Tampa Bound! Tigers Claim First Ever Division Title Outright with Win Over UVa


by - Senior Writer -
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Jacoby Ford's 24 yard touchdown catch gave Clemson a 24-14 lead in the second quarter.

CLEMSON – The Virginia Cavaliers were so intent on not letting C.J. Spiller get loose for one of his game-breaking plays that they forgot the Tigers had another senior playmaker capable of the big play.

Senior receiver Jacoby Ford gained a career-high 211 all-purpose yards and the 18th-ranked Tigers (8-3 overall, 5-2) shook off a pesky Virginia(3-8, 2-5) team to complete a special day with a 34-21 win over the Cavaliers.

The Tigers clinched the ACC Atlantic Division on Saturday when Boston College lost in an early game to North Carolina, but Ford said he would still relish the victory and his effort in his last game in Clemson.

“This was a perfect way for it to end,” Ford said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything different. I wasn’t trying to do anything special. The coaches just kept calling my number and I was able to make some big plays. But this is more than about me, this is about this team, and how we rebounded this season.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was emotional in his post-game press conference, and was pleased with the play of all of his seniors on their special day, mentioning his being able to take some of his seniors out to ovations on the Tigers’ last drive.

“It was like a basketball game, when I subbed the guys out at the end of the game,” Swinney said. “I had to congratulate them for their efforts not just for today, but for the past four years. They gave me a No. 40 jersey for my birthday, and they all signed it before the game. They are a really great group of guys. Jacoby had a career-high in all-purpose yards today, and Kavell [Conner] came out and made 15 tackles. All of the seniors gave great effort today.”

Swinney also said he was glad for the chance that Clemson has in going to Tampa.

“I thank God for allowing me to be here with this great program, this great staff, these great players, and this great fan base,” Swinney said. “So many people deserve this win. These guys played great, and played through adversity to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. Now let’s go to Tampa.”

The Tigers went to the air on their second possession of the game, Parker hitting Michael Palmer for 16 yards, Jacoby Ford for 17 yards, and then hit Dwayne Allen from 16 yards out for the touchdown. Allen stood up after the catch and saluted the men and women in uniform in front of The Hill and was penalized on a celebration penalty, but the Tigers led 7-0 with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Allen’s celebration penalty caused the Tigers to kick off from their own 15-yard line, and a big return set the Cavaliers up in Clemson territory at the 45-yard line, and six plays later quarterback Jameel Sewell jogged in from six yards away tie to the score at 7-7.

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond, marching 71 yards in just six plays, Spiller capping the scoring drive by rumbling in from four yards away and the Tigers were back on top at 14-7.

The Tigers were presented with the ACC Atlantic Division Trophy in the locker room after the game by ACC Commissioner John Swofford.


The Cavalier offense, which came into the game struggling to score points and gain yards, proved that neither one was tough in the early going against the Tigers, using the Wildcat formation with tailback Mikell Simpson taking snaps, and took the ensuing possession down the field and scoring when Vic Hall hit tight end Joe Torchia for a five yard touchdown pass, and the teams were tied at 14 apiece with 10:40 remaining in the half.

The Tigers had a first-and-goal at the Virginia three-yard line, but settled for a 21-yard field goal from Richard Jackson, and Clemson led 17-14.

Clemson linebacker Brandon Maye forced his second fumble of the day on Virginia’s next possession, and Chris Chancellor recovered to the set the Tigers up at the Cavalier 24-yard line. Three plays later, Parker was flushed out of the pocket, step up near the line of scrimmage and threw across his body and found Jacoby Ford streaking in the front of the end zone. The 24-yard touchdown pass gave Clemson a 24-14 lead with 1:52 remaining in the half.

Virginia took over at their own 20, and Sewell ended the half when he hit Mikell Simpson out of the backfield for a 23-yard touchdown, and the Tigers held a tenuous 24-21 lead at the half. The numbers for the Tiger defense were ugly at the half – Virginia had 230 total yards of offense, 114 on the ground and 216 through the air.

The second half would be a different story, however, as the Tigers allowed just 40 yards of total offense to the Cavaliers, a fact which Swinney said was all about the halftime adjustments.

