It was hard to not find something great about tonight’s Chick-fil-A Bowl between the Clemson Tigers and the LSU Tigers. Whether you are an LSU or Clemson fan, this game had you at the edge of your seat at some point. But in the end only one Tiger could come out on top and that Tiger’s name was Tajh.
In my preview of this game, I said that I thought LSU would eventually wear down the Clemson offense and defense and in the end be too much for them. And in the beginning that’s exactly what it looked like. But Clemson kept fighting, kept scraping, and never let up. And just as I said in my preview, it would come down to a play that either the LSU offense or Clemson defense would make that would make the difference. The Clemson offense was that group and they came up big when they needed to, forcing a late 3 and out on LSU and giving the football back to their offense in the final moments.
And that was all they needed. Quarterback Tajh Boyd had a tremendous game. I won’t be humble here when I say I’ve been banging the drum for Boyd all season. I think he’s a tremendous competitor, so poised and confident, excellent football IQ and tons of athletic ability. He and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins were not intimidated by the vaunted LSU defense and just continued to make plays right up until the end when the Clemson kicker, Chandler Catanzaro put the game winner straight down the middle to seal the fate of LSU.
But this night belonged to Boyd. He has taken a lot of criticism this season, and you could tell he came out to prove a point. Now, I’m not sure how many quarterbacks in recent memory can say they accounted for nearly 360 yards of offense and 3 touchdowns against this LSU defense, but I am fairly sure the list is short. This night Boyd was fearless. He knew he was going to get hit and he stood in and made throw after throw and just kept popping up and doing it all again.
LSU on their part did exactly what they wanted to on defense. They ran the ball a ton with star running back Jeremy Hill and kept quarterback Zach Mettenberger from having to do too much during the game.This got LSU a 12 point lead going into the 4th quarter, but eventually nothing that LSU had been able to do in the first 3 quarters seemed to work anymore. Clemson had the answers and LSU couldn’t adjust. The 4th quarter was a perfect example of why college football is so great. I don’t think too many people gave Clemson a real shot in this game, especially after last year’s bowl loss, but head coach Dabo Sweeney made sure his team didn’t believe they could lose and in the end it paid off.