|Tajh Boyd became a Clemson legend on Monday night. (US Presswire)|
CLEMSON WON: It was the last college football game of 2012 and it just might have been one of the best college football games of 2012. For years we've seen the SEC's top defenses put the clamps on the best offenses in college football but on Monday night in Atlanta Clemson scored as many points as it needed to win.
Tajh Boyd was named the game's Most Valuable Player, and for good reason. Despite spending most of the night running for his life as LSU's front seven wreaked havoc on the Clemson offensive line, Boyd finished with 361 total yards and 3 touchdowns. More than the stats, though, it was some of the impeccable throws Boyd made throughout the night when big throws were needed, with DeAndre Hopkins usually on the other end.
Hopkins finished the night with 13 receptions for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns, having a big night after fellow receiver, Sammy Watkins, was injured on the very first play of the game and never returned.
WHY CLEMSON WON: It endured the storm. LSU's defense made Boyd's life rough all night long, and although the LSU offense only managed 208 yards of offense, it still managed 24 points thanks largely to that defense and the running of Jeremy Hill. Still, with only a few minutes remaining, LSU had a chance to run out the clock and salt this game away.
Instead LSU called three straight passing plays, with two incompletions and Clemson didn't have to use a single one of its three timeouts. Boyd would then lead his Tigers on a 10-play 60-yard drive -- which included a huge conversion on fourth and 16 -- in 1:39 to set up Jordan Catanzaro's 37-yard field goal.
WHEN CLEMSON WON: As Catanzaro's field goal soared through the uprights and its players began celebrating. Though I guess you can say Clemson won when LSU decided to throw the ball three straight plays instead of giving the ball to a guy who averaged 10.4 yards per carry on the night, Jeremy Hill.
WHAT CLEMSON WON: This is a huge win for Clemson. As a team in 2012 and as a program. First of all, the 70-33 loss to West Virginia is now a distant memory. Second of all, it's the first time Clemson has won 11 games in a season since its national championship in 1981. Finally, while Clemson did beat Auburn earlier this year, beating Auburn is not the same thing as beating one of the SEC's premiere teams in a major bowl game.
WHAT LSU LOST: I think it's against SEC rules to lose to the ACC. In the grand scheme of things this loss doesn't mean a whole lot for LSU save for having to hear from other SEC fans how they lost to Clemson from the ACC for the next nine months. Les Miles will also hear a lot about LSU's playcalling in the final minutes too.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Tajh Boyd. Just a great night, and one he'll celebrate tonight and then spend the next four months in an ice tub.