LSU Tigers: Chick-fil-A Bowl 2012

Video: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
1:25
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Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd discusses the Tigers' thrilling 25-24 win over LSU in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Instant analysis: Clemson 25, LSU 24

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
11:40
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ATLANTA -- In the battle for Death Valley and Tigers supremacy, No. 14 Clemson upset No. 8 LSU 25-24 on a last-second, 37-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.

It was over when: Catanzaro nailed the 37-yard kick to cap a masterful 10-play, 60-yard drive by Clemson.

Game ball goes to: Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was unstoppable all night. Even with partner in crime Sammy Watkins out for basically the entire game with an ankle injury, he caught a game-high 13 passes for a game-high 190 yards and two touchdowns. His last touchdown cut LSU's late fourth-quarter lead to two points.

Stat of the game: Hopkins finished the night with the school record for single-season receiving yards (1,404).

Stat of game II: LSU linebacker Kevin Minter finished the game with 19 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack.

Stat of the game III: Clemson registered a season-high eight sacks against LSU.

Unsung heroes of the game: You can't really say that Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was an unsung hero, but he deserves some love after he threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns on 36-of-50 passing. He also ran the ball a game-high 29 times for a net gain of 22 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Malliciah Goodman finished the game with three sacks, including a major one with LSU leading 24-16 with more than nine minutes left and driving in Clemson territory. The sack knocked LSU out of Clemson's side of the field.

What it means for Clemson: After a disappointing finish to the regular season, Clemson took down one of the SEC's best teams, as its offense put together spectacular back-to-back scoring drives, gutting LSU's defense along the way. It was also the first bowl win for Clemson since beating Kentucky 21-13 in the 2009 Music City Bowl.

What it means for LSU: The Tigers' defense totally collapsed on Clemson's final two drives of the game, allowing scoring drives of 77 and 60 yards. After controlling the game for most of the second half, the defense fell apart. Now, the Tigers will probably say goodbye to a good chunk of that defense, as a handful of underclassmen are expected to declare early for the NFL draft.

Best of the non-BCS bowls

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
12:25
PM ET

Matchups, not pecking order, got LSU

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
10:10
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- There were angry LSU fans Sunday when word leaked out that the Tigers had dropped all the way to the Chick-fil-A Bowl to face Clemson on New Year’s Eve.

It’s an outrage, they said. How is an LSU team ranked No. 8 in the BCS rankings No. 6 in the SEC pecking order?

[+] EnlargeTajh Boyd
Bob Donnan/US PresswireLSU's young secondary will get a tough test from Tajh Boyd and Clemson's high-powered passing game.
Fair question. The Chick-fil-A Bowl is tied to the No. 5 team out of the SEC, which, as usual, became No. 6 this year after two SEC teams qualified for BCS bowl game.

If you compared results among the six SEC teams with double-digit wins, it’s hard to rationalize LSU being the sixth choice among those teams.

There are two one-loss SEC teams -- No. 2 Alabama, which will play in the Discover BCS National Championship game, and No. 3 Florida, which will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Both deserved their spots.

Of the teams with two losses or fewer, only Florida (3-1) and LSU (2-2) played four of them, with the Tigers going 2-0 against fellow two-loss teams.

LSU beat South Carolina and Texas A&M, two teams that were invited to bowls higher in the pecking order than the Chick-fil-A. A&M landed the much-coveted Cotton Bowl spot despite losing to LSU at College Station.

(Read full post)

Chick-fil-A Bowl

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
11:05
PM ET
LSU Tigers (10-2) vs. Clemson Tigers (10-2)

Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET, Atlanta (ESPN)

LSU take by GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney: How does one judge LSU's season?

At 10-2, the Tigers fell short of their preseason No. 1 ranking. They failed to make the SEC championship game, much less defend their conference title.

On the other hand, LSU masterfully overcame a ton of problems.

Tyrann Mathieu, the Tigers' Heisman Trophy finalist at cornerback, was dismissed from the team in August. Chris Faulk, the left tackle who seemed destined to be drafted by the second round, was lost to a knee injury after one game, and running back Alfred Blue was also lost to a knee injury a couple of weeks later. The Tigers finished the season with three offensive line starters who weren't starters at the beginning of the season.

Yet, by the end of the regular season, LSU seemed to have it figured out. Zach Mettenberger was much improved in the passing game, and Jeremy Hill emerged as one of the nation's best freshmen running backs. And the defense, though it gave up passing yards late in the season, remained solid, led by end Sam Montgomery and linebacker Kevin Minter.

So how LSU's season is perceived might come down to how the Tigers play in the bowl. If the offense continues its resurgence and the Tigers win, they will go into the offseason with a rosy outlook. If the Tigers lose and the defense continues to give up passing yards, followed by the seemingly inevitable loss of underclassmen like Montgomery and free safety Eric Reid to the NFL draft, it could be an offseason of worry on the bayou.




Clemson take by ACC blogger Heather Dinich: Clemson, much like Florida State this year, was oh-so-close to something bigger than the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but the Tigers’ losses to the Seminoles and rival South Carolina ruined the program’s chances at a second straight appearance in the ACC championship and a BCS bowl.

That’s not to say this wasn’t a successful season for coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers maintained their position as a top 15 team all year, and have thrived behind a high-scoring offense led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who was named the ACC’s Player of the Year. In his second season as a starter, Boyd helped lead Clemson to back-to-back 10-win seasons, the first Clemson quarterback to do that since Rodney Williams in1987-88. Clemson had the No. 6 scoring offense in the country this year (42.33) points per game, but was smothered in a 27-17 loss to South Carolina. The defense under first-year coordinator Brent Venables was better, but it wasn’t championship-caliber, finishing No. 47 in the county, allowing 24.92 points per game.

Clemson’s only ACC loss this year was in Tallahassee to a Florida State team that was ranked No. 4 in the country at the time. Clemson reeled off seven straight wins after that loss and had momentum heading into its regular-season finale against the Gamecocks, but for the fourth straight season, Clemson was outplayed and outcoached by its in-state rival.

Clemson will forever be remembered for its abysmal performance in last year’s Discover Orange Bowl, but this matchup against LSU will be a chance for the Tigers to take a monumental step towards redeeming their postseason image.

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