“We didn’t play smart in the first half,” Swinney said. “We weren’t disciplined with our eyes, and they had a lot of trick plays in the first half. Our staff made great adjustments at halftime, and we challenged them in the second half. This team never gave up, and they came out in the second half to win this game.”

The teams traded possessions and punts to open the second half, but the Tigers got back on the scoreboard on their second drive, using six plays to set up a five-yard touchdown plunge by Andre Ellington that gave Clemson a 31-21 lead midway through the quarter.

The Tigers ended the third quarter with another scoring drive, Jackson continuing his perfect kicking day by hitting a 24-yard field for a 34-21 Tiger lead at the end of three quarters that would stand up til the end of the game.

Parker, who finished a solid 19-for26 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, said clinching was made even more special because of all the Tigers had to overcome after a 2-3 start.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Parker said. “The biggest thing is this team didn’t give up. We kept working hard, and when people didn’t believe, we still believed in ourselves. It’s an extremely good feeling. Our fans deserved to see a win today. They put a lot into it. We have some great fans out there watching us, and they deserved the satisfaction of watching us win the Atlantic Division.”

Virginia head coach Al Groh said the Tigers looked like a championship-caliber team.

“Well, congratulations to Clemson for winning their division,” Groh said. “That is one of the better looking teams we have seen in quite some time. They come at you from all directions. The pressure is on every play. We stood up to it well throughout, but there is just a lot of talent out there and some of those playmakers made plays that made the difference in the game.”

Date: Nov 21, 2009  Site: Clemson, SC           Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Attendance: 77000

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Virginia............  7 14  0  0  - 21
Clemson.............  7 17 10  0  - 34

Scoring Summary:
1st 05:50 CU - Dwayne Allen 16 yd pass from Kyle Parker (Richard Jackson kick)
                                                    4 plays, 48 yards, TOP 1:38, VA 0 - CU 7
    02:16 VA - Jameel Sewell 6 yd run (Drew Jarrett kick)
                                                    6 plays, 45 yards, TOP 3:27, VA 7 - CU 7
2nd 14:25 CU - C.J. Spiller 4 yd run (Richard Jackson kick)
                                                   6 plays, 71 yards, TOP 2:45, VA 7 - CU 14
    10:40 VA - Joe Torchia 5 yd pass from Vic Hall (Drew Jarrett kick)
                                                  7 plays, 83 yards, TOP 3:40, VA 14 - CU 14
    04:28 CU - Richard Jackson 21 yd field goal
                                                 13 plays, 57 yards, TOP 6:06, VA 14 - CU 17
    01:52 CU - Jacoby Ford 24 yd pass from Kyle Parker (Richard Jackson kick)
                                                  3 plays, 27 yards, TOP 0:18, VA 14 - CU 24
    00:00 VA - Mikell Simpson 23 yd pass from Jameel Sewell (Drew Jarrett kick)
                                                  9 plays, 80 yards, TOP 1:52, VA 21 - CU 24
3rd 07:17 CU - Andre Ellington 5 yd run (Richard Jackson kick)
                                                  6 plays, 66 yards, TOP 2:50, VA 21 - CU 31
    00:08 CU - Richard Jackson 24 yd field goal
                                                  9 plays, 34 yards, TOP 4:31, VA 21 - CU 34

Kickoff time: 3:30 PM   End of Game: 6:35 PM   Total elapsed time: 3:05
Officials: Referee: Ron Cherry; Umpire: Tom Laverty; Linesman: Michael Kelley;
Line judge: Rick Page; Back judge: Pat Ryan; Field judge: Billy Beckett;
Side judge: Mike Safrit;
Temperature: 62 deg    Wind: Light     Weather: Mostly sunny

