Dome sweet dome.
Give DeAndre Hopkins a football and tell him to go play inside, and something special just might happen.
Hopkins, who set a school single-season reception record when the Tigers played Auburn in the Georgia Dome to open the 2012 season, was at it again Monday night, as he tied his own record with another 13-reception performance in Clemson's 25-24 Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over No. 7 LSU.
After 26 receptions in eight quarters in the dome, Hopkins might consider sending his resume to the Atlanta Falcons. He'll cross the NFL bridge when he comes to it; but on New Year's Eve, Hopkins spent his time productively, rewriting the Clemson record book.
Responding to the loss of teammate Sammy Watkins to an ankle injury, Hopkins stepped up from the get-go and provided a difference-making complement to Tajh Boyd's gritty, inspired performance.
Hopkins established a Clemson record for reception yardage in a season on Clemson’s first touchdown drive of the game in the first period. He had two receptions for 29 yards on the drive to give him 1243 receiving yards for the year.
He finished the game with 191 yards and finished the season with 82 receptions for 1405 yards. He broke Sammy Watkins' record of 1219 receiving yards which was set last year.
It was the third straight year that Hopkins has had at least 100 receiving yards in a bowl game, a first in Clemson history.
When Hopkins caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Tajh Boyd in the first half, it gave him 10 straight games with at least one touchdown reception. The ACC record of nine in a row had been held by Herman Moore of Virginia in 1990.
He also had a 12-yard touchdown catch from Boyd in the fourth period, giving him 18 touchdown receptions for the year, an ACC season record. Clarkston Hines had the old record with 17 in 1989 for Duke.
Hopkins' seventh catch of the first half was the 200th of his career. He and Aaron Kelly (232) are the only Clemson players with at least 200 career receptions in school history.
Hopkins' was not Clemson's only highlight performance.
Boyd had 368 yards of total offense on 79 total offensive plays (passing and rushing). He set a Clemson record for plays in a game by a quarterback.
Boyd finished the season with a Clemson record 4410, breaking his own previous record of 4046 set last year. He is the first player in ACC history with two 4000-yard seasons in terms of total offense.
When Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal on the last play of the game to give Clemson the 25-24 win, it was the just the fourth walk-off field goal in Clemson history. Catanzaro has two of the four. He also had a 43-yard field goal to beat Wake Forest last year, a win that put Clemson into the ACC Championship game. The others were done by Mark Buchholz against South Carolina in 2007 and David Treadwell at Georgia in 1986.
Boyd also set the ACC record for touchdown passes in the first half with his 35th of the year. He threw another in the second half to finish with 36 for the season. He broke the record of 34 that had been held by Phillip Rivers of NC State in 2003.