 yards (including a 77-yard touchdown).

Boyd also outshone Murray in areas statistics don’t measure – like the numerous sacks he evaded with his strength and elusiveness.

Tajh Boyd dives for the end zone during the first half of Clemson's 35-31 win over Georgia. (Travis Bell Photography)
Tajh Boyd dives for the end zone during the first half of Clemson’s 38-35 win over Georgia. (Travis Bell Photography)

Murray completed 20 of 29 passes for 323 yards with no touchdowns and one interception – but was totally shut down by Clemson’s surprisingly resilient defense during a critical stretch of the game. He was also sacked four times.

After giving up touchdowns on three consecutive possessions in the first half, coordinator Brent Venables’ unit bottled up Georgia on six consecutive drives – with the Bulldogs surrendering yardage and committing a pair of critical turnovers (one leading to a Tajh Boyd touchdown run).

Georgia was on the verge of getting nothing on a seventh straight drive early in the third quarter (and being run completely out of Death Valley) when a gutsy fake punt call from Bulldog head coach Mark Richt finally awakened his offense.

Moments later, though, a special teams miscue – an errant snap on a game-tying field goal attempt by Georgia – swung momentum back in Clemson’s favor.

The Tigers never looked back from that point … and when much-maligned wide receiver Martavis Bryant corralled an onside kick following a late Georgia touchdown, the biggest celebration Tigertown has seen in decades was on.

Clemson had mixed success against Georgia’s vaunted running back tandem. Despite missing several series due to a thigh injury, sophomore Todd Gurley ran for a career high 154 yards on twelve carries – scoring two touchdowns. Keith Marshall – the other half of the Bulldogs’ dynamic duo – didn’t fare so well, picking up only 43 yards on sixteen carries.

The big surprise of the game? Clemson’s potent ground attack – which was led by senior tailback Roderick McDowell. After waiting in the wings for several seasons, McDowell had the game of his career against the Bulldogs – racking up 132 yards on 22 carries.

Good for him … and good for Clemson. We honestly thought the Tigers’ big win over LSU in December was a fluke but at this point there’s no denying it: Clemson is for real.

FIRST REACTIONS

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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35 comments

TontoBubbaGoldstein September 1, 2013 at 12:11 am

ACC! ACC! ACC!

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SpurriersBigCock September 1, 2013 at 12:17 am

The problem is UGA will be seriously pissed off next Saturday.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein September 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

TBG views that as a feature, not a bug.

Go DAWGS!!

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9" September 1, 2013 at 8:22 am

Yeah,well.With that hair,most of ’em look ready for the,Westminster Dog Show…

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Squishy123 September 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Easy, there are enough players on USC’s team that look like they spend their Saturdays at LaKanenesha’s Hair Weaving Salon too. It’s part of today’s “look at me” player attitude.

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9" September 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Isn’t that on Farrow Road?

Scooter September 1, 2013 at 12:29 am

One of these days, when we get SEC speed, we will really be good.

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chris fowler September 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm

or SEC emotion or an SEC environment

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The Unknown Comic September 1, 2013 at 1:44 am

Were any rocks hurt after the victory?

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Jim Sweet September 1, 2013 at 6:13 am

Haha you thugs thats how football is played! talant all over that pretty field dont be jelous. we got the best coachs in America, we got the best qb in America, and we got better players than that thug clowny. suck on this coots cause we get wins like this all the time! ge beats yall by 17.

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Turd Ferguson September 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Yer grammer iz the most awesumest to!

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Thomas September 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Well, see you in November for dat bcs spot, we be kickin the willy making dat phat cheese…5-peat yall

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9" September 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

Football is a lot more fun,if you’re more into the white guys in the stands,going to the restroom…

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9" September 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

Fits making a Frampton reference?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnI6W3l_1Oo

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9" September 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

Football is a lot more fun,if you’re more into the white guys in the stands,going to the restroom…

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Smirks September 1, 2013 at 7:30 am

Closer game than I predicted, but I wasn’t too far off! Good game Clemson.

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shifty henry September 1, 2013 at 11:21 am

Smirks, pretty good, huh?

Smirks:….. 41 – 34
Shifty:……. 41 – 36

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Smirks September 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

lol, fair enough.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein September 1, 2013 at 8:59 am

They proved they can beat two good SEC teams with a month to prep for each. Try doing it week in, week out IN the SEC.

TBG assumes Jason realizes that the SEC teams also had a month to prepare for Clemson.

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Frank Howard September 1, 2013 at 9:02 am

That boy, Jason, played too much football without a helmet. He assumes that everyone else, like he, is stupid.

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JJ September 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Georgia also heads into the Carolina game with significant skill position injuries. In addition to Gurley’s leg injury, WR Mitchell looks to be out long-term.

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Thomas September 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Right, Clemson roughed them up, however, a wounded animal is more dangerous. Gurley can run….see that last drive with three to go?

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Same ol' Same ol' September 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Glad Clemson won, but it was a sloppy game. Many times you just had to wonder why there was no coverage, or really loose coverage on GA receivers. This happened a lot.

The refs also missed a lot of calls, on both sides. I’m sure this happens in every game. There were some flagrant holds, personal fouls and such. You can, at least, say they let the boys play.

Anyway, the Tigers squeaked one out. 38 – 35 is not a domination.

It will be interesting to see next week, a tired, out of shape Clowney against a beat up GA.

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Thomas September 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Look, you and everyone else, the no huddle offense in on field 100 degree heat would lay waste to any pro team let alone a part time student athlete. Our guys will be fresh after that game time workout. Clowney was in the back field so much that any pass was to the original line of scrimmage…he did great considering the heat and no huddle offense…superbly in fact.

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Squishy123 September 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Do you realize that Georgia also has figured out that they’re in trouble if they start the season 0-2, do you think they’ll be ready for a must win game at home? I expect if Georgia plays as good as they did last night that it’s going to be a long afternoon for USC.

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CNSYD September 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm

“Our guys”? You went to The Citadel so I assume that is “our guys”.

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Same ol' Same ol' September 2, 2013 at 10:33 am

I didn’t say Clowney didn’t play hard. In another post I did say that every team USC plays this year will run away from him, making it more difficult for him to shine, that’s what they have to do. He’ll catch them, from time to time, but it won’t be easy.
True, 100 deg heat is nothing to scoff at, but, to the viewing audience, it looked like he was out of shape. May not be, but we aren’t in his or any of the other players shoes so we don’t really know.
It would be interesting to know what the coach had to say to them after looking at the film.

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Thomas September 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Does Clemson start every game like that, three buses rolling up out front to let them run down a hill? How gauche. However, the GA and LSU beat downs has me thinking the Tiger’s Swinney has a few moves! Great games all!

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Thomas September 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

BTW, GA’s Gurley must be stopped if SC expects to shut out GA in 2013.

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CNSYD September 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Perhaps if you hadn’t been stoned all those years, you would know the answer.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein September 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm

TBG has your “gauche” right here.

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9" September 1, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Here’s some correct French,since football’s gone gay;faked injury drama queens,stomach viruses,over the top ‘hairstyles’,etc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=274VrgP1wxs

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Jeffy01 September 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Give the kitties credit…they won. One for the thumb in Nov!

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Chris Fowler September 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm

SEC-style scoring drive? You must listen to ESPN too much.

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BigSexy September 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Glad to see Tigers do what should have been done instead of more excuses. Yes I’m a fan. No matter the score or team, win or loss Tigers still have more class and will always be more than LameCocks!!!

Reply

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