Team Statistics 
                                     VA       CU

FIRST DOWNS...................       17       20
  Rushing.....................        8        9
  Passing.....................        7       11
  Penalty.....................        2        0
NET YARDS RUSHING.............       78      132
  Rushing Attempts............       40       38
  Average Per Rush............      2.0      3.5
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        1        2
  Yards Gained Rushing........      141      149
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       63       17
NET YARDS PASSING.............      195      234
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  13-19-0  19-26-0
  Average Per Attempt.........     10.3      9.0
  Average Per Completion......     15.0     12.3
  Passing Touchdowns..........        2        2
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      273      366
  Total offense plays.........       59       64
  Average Gain Per Play.......      4.6      5.7
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      4-2      1-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     4-25     5-51
PUNTS-YARDS...................    5-199    3-115
  Average Yards Per Punt......     39.8     38.3
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     32.0     34.3
  Inside 20...................        0        2
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        2        1
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    3-187    7-462
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     62.3     66.0
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     40.0     47.0
  Touchbacks..................        0        1
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.   2-12-0   2-39-0
  Average Per Return..........      6.0     19.5
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  6-113-0   3-67-0
  Average Per Return..........     18.8     22.3
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    0-0-0    0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    1-3-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    27:37    32:23
  1st Quarter.................     7:59     7:01
  2nd Quarter.................     7:55     7:05
  3rd Quarter.................     4:28    10:32
  4th Quarter.................     7:15     7:45
Third-Down Conversions........  6 of 13  5 of 13
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 2   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      2-2      5-6
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-2     7-54
PAT Kicks.....................      3-3      4-4
Field Goals...................      0-0      2-3

Individual Statistics 

Virginia

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Mikell Simpson       14   86    2   84  0 22  6.0
Rashawn Jackson       9   29    4   25  0  9  2.8
Perry Jones           5    8    1    7  0  3  1.4
Vic Hall              2    5    0    5  0  3  2.5
Jameel Sewell        10   13   56  -43  1  7 -4.3
Totals...            40  141   63   78  1 22  2.0

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Jameel Sewell          11-17-0   160  1   38    7
Vic Hall                2-2-0     35  1   30    0
Totals...              13-19-0   195  2   38    7

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Kris Burd               4   60    0   25
Mikell Simpson          2   43    1   23
Dontrelle Inman         2    5    0    3
Perry Jones             1   38    0   38
Jameel Sewell           1   30    0   30
Vic Hall                1   14    0   14
Joe Torchia             1    5    1    5
Rashawn Jackson         1    0    0    0
Totals...              13  195    2   38

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Jimmy Howell            5  199  39.8   48    0    0
Totals...               5  199  39.8   48    0    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Vic Hall              2  12 12  0   0  0  0   0  0
Chase Minnifield      0   0  0  5  86 34  0   0  0
Corey Mosley          0   0  0  1  27 27  0   0  0
Totals...             2  12 12  6 113 34  0   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
Randolph, R        3  187   0   0  62.3


Clemson

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
C.J. Spiller         19   60    2   58  1 14  3.1
Andre Ellington       5   29    0   29  1 13  5.8
Kyle Parker           5   25    5   20  0 19  4.0
Jamie Harper          4   19    0   19  0  8  4.8
Jacoby Ford           1   16    0   16  0 16 16.0
Chad Diehl            1    0    1   -1  0  0 -1.0
TEAM                  3    0    9   -9  0  0 -3.0
Totals...            38  149   17  132  2 19  3.5

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Kyle Parker            19-26-0   234  2   28    1
Totals...              19-26-0   234  2   28    1

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Jacoby Ford             6  106    1   28
C.J. Spiller            5   39    0   26
Michael Palmer          3   30    0   15
Rendrick Taylor         2   19    0   13
Dwayne Allen            1   16    1   16
Xavier Dye              1   13    0   13
Marquan Jones           1   11    0   11
Totals...              19  234    2   28

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Dawson Zimmerman        3  115  38.3   48    2    0
Totals...               3  115  38.3   48    2    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Jacoby Ford           1  22 22  3  67 23  0   0  0
C.J. Spiller          1  17 17  0   0  0  0   0  0
Totals...             2  39 22  3  67 23  0   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Richard Jackson      2nd 04:28  21 yds - Good
Richard Jackson      3rd 00:08  24 yds - Good
Richard Jackson      4th 07:29  52 yds - Missed

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
Benton, S          7  462   1   0  66.0

FUMBLES: Virginia-Chase Minnifield 2-0; Mikell Simpson 1-1; 
Rashawn Jackson 1-1. Clemson-Chad Diehl 1-0.

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