By: Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
ATLANTA, Ga. – It took a full 60 minutes in the Georgia Dome, but Clemson escaped with a narrow 25-24 win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl thanks to a 37-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro as time expired in the fourth quarter.
Clemson (11-2) came up with a huge stop when it mattered most to keep the game alive, forcing an LSU three-and-out to regain possession with 1:39 remaining and trailing by two points. A few seconds later, with Clemson facing a fourth-and-16 at its own 14-yardline, quarterback Tajh Boyd connected with DeAndre Hopkins on a 26-yard strike to move the sticks for the Tigers and avoid defeat. Six plays later, Clemson found itself with a chance to win the game with just two ticks remaining, and Catanzaro converted to seal the one-point win.
Entering the final quarter, LSU (10-3) held an 11-point advantage thanks to a 10-0 run in the third quarter. Jeremy Hill, who carried 12 times on the night for 125 yards and two scores, opened the third with a 57-yard scamper to the end zone. After Drew Alleman hit a 20-yard field goal later in the period, LSU held a 24-13 advantage and appeared to be on its way to victory before Clemson’s rally in the fourth quarter.
Zach Mettenberger threw for 109 yards and a score for LSU from the quarterback position, while Clemson’s Boyd threw for 339 yards and two scores on 49 attempts. Hopkins recorded a Chick-fil-A Bowl record 190 yards on 13 receptions to go along with two scores for Clemson, while Andre Ellington averaged 4.6 yards per carry on the ground on 11 tries.
Despite being outgained by over 200 yards on the game, LSU’s defense forced two turnovers to keep things close throughout. The LSU defense also held Clemson under the 100-yard mark on the ground in the losing effort.
Passing – Zach Mettenberger, 14-for-23, 109 yards, TD, INT
Rushing – Jeremy Hill, 12 car, 125 yards, 2 TD
Receiving – Odell Bechkam, 3 rec, 40 yards
Passing – Tajh Boyd, 35-for-49, 339 yards, 2 TD
Rushing – Andre Ellington, 11 car, 51 yards
Receiving – DeAndre Hopkins, 13 rec, 190 yards, 2 TD
• Monday night’s Chick-fil-A Bowl marked the 13th consecutive bowl appearance for LSU.
• It was also LSU’s sixth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly known as the Peach Bowl), and the Tigers were 5-0 previously before the narrow defeat to Clemson.
• LSU is now 39-3 since the beginning of the 2009 season when scoring over 20 points.
• The loss to Clemson was only the second non-conference loss for LSU since Les Miles took over as head coach in 2005.