Spiller's effort was nothing short of amazing

by - Senior Writer -

TAMPA, FL – C.J. Spiller limped along the hallway underneath Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium in the early hours of Sunday morning, cradling his ACC Championship Game Most Valuable Player Trophy, but even as well-wishers called out his name and threw out congratulations, it was hard to get Dos Ocho to crack a smile.

The senior from Lake Butler, Fla., threw himself squarely back into Heisman consideration with an electrifying effort, amassing a career-high 233 rushing yards and notching 301 all-purpose yards in winning the game’s Most Valuable Player Award, but it was coming up short on the scoreboard that occupied Spiller’s mind.

However, Spiller was asked if losing the ACC Championship made him wish he had gone on to the NFL, and the answer was an affirmative no.

“Without a doubt, I am very glad I came back,” Spiller said. “It’s what I wanted to be at, a championship game and graduating, all of that. So hopefully the other guys can see, even recruits, you come to Clemson, it’s not a layoff. You’re going to compete for championships year in and year out. Very glad I came back to play with my teammates. They taught me a lot this season about never giving up, just sticking there and gutting it out.”

Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said he knew Spiller was primed for a big game under the lights, and he appreciated the almost super-human effort he witnessed.

“There is no question, he showed up and gave a good day’s work today,” Napier said. “He is one of the more competitive people I have ever been around. I knew that in this type of setting he would empty his tank, and he did that out there tonight.”

Even defensive Da’Quan Bowers, who was in the midst of a career-high in tackles, could see the impact Spiller had on the game.

“C.J. is electric, the best football player I have ever seen play,” Bowers said. “He does things that I have never seen anyone else do, including Reggie Bush. He is a motivational leader, and to watch what he does is just amazing.”

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson was barely a few sentences into his post-game press conference when he threw kudos to Spiller while hinting he was glad he would never see him on an opposing team again.

“C.J. played a great game,” Johnson said. “He is a tremendous player, and I wish him the best in the NFL.”

Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker said he was glad that Spiller got to show a nationwide audience the type of player he can be.

“He was unbelievable out there tonight,” Parker said. “To all of the people out there that had doubts about how good he is, I am glad they were able to see the kind of player he is. He was making plays. Even when plays weren’t there, he made them. If he isn’t on everybody’s Heisman list, then that is ridiculous.”

The list of Spiller accomplishments in the game are many:

*The 54-yard run by Clemson’s C.J. Spiller in the fourth quarter was the longest run from scrimmage in an ACC Championship game. In tonight’s game, Spiller had the four longest runs in an ACC Championship game. He had runs of 54, 41, 40 and 36 yards. The previous record was a 31-yard run by Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor against Boston College in 2007.

*The 233 rushing yards by C.J. Spiller are an ACC Championship game record. Spiller carried 11 times for 123 yards in the first half. Virginia Tech’s Darren Evans had 114 rushing yards on 31 rushes in the 2008 ACC Championship game.

*Spiller had 301 all-purpose yards in the first half, which are the most in an ACC Championship Game. Florida State’s Willie Reid had 210 all-purpose yards against Virginia Tech in the 2005 championship game.

*Spiller averaged 11.6 yards per carry. The yards per rush record for an ACC game is 4.95 yards per rush held by Georgia Tech’s Tashard Choice in the 2006 championship game.

*Spiller’s four rushing touchdowns set a championship game record for most touchdowns and most points (24). With four field goals and three extra-points made for 15 points, Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair put up the second most points by an individual in a championship game behind the 24 points C.J. Spiller finished with.

*Before this season, no individual in ACC history had multiple games of 300 or more all-purpose yards in his career. C.J. Spiller now has three this season – career-high 312 against Florida State; 310 against Miami and 301 tonight against Clemson. Spiller and Damaris Johnson of Tulsa are the only players in the FBS this season who have amassed 300 or more all-purpose yards in three games.

*Spiller’s 3-yard TD run in the first quarter tied the Clemson school record for consecutive games with a touchdown. Spiller has now scored a touchdown in all 13 games this season, which extends his streak as being the only player in the nation to do that. He tied Travis Zachery, who accomplished the feat between 2000-01.

*Spiller’s four touchdown runs moved him into seventh place all-time in career touchdowns in the ACC. He now has 50 career touchdowns (31 rushing, 11 receiving, 7 by kickoff and one punt return).

*Spiller’s four touchdown runs helped him set a Clemson record for touchdowns in a single-season. He now has 20 touchdowns this season which surpasses Travis Zachery’s record in 2000. He scored on runs of 3, 41, 36 and 9 yards.

*Spiller also eclipsed the 1,000 rushing yard mark for the first time in his career. He ran for a career-high 233 yards on 20 carries. He now has rushed for 1,145 yards this season.

*Spiller’s 63 kickoff return yards gave him 2,005 kickoff return yards for his career. He is the first player in NCAA history with 3,000 yards rushing, 2,000 yards on kickoff returns, 1,000 receiving and 500 in punt returns

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