Nolan Turner: Dad was "looking down and was proud" of big interception against Irish
|Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 5:20 PM- -|
ARLINGTON, TX – When Nolan Turner jumped underneath an Ian Book pass for an interception all but sealing Clemson’s win over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic last weekend, he wasn’t alone.
His dad was right there with him.
Turner who wears No. 24, the same number his dad – who passed away from CTE when Nolan was a senior in high school – wore at the University of Alabama said he knew his dad was with him when he recorded his first career interception.
“Of course. Like I said earlier in the week, every time I wear that No. 24, I always think about him,” Turner told TigerNet following the Cotton Bowl. “Definitely coming off the field I knew he was looking down and was proud.”
Turner said the interception was simply reading the quarterback’s eyes.
“They ran an underneath route and I slipped outside underneath No. 1 and I got a good read on the quarterback's eyes and I made a good play,” Turner said. “He threw right to me. It was a lot of fun and a big play in the game.”
The interception led to a 62-yard Travis Etienne touchdown run giving Clemson a 30-3 lead over Notre Dame and punching Clemson’s ticket to the College Football Playoff National Championship, where the Tigers will square off against Alabama for the third time in the last four years.
“It's so special. It's not everywhere that you go to the National Championship three times in the last four years,” Turner said. “I'm just very humbled to be a part of this team and a part of this journey. We're just going to go out and play our next best four quarters. Just like last year when we played them, it's always special to get to play against a team where you're from and whatnot. It's going to be cool. I'm going to have a lot of family and friends watching and I'm sure will be there. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Clemson’s secondary came under fire after it struggled against South Carolina in the regular season finale, but Turner said a renewed since of focus during bowl practice led to a solid performance against the Irish.
“We just have to be more detailed. We struggled with a few mistakes in the South Carolina game that ended up being big plays and we just can't let that happen,” Turner said. “We just went in with a lot of focus. It's Championship Season and it has been the last few games. We just have to be so consistent and precise in what we do and I think we've really taken advantage of that to get where we are.”
If the Tigers are to knock off the Crimson Tide on Monday, January 7, they will need to continue to prepare with precision and have the road dog mentality that defensive coordinator Brent Venables perpetuates.
“That's what we break it down on every time we're going away or not playing at home for the next week,” Turner said. “We just have to have that road dog mentality every time you go on the road and that's what we're going to have in Santa Clara.”