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."