O-H My Goodness!
It was a much anticipated match-up that the entire country was looking forward to and most fans knew that we would be in for a high scoring thriller and the game certainly did not disappoint. From the first drive of the game where Tajh Boyd scampered down field for a 48 yard score to the late interception by linebacker Stephone Anthony that sealed the deal, this game had fans on the edge of their seat. Ironically, that is just how the game ended the last time these time these two teams met up. Luckily, this time no punches were thrown towards Clemson players, however the same can't be said for the whiteboard in the Buckeye lockerroom. Boyd's early touchdown run was matched on the next series by OSU's Braxton Miller on a touchdown drive that should have never happened. OSU took advantage of a fake punt and a unsportsmanlike penalty called on Vic Beasley following a sack of Miller, and kept driving down the field and made the Tigers pay for their mistakes. However, Clemson would turn the heat up on Miller and stay in his face all night long and the defense would prove it wasn't the same as it was two years ago forcing four turnovers on the night and putting a pretty serious hurting on dual threat QB Braxton Miller keeping him under control for the most part.No doubt in my mind Miller woke up this morning feeling the pain from last night's physical game. The Tigers were stellar on third down unlike in their previous game against South Carolina and only allowed the Buckeyes to convert on 2 out of their 13 third down conversions and once again played with a "bend but don't break" mentality and came up with stops when it mattered the most.
In what was almost certainly Sammy Watkins last game in a Clemson uniform, the wide out from Florida showed out and reminded me of the Sammy we saw his freshmen year. It was clear from the start that the Tigers wanted to get him as many touches as possible and he came up bigger than ever for his team setting a new Orange Bowl record and becoming the All-Time receptions leader for Clemson as well with 16 catches for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Florida native played his heart out and gave Clemson nation his all in his likely curtain call as a Tiger. Tajh Boyd's night wasn't too shabby either as the senior answered the call and proved he could win a big time game on the national stage and really only had two bad plays the entire night, both were interceptions. The first came deep in Buckeye territory and the second late in the game had Clemson fans on the brink of cardiac arrest. He finished with a great stat line going 31-40 for 378 yards and 5 TDs and also added 127 yards rushing and another score on the ground to lead the Tigers.
The Clemson defense once again did their part and the Clemson offense simply couldn't be stopped, although the refs did their best to derail the Tiger offense. Never in my life have I seen so many holding calls in a game and the fact that they missed one of the easiest calls of the entire night on Ohio State's offense against Vic Beasley while it was literally right in front of them is simply baffling to me. I still haven't figured out the call in which we were stopped short on fourth down but got the first down (or so we thought) via a late hit penalty on Ohio State. The play was reviewed, (which I also don't understand as he appeared to be clearly short) and when it was all said and done, it was the Buckeyes football and the penalty was basically taken back like it never occurred. But I digress on that one, glad we got the win and don't have to see these refs on a regular basis and hopefully ever again. They were bad. Really, really bad. The Tigers not only took down one of the best offenses in the country, they put up some pretty impressive numbers themselves finishing with 576 total yards. Boyd played arguably the best game of his career and lead his team like a true leader should. He was composed and focused and put the ball where his play makers could go up and take advantage of this well over matched Buckeye secondary. From Watkins to Bryant, to Williams, Hopper and Leggett, there was simply too much for Ohio State to handle.
For Clemson fans, the best part of the night (following the win of course) had to be when Swinney fired back at Spurrier who took a shot at the Tigers following the Gamecocks win over Wisconsin on New Years Day saying "Two Capital One Bowl Championships are good but that State Championship is pretty nice too!" Swinney trolled on Spurrier and company during his trophy presentation as well noting that the Tigers are the first team to win (and even PLAY, for that matter) in a BCS Bowl. I loved it especially since I had been getting text messages from Carolina fans since the 1st quarter. I thought after the game I would be in the clear but actually STILL had Gamecocks tweeting and texting me running their mouth...I honestly couldn't stop laughing. Nice try Coots, but we are going to be enjoying this one for a while AND WE SHOULD! You guys have our number right now in the rivalry but South Carolina had absolutely NOTHING to do with OUR game last night. So please, exit stage left.