Ford: Game-Winning touchdown was a "rocket"

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON -- Jacoby Ford found it fitting that a play drew up on the sideline in the grass was finished off with a good old-fashioned hardball.

The Clemson senior wide receiver was the recipient of a Kyle Parker 26-yard touchdown pass in overtime last Saturday that propelled the Tigers to a road win over the 8th-ranked Miami Hurricanes, and Ford was still all smiles as he talked about the play with the media on Tuesday.

Ford said he had noticed how Miami safety Randy Phillips had played him on certain routes, and mentioned to Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney that he thought he could work a post into the middle of the field against the Miami coverage.

“Just the way the safety was playing,” Ford said of his reasoning. “I went over to Coach Swinney, and he always asks for my input, and what I am seeing, and I went to him and told him I could run a certain way and get us a score or set up a score, and that is what I ended up doing.”

Parker gave his receiver all the credit for setting the play up.

“Everyone really saw the safeties were coming off the hashes and the middle field was going to be open,” Parker said. “He did a good job of recognizing it. When he is running his route he has a choice of breaking it out or in and he realized that guy had outside leverage on him and he could take the middle of the field.”

Swinney said that the play is actually the same route that tight end Dwayne Allen ran late in the TCU game, but Parker over threw Allen on the play. Ford, however, said that the way the game was going for both teams, he knew it was time for the Tigers to make the final play of the day.

“You sit on the sidelines, and you get all excited, and then they go and make a big play, and you’re like, ‘Here we go again.’ Both teams wanted it, and you knew it would come down to one more play, and we made that one more play.”

Ford lined up in the “Z” or flanker position in the three wide set, and came off the line with a quick stutter step before running to the middle of the field. Parker looked to the left side of the field to freeze Phillips, and then came back to Ford for the throw, just getting the ball over linebacker Colin McCarthy and to Ford.

“As soon as I came down [with the football], I saw one dude, and then I saw the end zone,” Ford said. “I just really couldn’t believe it had happened. The ball came in so fast; it was like a rocket coming out of his hands. He did not throw it bad, he put it on the money, and I took it into the end zone. It was probably one of the hardest balls he has ever thrown. It got there really quick.

“The linebacker was under the ball, but the ball was going so fast couldn’t jump up in time to knock it down. He was right on it, but he jumped late. It was a delayed reaction. It got in there pretty quick and I ran with it.”

Parker said he was unable to see the end of the play, but could tell from the lack of noise in the stadium that it had worked.

“You know what happened was I saw him cut over to the middle and I saw that he was going to be open and I threw it,” Parker said. “About that time everyone got in my face so I couldn’t really see what happened. And then all of a sudden everyone is quiet. I didn’t even know we scored. If you watch the film I am just kind of looking around and then I realize they are not cheering and that is a good thing.”

Ford took the catch as two Miami defensive backs wiped each other out, and cradled the football as he coasted into the end zone before heading towards the celebration, and later on, the stands.

“As soon as I scored, I took the ball and gave it to my brother, who gave it to my mom,” Ford said. “I was not going to let it go. That is a memory that will stick with me the rest of my career playing football. I will always remember it.”

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