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Instant Analysis: Clemson 25, LSU 24

  by - Staff Writer - Monday, December 31, 2012 11:21 PM

ATLANTA - Instant Analysis: Clemson 25, LSU 24

Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired and Nuk Hopkins had 13 catches for 190 yards as Clemson beat LSU 25-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Monday night in the Georgia Dome.

Clemson finishes with 11 wins.

What went right: Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman
Sr. Defensive End
#97 6-4, 270
Florence, SC

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has been quiet most of the season, but came up with two huge sacks in the first quarter.

Freshman D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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played like a seasoned veteran, pushing the LSU right guard nine yards backwards and opening a hole for linebacker Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian
RS Jr. Linebacker
#34 6-2, 225
Lake View, SC

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to sack LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Clemson sacked Mettenberger four times in the opening quarter.

Quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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rushed for 23 yards on Clemson’s second drive of the game, a drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

LSU had the ball on third-and-one on its own 29 and the Clemson defense- led by Reader- stuffed the run to force an LSU punt.

Clemson wide receiver Nuk Hopkins caught an 11-yard touchdown in second quarter, giving him a touchdown in 10 straight games- an ACC record. The previous record was held by Virginia’s Herman Moore.

Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
#11 6-1, 190
Tallahassee, FL

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picked off Mettenberger’s pass with less than a minute remaining in the half.

With the Clemson offense struggling, the defense stopped LSU on third-and-short to force consecutive three and outs.

After the Ellington fumble, the Clemson defense held LSU to a field goal.

Xavier BrewerXavier Brewer
Gr. Defensive Back
#9 5-11, 190
Jacksonville, FL

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jumped on a third-and-seven for LSU, giving the Cajun Tigers a second chance to pick up the first down, but Brewer avenged his mistake by stopping the runner short of the first down marker.

After a big stop by Brewer and the Clemson defense, the offense set up a Chandler Catanzaro field goal to pull the Clemson within eight.

With less than three minutes remaining in the game, Boyd found Hopkins at the back of the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown to bring Clemson within two.

Down two, the Clemson defense needed to make a stop to give the offense a chance and they forced LSU into a three-and-out.

Boyd hit Hopkins on a crucial 4th-and-16 to keep the final drive alive, leading up to CatMan’s field goal.

What went wrong: On the second play of the game, Clemson wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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took a handoff from Boyd and ran right up the middle, fumbled the ball and suffered a game-ending ankle injury.

After consecutive three-and-outs, LSU drove 65 yards for their second touchdown of the game. The drive was aided by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Christian.

Right tackle Giff Timothy went out with a leg injury late in the first quarter.

After Clemson’s second touchdown, LSU blocked the extra point.

On fourth-and-10 and with Clemson driving late in the second quarter, Clemson elected to go for it with Boyd running after being flushed from the pocket, but he came up a half-yard short.

Clemson allowed a 43-yard return on the opening kickoff of the second half.

LSU running back Jeremy Hill took the ball 57 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of the second half.

Clemson opened the second half with a three-and-out after Hopkins dropped a pass that would’ve given Clemson the first down.

After picking up eight yards on first down, Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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fumbled the ball to give the LSU the ball on the 29-yard line.

On third down, LSU was flagged for pass interference on Hopkins to give Clemson the ball on the 10-yard line, but Boyd was forced out of the pocket twice and Clemson had to settle for a field goal.

Because Clemson had an extra point blocked earlier in the game, Clemson was forced to go for two points and failed to covert, trailing by two with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

With 2:47 remaining in the game, Clemson elects to kick short and give LSU field position.

Turning Point of the Game: Boyd’s pass to Hopkins on fourth down to keep the final drive alive.

Stat of the Game: Clemson ran 102 plays and had 437 total yards against one of the nation’s best defenses.

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