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Chick-fil-A Bowl: No. 14 Clemson stuns No. 9 LSU with late field goal to win 25-24

Published December 31, 2012 10:44 pm

Chick-fil-A Bowl • Tigers kick 37-yard field goal as time expires in wild finish to game.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

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. —

No. 14 Clemson 25, No. 9 LSU 24

LSU 7 7 10 0 — 24

Clemson 7 6 0 12 — 25

First Quarter

LSU • Hill 17 run (Alleman kick), 14:05.

Clem • Boyd 11 run (Catanzaro kick), 9:46.

Second Quarter

LSU • Landry 6 pass from Mettenberger (Alleman kick), 13:12.

Clem • Hopkins 11 pass from Boyd (kick blocked), 5:43.

Third Quarter

LSU • Hill 57 run (Alleman kick), 14:43.

LSU • FG Alleman 20, 4:49.

Fourth Quarter

Clem • FG Catanzaro 26, 9:26.

Clem • Hopkins 12 pass from Boyd (pass failed), 2:47.

Clem • FG Catanzaro 37, :00.

Attendance • 68,027.

LSU Clem

First downs 9 32

Rushes-yards 25-99 50-99

Passing 120 346

Comp-Att-Int 14-23-1 36-50-0

Return Yards 20 (-3)

Punts-Avg. 9-44.6 6-43.3

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2

Penalties-yards 7-66 6-47

Time of Possession 23:39 36:21

Individual Statistics

Rushing • LSU, Hill 12-124, Ware 3-9, Hilliard 2-8, Ford 2-(minus 1),

Mettenberger 6-(minus 41). Clemson, Ellington 11-50, McDowell 7-26,

Boyd 29-22, Ja.Brown 1-3, Howard 1-1, S.Watkins 1-(minus 3).

Passing • LSU, Mettenberger 14-23-1-120. Clemson, Boyd 36-50-0-346.

Receiving • LSU, Landry 4-37, Beckham 3-40, Ware 3-18, Boone 2-14,

Clement 1-7, Dickson 1-4. Clemson, Hopkins 13-191, Ford 9-69,

Humphries 8-27, McDowell 2-6, Ellington 1-35, Ja.Brown 1-12, Cooper 1-5, Peake 1-1.