Boulware puts his signature on Tigers' end of season run
|Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 6:01 PM- -|
Everything Ben Boulware does has his own special signature to it, whether it’s playing football, riding motocross or doing interviews. Ben is, for the most part, just Ben. He isn’t going to change for anybody and he doesn’t care if you like it or not.
Before Saturday’s ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, head coach Dabo Swinney had a message for his senior linebacker, one that Boulware took to heart. During the second quarter of the Tigers’ 42-35 victory over the Hokies, Boulware met wide receiver Cam Phillips in the middle of the field and delivered a solid blow that knocked Phillips off his feet.
As his teammates celebrated, Boulware took his finger and wrote something in the night air. What was it? His name.
“Absolutely. Coach Swinney said, 'Do your signature with excellence. Put your name on it.' Ben Boulware. Just so he knew. So, write it with excellence, that's what I did,” Boulware told TigerNet after the game. “It's huge and I’m just happy to be a part of it. I'm embracing this opportunity, and the Lord has put me in an awesome position and has blessed me with great people in my life.”
The night wasn’t all about signatures and big hits for the Clemson defense. The Hokies reeled off over 400 yards of total offense and seemed to be scoring at will in the second half.
“The QB run game kept us on our heels a little bit. A couple of big passes where our DBs weren't on the same page, they were in a different call,” Boulware said. “A couple were just miscommunications and they started chipping at the bit a little bit with the QB run game. We weren't winning our match-ups and was just a little sloppy. Other than a couple of big plays, I thought we played well. It's hard to say that with them putting up 35 points. Watching the film, they were a couple of plays we definitely want back. But in the end, we're happy because we won the game. We beat a great team. People were overlooking them going into the game, but we knew going into it, they had a lot of talent. Their scheme is difficult to defend and they showed that night that they were a great team.”
The lack of focus didn’t sit well with Clemson’s senior leader.
“I was mad. I was like why are we putting ourselves in this position because it shouldn't have been a close game,” he said. “The defense did it ourselves. We can't blame the offense because they put up 42 points. In the end, I knew we were going to come out on top. We have a very resilient team. The maturity and the mindset of the guys on defense - we're just resilient and have a lot of fight in us.”
Boulware reflected on his Clemson career before telling the media that he wants to finish this season the right way, and that means a national championship.
“We want to get some revenge and finish the right way and go out on top. We don't care where the game is at - the desert, Clemson, wherever. I just want to play football,” he said. “We're still alive, and we still have some more fight in us. That slip up with Pittsburgh. If you watch the film, see the teams we play, our strength of schedule, we've taken care of business. We didn't dominate like we thought we would have tonight, but we still won. They are a championship team too. They won their division. They were a difficult team. We won the game when we had to.”
Next up is Ohio St. in the College Football Playoff semifinal, and Boulware wants to take advantage of the “sand” he has left.
“Awesome opportunity and I'm just embracing the moment. The sand is running out quick,” he said. “It's running out, and I realize that, so I'm just trying to exhaust every moment. I'm happy to be a part of this team and this senior class.”
Meet Mr. Boulware https://t.co/yEV63ttVaB— ClemsonEditz (@ClemsonEditz_) December 4, 2016