NCAA Football

ACC Football: Clemson Tigers Tame the SEC and the Auburn Tigers, Bring Respect back to ACC Football

Andre Ellington

If you didn’t know the name, you do now.

The senior RB was electric en route to a 228 yard rushing performance leading the Clemson Tigers to a 26-19 victory over the Auburn Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta, Georgia.

His effort sent a clear message to all of college football.

The Clemson Tigers are for real…


ACC Football is back.

“Proud most of all that they (Ellington) got the win for Clemson,” Tigers Head Coach Dabo Swinney said after the game. “But I am happy for the conference also.”

Ellington wasn’t the only star on the night for the Tigers. Senior QB Tajh Boyd showed leadership and poise like no other Clemson signal caller maybe ever, while senior WR DeAndre Hopkins left everyone saying, “Sammy (Watkins) who?” with a school record 13 catch performance.

“To have 320 yards rushing is a credit to the job the offensive line did in the game,” Swinney added. “I thought the line was physical and dominated Auburn. We made enough mistakes to lose the ball game, but the team overcame them. The difference in the game was the plays Tajh Boyd made with his legs.”

Even Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik was surprised and impressed with Clemson’s performance.

“Defensively we couldn’t get off the field,” Chizik said. “They had a very quick offense and explosive tempo. At critical times in the game, they made plays defensively and we didn’t. Their quarterback is extremely talented.”

Of all the story lines leading into this game and during, the most important take away was the fact Clemson was cool, calm and controlled the line of scrimmage. That is something the Tiger faithful hasn’t been able to say in forever.

Just take a moment to reflect on this game and how Clemson notched a huge win against the SEC.

The Tigers did not jump out to a huge lead.

The Tigers did not have to expended a ton of emotional energy to hold on and survive.

The Tigers made mistakes and had to fight back to take the lead.

The Tigers had to piece together a couple of first downs to run the clock down.

The Tigers had to call on its defense to make a huge stand at the end.

And at every step, Clemson was in control.


M. Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, journalism and college athletics and currently covers ACC Football for Rant Sports. 

Follow him @woodysmalls