TigerNet Talk #78: The U Didn't Know
Believe it or not the Clemson Tigers traveled to South Florida and pulled off a major win for the program, defeating the #8 Miami Hurricanes 40-37. The Tigers have won against the Hurricanes in back to back road trips to Florida, which should bring a welcomed booster shot to recruiting. Beating the Canes is no simple task, and Clemson looked like the more athletic team throughout the game. It still early, but this victory could be the first of many special wins for Coach Dabo Swinney.
If you watched the game, it was pretty obvious that Clemson did everything they could to give the game away at times. However, I never felt at anytime Miami controlled the game. From the start, Clemson seemed to set the pace on both sides of the ball. Sure, there was poor player execution, questionable coaching decisions, and at times just pure bad luck. Even so, Clemson found a way to claw out their biggest victory of the season. A victory which could mark the turning point in the season, and become a statement win for Dabo Swinney.
Much of the night it was Clemson's Heisman candidate C.J. Spiller lighting up the Miami skyline with play after play. Spiller's 90 yard kick return late in the second quarter showcased his elite speed for the country. Totaling a Clemson record 310 all purpose yards, Spiller made a strong statement for being considered the top player in the country. People laughed a few weeks ago when I wrote that he was the best player in the country and that I wouldn't trade him for anybody. I guess those folks hadn't seen him play enough. It's sad that a grass roots movement is going to have to push Spiller into the Heisman conversation. He deserves to be in New York for the ceremony if he can keep this up.
In the end, Spiller's heroics were overshadowed by a laser thrown from Kyle Parker to Jacoby Ford that ended the back and forth affair. On 3rd and 11 in the 1st overtime, Parker sent a strike to Jacoby, and a dagger to the Miami faithful. "Vol Alert" was the call, and it was a thing of beauty. One foot to the right and the pass is knocked down, one foot to the left and it might be picked, in a game of inches this 26 yard strike will be remembered for some time. With one bullet pass, Clemson now sits in the driver seat to represent the Atlantic division in the ACC Championship game and controls their own destiny.
The offense was brilliant at times, but it was the defense that made the stops when Clemson needed them the most. After a late interception, when Clemson had the tying field goal in their pocket, Clemson's defense forced Miami to go three and out and gave the offense a chance to get back on the field. Then in the overtime period, a opening 19 yard run by the Hurricanes turned into only a field goal after the Tigers defense held on three plays forcing the Canes to settle for three. The offense and special teams kept the Tigers in the game, but the defense won this game.
With huge implications riding on every ACC game remaining, I expect the Tigers to put it on cruise control versus Coastal Carolina. All-Time All-Purpose Yards and the Heisman Trophy, take a back seat to what is best for this team. Sure, Spiller could rack up the yardage this week, but he puts the team first. In order to reach the ACC Championship, C.J. Spiller has to be healthy and you just can't afford to lose him now. I expect C.J. to get his early, and often. You better be in your seats at kickoff, because I doubt you see Spiller once 4 minutes remain in the second quarter. It should be that kind of day for the Tigers.
Tune in this week to see if the Xbox can move to 8-0 while El Swann looks to go 7-1 on the season with his Tiger predictions.
Follow the Tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk and Clemson Hotline. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend's game and preview and predicts Clemson's next game. You can listen to both shows at www.clemsonpodcasts.com.
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TigerNet Talk #78 (25 MB)