Saturday, November 12, 2011
Clemson wins Atlantic Division
By Heather Dinich
Those tickets you already bought for the ACC championship game?
Feel free to keep them, Clemson fans.
The Tigers escaped a season-defining scare from Wake Forest in Death Valley, and in a game in which missed field goals were costly, Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro got redemption with the game-winner as time expired. The 31-28 win over Wake Forest assured No. 9 Clemson of its second appearance in the ACC title game in three years. It was a gutsy, impressive performance by the Demon Deacons, but two missed field goals will continue to haunt them. Wake Forest had a 21-point third quarter lead and led 28-21 entering the fourth quarter, but couldn't hang onto the lead.
Despite a lackluster three quarters for the No. 9 team in the nation, Clemson came together in the fourth quarter and rallied behind quarterback Tajh Boyd and got several key defensive stops for the come-from-behind win. It wasn't Boyd's best performance -- he had two interceptions and could have had several more, had potential picks not been dropped -- but he came through in the clutch and threw two touchdown passes to tie the game at 28.
Clemson did not "Clemson itself" this season. It found a way to win. Again.
With all due respect to Wake Forest and its fans -- and I mean that sincerely, because it was an outstanding effort and has been a great season for the Deacs -- this was the best possible outcome for the ACC, because right now, there are two top-10 teams slated to play for the ACC title this year. First, Virginia Tech must win its final two games.