It took Clemson two years to erase the embarrassment of their previous Orange Bowl visit, and it came in the form of an exciting finish and a 40-35 win over Ohio State, giving the school and the state of South Carolina their first ever win in a BCS Bowl game.
So even though the Tigers haven’t done very well in their in-state rivalry with South Carolina in recent years, Dabo Swinney has something to hold over Steve Spurrier’s head, at least until the next time these two teams meet on the field.
What are Clemson going to do next year without Tajh Boyd (senior) at quarterback and Sammy Watkins (Junior, but heading into the NFL)? Very hard to say. The two of them seemed like they saved anything they had for the big game against Ohio State, knowing that there isn’t much of a defense to stop them. Boyd threw five touchdown passes and two interceptions, marching his team forward 378 yards on 31-of-40. He also ran for 127 yards and scored a touchdown.
Watkins? He was bound to have a big game against the exposed Ohio State secondary, catching two touchdown passes that had many other NFL and College Football stars tweeting about his greatness.
Not that Clemson’s defense made things too difficult for Ohio State. Carlos Hyde ran for 113 yards and one touchdown, probably heading into the NFL draft as the number one running back. Braxton Miller did throw for two touchdown passes and run for two more, but also threw a couple of interceptions, including the one that ended the game.
We managed to last almost 10 full minutes without a touchdown to start the third quarter before Carlos Hyde drove into the endzone, giving Ohio State a nine point lead. Their defense should have been able to hold on to that, right? Wrong. Tajh Boyd made an incredible throw to Sammy Watkins in the end zone before making another fine lob that got an incredible catch out of Martavis Bryant, bringing out the best of his juggling skills.
Moving into the fourth quarter, Braxton Miller took a late hit but was able to wing out a throw towards a wide open Carlos Hyde in the end zone, giving Ohio State a one point lead with 11:35 left in the game. Five minutes later, a play-action fake gave Boyd space and time to find Stanton Seckinger in the end zone. With all of this offense, it was shocking to see both Boyd and Miller throwing interceptions on the last two drives of the game. Miller’s ended Ohio State’s chances of coming back, making it quite a fall for them in the final two games of the season, while Clemson get to erase that awful evening from two years ago against West Virginia.
We are Orange Bowl champs again. Hey, listen: Two years ago we got our butts kicked on this field. And it has been a journey to get back. We’re 22-4 since that night. And we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game. That was a lot of fun man, a lot of fun.