The Tigers were in an offensive funk.
The first half unfolded as a comedy errors - fumbles, missed chances and two botched field goal attempts. The mistakes piled up and negated nearly 300 yards of total offense, and Clemson's frustration grew.
Dabo Swinney told his offense to just keep playing.
But the Tigers needed a spark.
Clemson, trailing 7-3, went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half. The second time the Tigers had the ball, they made a play that started to change the game.
Or they thought they had.
On a second-down play from the BC 38, Tajh Boyd sent Martavis Bryant streaking down the right sideline and delivered a pass in stride. Bryant made the grab just out of the reach of a defender and sprinted to the end zone.
The crowd cheered, the touchdown cannon was fired, and an official stood at midfield over a yellow flag, signaling a penalty.
A false start: all for naught.
With smoke still drifting across the Valley, the Tigers got the five yards pack on a pass from Boyd to Sam Cooper.
Then on third-and-eight, again from the BC 48, Boyd audibled the Tigers into an identical right-sideline pass, from a different formation, with a different receiver.
The play again unfolded perfectly, with Sammy Watkins fighting off a defensive back, gaining separation, and then flying down the sideline to the end zone, leaving the haze from the negated TD in his wake.
No flag this time, and the Tigers led for the first time in the game, 10-7.
While the Eagles answered back immediately, the Tigers had their offensive mojo back. And that, together with a healthy helping of defense, was enough to get the job done.