LSU at Clemson

Clemson beats LSU with GW field goal in Chick-fil-A Bowl wire reports

ATLANTA -- Clemson got one last impressive drive from Tajh Boyd and company to record its first 11-win season since its 1981 national championship team.

And Tigers coach Dabo Swinney thinks this is only the beginning.

Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 win over No. 9 Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.

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Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Boyd passed to DeAndre Hopkins for 26 yards 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. Some players collapsed on the field in apparent disbelief while most of Clemson's orange jerseys met in a midfield circle.

Clemson reached 11 wins for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 12-0 1981 team.

"You can't win 12 until you win 11," Swinney said. "You can't win a national championship until you learn how to win games like this.

"This was a landmark win."

Catanzaro had an extra point blocked in the second quarter, but he said that didn't cause him to doubt his chances to make the last-second field goal.

"I was ready when the opportunity came to me," Catanzaro said. "It was next-kick mentality. I was so thankful for the opportunity."

Catanzaro, a former walk-on from Greenville, S.C., made 16 of 17 field goals in the regular season.

"I didn't have any doubt," Swinney said of the junior kicker. "He's just a clutch player all the way."

Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He set career highs for attempts and completions while winning the game MVP award.

"Tajh Boyd was phenomenal," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I did not expect the heroic, if you will, efforts that he had."

Hopkins, who had 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, also had receptions for 7 and 13 yards in the final drive. LSU safety Greg Reid was flagged for pass interference while defending Hopkins.

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.

"We had to throw the football," Miles said.

"We were not running the football. They were in a position where they outnumbered us in the run."

LSU's three passes allowed Swinney to save his timeouts.

"I had three timeouts," Swinney said. "If he runs it three times, I can call timeout, timeout, timeout.

"I think [Miles] was trying to win the game. I think he felt confident in the plays. I know he knew he needed to get a first down, because if he gets a first down I have to start burning timeouts."

Boyd said having 1:39 to stage the final drive "is like having 10, 15 minutes for us."

"When I saw that clock and that we had three timeouts I said `Let's get it."'

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sacked six times and completed 14 of 23 passes for 120 yards. He also threw for a touchdown and an interception.

"It's a tough thing to figure our pass protection was as poor as it was," Miles said. "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."

LSU scored 10 points off Clemson's two lost fumbles, including one by Sammy Watkins on the second play of the game that set up Hill's first touchdown.

Hopkins scored on an 11-yard reception in the second quarter and a 12-yard grab in the fourth. LSU's Bennie Logan blocked Catanzaro's extra point attempt following Hopkins' first touchdown.

Clemson had a chance to tie it after Hopkins' second TD, but Boyd's pass for the 2-point conversion was incomplete.

Michael Ford had a 43-yard kickoff return for LSU to open the second half. On first down, Hill broke through the line for a 57-yard touchdown run. His 12th rushing touchdown broke Dalton Hilliard's LSU record for a freshman set in 1982.

Clemson lost Watkins to a right ankle injury on his early fumble. X-rays were negative.

Clemson already was without backup receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for the game for failing to meet academic requirements.

Clemson's second costly fumble came midway through the third quarter. Andre Ellington ran for 8 yards but lost the ball when hit by defensive end Sam Montgomery. Reid recovered the fumble at the Clemson 29, setting up Drew Alleman's 20-yard field goal.

The injury to Watkins left the spotlight on Hopkins, Clemson's leading receiver. He had catches of 17 and 12 yards as Clemson pulled even with an 11-play drive capped by Boyd's 11-yard touchdown run.

After LSU regained the lead on Mettenberger's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry, Hopkins had a 31-yard catch to set up his 11-yard score late in the second quarter.

Hopkins' sliding grab gave him TD receptions in 10 straight games to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record. Virginia's Herman Moore had touchdown catches in nine straight games in 1990.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd celebrates his big Chick-fil-A Bowl win with head coach Dabo Swinney. (US Presswire)
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd celebrates his big Chick-fil-A Bowl win with head coach Dabo Swinney. (US Presswire)

Related Video

Scoring Summary
LSUJeremy Hill 17 yd run (Drew Alleman kick)
CLEMTajh Boyd 11 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick)
LSUJarvis Landry 6 yd pass from Zach Mettenberger (Drew Alleman kick)
CLEMDeAndre Hopkins 11 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (blocked XP)
LSUJeremy Hill 57 yd run (Drew Alleman kick)
LSUDrew Alleman 20 yd FG
CLEMChandler Catanzaro 26 yd FG
CLEMDeAndre Hopkins 12 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (failed 2pt pass)
CLEMChandler Catanzaro 37 yd FG
Team Stats
First Downs932
Third Down Efficiency3-138-18
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-3
Plays-Net Yards48-219100-445
Passing Yds120346
Kick Return Yds9625
Punt Return Yds20-3
Time of Poss.23:3936:21
Individual Stats
LSU: Jeremy Hill 12-124, Spencer Ware 3-9, Kenny Hilliard 2-8, Michael Ford 2--1, Zach Mettenberger 6--41
CLEM: Andre Ellington 11-50, Roderick McDowell 7-26, Tajh Boyd 29-22, Jaron Brown 1-3, D.J. Howard 1-1, Sammy Watkins 1--3
LSU: Zach Mettenberger 14-23-120-1
CLEM: Tajh Boyd 36-50-346-0
LSU: Jarvis Landry 4-37, Odell Beckham 3-40, Spencer Ware 3-18, Kadron Boone 2-14, Chase Clement 1-7, Travis Dickson 1-4
CLEM: DeAndre Hopkins 13-191, Brandon Ford 9-69, Adam Humphries 8-27, Roderick McDowell 2-6, Andre Ellington 1-35, Jaron Brown 1-12, Sam Cooper 1-5, Charone Peake 1-1
LSU2nd SEC West5-38-4
Clemson1st Atlantic Coast Atlantic7-114-1

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