GLENDALE, Ariz. — Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott felt like he was in a time machine Saturday night time whereas listening to sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence within the huddle simply previous to the type of game-winning drive that has grow to be a staple in Tiger City.
“It brought back memories of Deshaun [Watson] talking to those guys down in Tampa two years ago. It was pretty awesome,” Scott mentioned of Watson’s message to his teammates previous to Clemson’s game-winning drive to beat Alabama for the 2016 nationwide championship.
That message has grow to be the cornerstone of Clemson’s soccer program, as 29 straight wins and one other shot at a nationwide championship will certainly attest.
The controversy will eternally rage about which was the higher workforce, the extra deserving workforce and even the extra gifted workforce on Saturday at StateFarm Stadium. However over the previous two years, no workforce has mastered the artwork of profitable higher than Clemson, which rallied from a 16-Zero deficit to beat Ohio State 29-23 within the Faculty Soccer Playoff Semifinal on the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
“It’s just the DNA. That’s just our program,” mentioned Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, whose Tigers entered the sport having gained eight straight video games by at the very least 31 factors. “It’s not just this season. It’s how we’re built.”
The Tigers will subsequent attempt to grow to be school soccer’s first repeat nationwide champion since Alabama in 2011 and 2012 after they tackle LSU on Jan. 13 in New Orleans within the Faculty Soccer Playoff Nationwide Championship Introduced by AT&T (eight p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN App).
“People have been saying we haven’t played anybody all season,” Clemson receiver Tee Higgins mentioned. “This just shows that we have that dog in us. We have that fight, and we can pull it off playing any team out there.”
Though there was fixed scrutiny surrounding the Tigers’ comfortable schedule this season, one which featured only one win over a workforce within the Faculty Soccer Playoff choice committee’s ultimate rating, no person’s scrutinizing Clemson’s penchant for delivering on the most important of levels.
That is why Scott by no means flinched when he noticed Lawrence lean into that huddle, look his teammates of their eyes and inform them to lock in. Ohio State had simply gone forward 23-21, however Clemson answered with a four-play, 94-yard drive capped by a 34-yard landing cross from Lawrence to working again Travis Etienne with 1:49 to play.
“Even though it was an amazing drive, being around here this long, it was not surprising,” mentioned Scott, who will transfer on to be South Florida’s head coach following the nationwide title recreation. “It would have been more surprising if we had not gone down and scored, and I think that says more about these guys than anything.”
All week, Swinney’s message to the workforce had a well-recognized ring to it.
Dabo Swinney commends the Buckeyes’ toughness all through the Fiesta Bowl, however says his Tigers confirmed the “heart of a champion” of their wire-to-wire victory.
“This is where we belong. This is normal for us,” Scott mentioned, recounting what Swinney instructed the gamers. “We felt like the experience we’ve had on this stage — because this is different — but we felt our experience would be a factor against them, and I think it was, especially us getting down and not panicking and understanding it’s a four-quarter game.”
The mere proven fact that Clemson was in place to win the sport within the second half was borderline miraculous. Ohio State charged out to a 16-Zero lead, but it surely most likely ought to have been extra like 28-0.
The Buckeyes twice have been contained in the Tigers’ 10-yard line with first-and-goal conditions, however they have been held to discipline objectives. Then there was the focusing on penalty on Ohio State security Shaun Wade within the first half that fully modified the sport and stored a Clemson scoring drive alive.
“I was mad as hell, pissed off that the ref didn’t call it originally,” Clemson offensive guard John Simpson mentioned. “It was clear, obvious, but I was mad, but everybody is going to be mad when their quarterback gets hurt.”
Lawrence handed for 2 touchdowns within the recreation, but it surely was his 67-yard landing run on which he ran away from Ohio State defenders that put a cost into his Clemson teammates and pulled the Tigers to 16-14 simply earlier than halftime.
“Trevor is just a great player, competitor and whatever it takes, running it and throwing it,” Scott mentioned.
Simpson joked, “I didn’t think he was slow, but I didn’t know he had that kind of speed.”
Crippling errors plagued Ohio State, as did a few calls by officers that can sting for a very long time in Columbus. The Buckeyes thought that they had a landing within the third quarter after returning a fumble compelled by Jeff Okudah. Clemson’s Justyn Ross appeared to take just a few steps earlier than dropping the soccer, however a assessment of the play overturned the landing.
“When you get an opening, you gotta take it,” Clemson’s Amari Rodgers mentioned. “That’s the way this game goes, and we took it. We never doubted that we were going to win this game.”
Ohio State working again J.Ok. Dobbins was extra succinct.
“There were a lot of calls that were not good, but we should have never let it get to where we had to depend on those calls,” he mentioned.
“Everybody thought, ‘Well, they haven’t played anybody, and now they’re going to get tested,'” Venables mentioned of the narrative surrounding Clemson coming into the sport. “However we do. Ask our offensive guys. Ask our defensive guys. Once we go on that observe discipline, the mindset is we’ll win — win each inside drill, each workforce cross, every part.
“We do not make all of the performs on protection. We get our butts kicked lots. However you are not going to point out up on recreation day and see higher. Now, you may see one particular person who’s a greater participant or a greater lineman or a receiver right here or there, however collectively, you are not going to see higher.
“There’s a lot at stake every week, but these guys are unbelievable. They’re uncommon. They really are.”