CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Trevor Lawrence led Clemson with a gritty performance in the best game of the college football season.
Trevor Lawrence led Clemson with a gritty performance in the best game of the college football season.

ESPN names Clemson-OSU Fiesta Bowl 2019 season's best game


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ESPN's Bill Connelly assembled the best-100 games of the 2019-20 college football season and the Fiesta Bowl topped the list.

"It contained a lingering waft of controversy thanks to refs having to make two of the hardest types of calls (a less-than-100 percent-clear targeting call and a vital catch-or-no-catch ruling). That never hurts for making a lasting impression," Connelly writes. "It gave us all the plot twists a great game should feature -- a 16-0 start from Ohio State, a 21-0 run by Clemson, three second-half lead changes (with a fourth prevented only by a last-minute interception) -- and on a national semifinal stage. The most talented players in the country, playing in one of the most important games, and putting on a lasting show. Can't ask for much more than that from college football."

Clemson's next-highest-rated game on the list is the surprisingly-close game at Chapel Hill, a 21-20 Tigers win, at No. 15.

"This one followed the upset script precisely: Inspired underdogs take an early lead. Champs tie the game but lose a fumble to set up another underdog score," Connelly said. "Champs finally get on track and take a late lead, but the underdogs seemingly have fate on their side: They score with 1:17 remaining and elect to go for two points and the possible win.

"Clemson was an unwilling participant in the upset script, however. Up 21-20, the Tigers stuffed UNC quarterback Sam Howell's 2-point conversion attempt and survived."

The Clemson-LSU national title game rounded out the list at No. 100.

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