No. 3 Clemson got everything it could handle from No. 23 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, but the Tigers were able to hold on in Orlando for a 42-35 win.
The win should guarantee the Tigers a spot in the College Football Playoff for a second straight year, but it was certainly in doubt late in the fourth quarter. Clemson had to punt the ball back to Virginia Tech -- up only seven -- with four minutes to play.
The Hokies took over at their 41 and drove it deep into Clemson territory before the final drive stalled out thanks to Brent Venables' defense dialing up pressure on Jerod Evans, forcing him into throwing an interception on fourth down to seal the Tiger victory.
Virginia Tech was able to hang around, but Clemson's offense, led by Deshaun Watson proved to be too much to handle in the end. Watson had another dominant performance with 288 yards, three touchdowns and one interception through the air plus another 85 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. That performance will make a case for some that he is deserving of Heisman Trophy consideration up against Lamar Jackson after Louisville's late season struggles.
It's the second straight year Clemson has been taken down to the wire in an ACC Championship Game, but as the Tigers did last year against North Carolina, they survived a strong performance by the Hokies to claim the conference title.
The question now is where will the Tigers be seeded following the win. They came into the game ranked third, but with a conference title win, will the committee jump them over Ohio State, or could Washington, which dominated in its game while Clemson played a much closer game, leap the Tigers. We'll find out the answer on Sunday morning, but it would appear as though the Tigers did what they needed to do to assure themselves a playoff spot.
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