Turning Point: Clemson's string of stops, big plays turn into 4th quarter avalanche

Tigers ran 34 for plays for 200 yards, three scores in final period; LSU had six snaps for one yard

The Tigers celebrate after the Tigers' 25-24 win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl game

Photo by Mark Crammer

The Tigers celebrate after the Tigers' 25-24 win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl game

At the time, it looked like a small battle won on the way to another disappointing bowl loss.

All the signs pointed in LSU's favor. Just 17 seconds into the second half, the Bayou Bengals had grabbed a 21-13 lead with a 57-yard touchdown run.

Clemson's offense sputtered to a pair of unimpressive three-and-outs, and the defense nearly gave up a back-breaker when Xavier Brewer was beaten deep and LSU's receiver muffed a catchable ball.

The Tigers' troubles were far from over. On first-down from the 20 after an LSU punt, Andre Ellington lost the football, and Les Miles' team was poised to stick in the knife.

LSU moved for a first-and-goal just inside the Clemson 10. On second-down from the eight, Rashard Hall stopped a promising looking tight end screen for a five-yard gain. And on third-and-goal from the three, Garry Peters smothered LSU's wide receiver in the end zone.

Miles took a field goal for a 24-13 lead, and the Bengals looked to move into kill-off-the-game mode.

As the fourth quarter began, Clemson still looked like a team in trouble.

How quickly the table turned.

Fifteen clock minutes later, the Tigers were celebrating their victory after having delivered a drubbing on both sides of the line of the scrimmage.

Clemson ran 34 fourth-quarter plays for 200 yards - scoring drives of 63, 77 and 60 yards. LSU had the ball six snaps - two three-and-outs, Clemson's seventh and eighth of the game, for a net total of one yard.

Clemson won the quarter, 12-0, and the game 25-24, thanks to a string of big plays involving Tajh Boyd, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandon Ford, Ellington and others, and key defensive plays by Brewer, Malliciah Goodman and Grady Jarrett.

To offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Clemson's effort was summed up by Boyd's fourth-and-16 pass to Hopkins en route to the Tigers' game-winning field goal.

"That was just a great example that it's never over until its over," said Morris. "I told the guys, 'they still have to play this down - we've still got a shot.'

"We had it on the play before and just didn't get it off. But this time they connected, and then you start to build a little trust."

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Comments » 2

justcurious writes:

way to go Tigers, Now I hope Taj does not bolt to the NFL> this will be far the best Bowl game this season, Will be very hard to top. A good solic TEAM effort. 3 yrs ago I was predicting how good Boyd was, for once in my life I was right,

TigerNE writes:

in response to justcurious:

way to go Tigers, Now I hope Taj does not bolt to the NFL> this will be far the best Bowl game this season, Will be very hard to top. A good solic TEAM effort. 3 yrs ago I was predicting how good Boyd was, for once in my life I was right,

Boyd has more to gain by staying one more year and playing under an improving Venables D with a serious shot at the top. Plus, it helps his Heisman creds.

Going to the draft now could put him in the second or later rounds because so many highly rated QBs are up(Barkley, Geno Smith, Murray, even Glennon is highly sought). Not that many teams want to build from scratch so it could mean a later round QB has to fight to start, or not get a chance to start at all. KC and Buffalo are desperate for a QB, but Jax and Jets will probably go for experience in trades. Cards seem to really want Barkley, and Miami will stick it out with Tannehill for now most likely. What's left for Boyd?

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