Fireworks in Clemson as Tigers gnaw their way past Bulldogs in opener
ACC beats out SEC
CLEMSON, S. Carolina -The Clemson Tigers men’s football team felt like rock stars upon arrival at Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium Saturday night, arriving by bus with screaming fans waving at them, players all dressed up and ready to entertain the #5 Georgia Bulldogs.
And by the time it was all over, it had a real rock concert feel to it too as the fans in the stands emptied out onto the field; the #8 Tigers felt like rockstars afterwards too, having hung on to a 38-35 win with the Bulldogs knocking on the door again in the final minute of play.
The game was predicted to be one of the Top 10 games of the 2013 NCAA Division I football schedule this year.
It didn’t disappoint.
Clemson registered a statement win over Georgia, officially welcoming themselves into any discussion regarding possible candidates for the 2014 National Championship Game.
And it’s only August!
Technically College football shouldn’t even begin until September.
Facing third-and-goal from Georgia’s 9,Stanton Seckinger caught a touchdown pass to put Clemson up 38-28 with 7:40 to play. The Tigers drove 87 yards in 12 plays — none bigger than a highlight-reel 36-yard run by Roderick McDowell to Georgia’s 6 — on the win-clinching drive.
Clemson-Georgia was billed as a meeting of explosive offenses beforehand and didn’t disappoint. They combined for 73 points and 1,012 yards (467 by Clemson and 545 by Georgia).
The two teams traded punches through the entire first half, tied 14-14 after the first quarter and 21-21 going into the locker room.
The only points difference the entire night was Clemson scoring a field goal in the third quarter to outscore Georgia 10-7 in that quarter.
Also, Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd took the spot light for the most part from Georgia’s more experienced pivot, Aaron Murray. Boyd threw 3 touchdown passes and rushed for 2 more and his defence sacked Murray 4 times.
Boyd was all but certain to give up his final year of school to pursue a shot with the NFL, but games like the one tonight are what brought him back.
Murray did not look like the same QB who played so well in last year’s SEC championship; tonight he struggled to move the Bulldogs when it counted most. He led a 64-yard, hurry up drive in the final quarter and his 1-yard TD run cut a 10-point lead to 38-35 with 1:19 left. But Clemson recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock to end Georgia’s five-game series win streak.
Murray did complete 20-29 passes for 323 yards but his interception and the fact he was chased down by Clemson’s defensive line all night long, did not help his overall performance.
The Tigers’ victory gives them back to back wins over the powerhouses from the SEC following their one-point win over LSU on New Year’s Eve in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Echoes of ‘A-C-C…A-C-C’ were heard throughout the stadium as time on the clock ran out.
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