No. 14 Clemson 25, No. 9 LSU 24
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
ATLANTA — Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 win over No. 9 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.
Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Tajh Boyd completed a pass for 26 yards to DeAndre Hopkins on a fourth-and-16 play during the decisive 10-play drive.
Catanzaro’s kick set off a wild celebration on the field and in the stands.
Jeremy Hill ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns for LSU (10-3), which carried a 24-13 lead into the final quarter.
After Hopkins’ second TD catch, LSU got the ball with 2:43 remaining and threw three straight passes. Only one was complete in the three-and-out series that took only about 1 minute off the clock, leaving Clemson with enough time for its winning drive against LSU’s exhausted defense.
Hill did not have a carry in the fourth quarter. Zach Mettenberger was sacked six times.
“We had to throw the football,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “It’s a tough thing to figure our pass protection was as poor as it was. That’s the piece that needs fixing, and frankly we’ve got some young players here we’ll address and improve and make some strides going forward.”
ä Clemson QB Tajh Boyd was named the Most Valuable Offensive player after guiding a fourth-quarter comeback from an 11-point deficit. He led his team on three scoring drives in the final period. Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Boyd rushed 29 times for a net of just 22 yards, but he ran for a touchdown and kept the chains moving as Clemson accumulated 32 first downs.
ä Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins was on the receiving end of most of Boyd’s most important passes. After star receiver Sammy Watkins was lost to an ankle injury on the second play of the game, Hopkins took over. He caught 13 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, he had several key catches to kept the ball moving during the three fourth-quarter scoring drives.
ä LSU LB Kevin Minter had a game-high 19 tackles, including 14 in the first half. The total was one less than the career-high 20 he had Oct. 6 at Florida.
LSU had the ball and a two-point lead and was in prime position after an 8-yard completion from Zach Mettenberger to Kadron Boone with a little more than two minutes to go. A first down would have allowed the Tigers to run the clock down, if not out. But Mettenberger threw two incompletions and LSU punted, giving Clemson the ball with sufficient time to drive to the winning field goal as time expired.
ä Listen to a podcast as Advocate sportswriter Les East reviews LSU’s season.
ä Chat with Les East about the season and the Chick-fil-A Bowl at 11 a.m.
ä Chat with Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais, who will be in Miami to cover the BCS national title game.
ä Listen to a “Countdown to Signing Day” podcast with William Weathers of TigerBait.com.
Listen to a podcast of Scott Rabalais as he discusses the BCS national title game.
Les East and
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.
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