It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting in the press box of the game between Clemson and Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship. The winner goes to the Orange Bowl. Here are my thoughts and takes, some serious, others not so much, from this game.
Virginia Tech fumbles on opening series and Clemson recovers due to instant replay. A few plays later, tight end Dwayne Allen scores his seventh touchdown of the year to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Clemson is trying to make it to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1981, which is when it beat Nebraska and won the mythical national championship.
There seems to be a much larger Clemson contingency here at BOA Stadium.
The emotion and momentum is clearly on Clemson’s side early.
There haven’t been a lot of big plays on offense yet for either team.
Line of the night thus far: Clemson athletics director walks by and sees me and three other reporters standing together before the game, all of whom he knows. As he’s walking by, he says, “One shot could take out all three of you.” And without blinking an eye, one of the veteran reporters says, “Not if it’s Tajh Boyd taking the shot.”
Fourth-and-1 and Clemson opted to punt from its own 43. A little surprising Dabo didn’t go for it. The Hokies not take over at their own 23.
The first big play of the night comes from Virginia Tech as Logan Thomas throws a perfect 45-yard pass to DJ Coles to tie it at 7-7 with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.
It’s nice to know that no matter what, the Clemson defense that we all know and love and showed.
END OF FIRST QUARTER
Clemson 7, Va Tech 7
The Clemson offense is stalling and looking more like it has the last few weeks than what it did in the middle of the season.
The offense for the Tigers has finally awoken.
I did find it odd that the Duke Power building was lit up with orange and purple colors. At first I thought that was odd, but then after thinking about it, it seems to make sense. Duke Power does business in NC, SC and Ga, not Va. Hence, having the colors of a school in one of those states seems to make sense.
Clemson has it first-and-goal and has to settle for a field goal to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead.
Also, Sammy Watkins just set a Clemson single-season receiving record with 1,101 yards.
I covered the Clemson Tigers for several years and it was nice to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a while. It’s good to see old friends.
In the first half, eight different Tiger players have caught a pass.
After a 60-yard punt, Clemson starts at the 2.
In all fairness to Boyd, he’s played well thus far. He hasn’t made any poor passes that should’ve been picked off. One reporter just told me that Boyd is good when he’s stationary, it’s when he’s on the run that his passes get squirrelly.
A play that could be a major one if Clemson scores. The Hokies were just called for roughing the kicker even after the ball was tipped. It gave the Tigers the ball as opposed to Virginia Tech getting it in Clemson territory.
But justice is served as Clemson goes three-and-out. However, the field position is a big difference. The Hokies will start at their own 17.
There hasn’t been this much orange in Charlotte since the construction of 485.
Thomas just got sacked for a loss of 11 with 1:05 left in the first half. That was bad on his part. Now, it’s second-and-21 from their own 37.
A complete boneheaded play by Andre Branch with roughing the passes. Instead of being third-and-21 from the 37, it’s now first-and-10 at the Clemson 48. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Two plays later, Hokies are at the Clemson 16.
Virginia Tech had no clue that the clock was running after a holding penalty and as a result, the Hokies are going to have to settle for a 42-yard field goal. That was very poor management by the Hokies coaching staff.
Even so, the field goal is good and the score is tied at 10-10.
Once again, thanks to Mr. Andre Branch for the biggest gaff in the game, other than the botched roughing the kicker call.
Clemson 10, Va. Tech 10
People are talking in the press box saying how they’re impressed with the Clemson’s defense. I’m quick to remind them that the Hokies are a team that scored 14 against Duke three weeks ago.
Danny Coale, the punter for the Hokies, has booted a 60 yarder and a 61 yarder.
Only the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets sent a scout to watch the game.
Clemson is moving the ball but fumbled. Fortunately for the Tigers, they recovered it.
Clemson doing a hurry-up offense.
Each time the Tigers have tried a trick play, it’s been a disaster.
The Tigers are moving the ball at will. Virginia Tech is back on its heels. And just like that, Clemson scores a touchdown. It’s Allen’s second of the game, to make it 17-10 with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
It’s Allen’s eight touchdown of the year, which is a new single-season record for a tight end.
Clemson’s Sammy Watkins just became the sixth player in ACC history with 2,000 all-purpose yards in a single season. However, Sammy needed 13 games to do it.
Everything going Clemson’s way, even fake offensive interference calls.
The Tigers have a chance here to do some serious damage. If they go up by two touchdowns, it will be very difficult for the Hokies to come back. This offense has been very suspect all year. If you can only score 3 against Clemson the first time, 14 against Duke and 17 against East Carolina, then you’re not exactly known as an offensive juggernaut.
On the first play, Watkins just scored on a 53-yard pass from Boyd. This game is almost over as Clemson takes a 24-10 lead.
Ironically, the power went out in Clemson early in the first quarter and the entire town is without power.
Third quarter offense seven minutes into it: Clemson 140 yards; Virginia Tech 10.
The press box has a microphone located in the crowd and it just happens to be sitting near a big hick that is a fan of Clemson. I’m not saying all Clemson fans are hicks, just that this particular one is. Nonetheless, the guy is going crazy and saying some stuff that has the entire press box laughing.
The Tigers just scored again and it’s now 31-10.
This game is all but over unless the Hokies can score on defense or special teams.
I’ve been saying all year that the Hokies are the biggest frauds in the country. Auburn would be 10-2 at worst with the exact same schedule.
Once again, the Hokies get screwed on a call for spiking the ball after a big catch. Unreal. Honestly, though, I’m not sure it really matters if that particular call was made or not.
Hokies just dropped a sure first down on fourth down and now Virginia Tech fans are starting to leave. Clemson may win this game by five touchdowns.
A reporter perfectly described the Clemson situation: “This is always the type of game Clemson wins. Look bad for a month, lose to sorry teams, then wins against a ranked team and give a false sense of hope.”
I’m thinking about shutting this thing down for the night. The only thing that can happen from here on out is for me to laugh at the ACC as a whole, and these two teams, both of which have been frauds the entire year. And I’m not sure ACC fans want me to do that.
It’s now 38-10.
My guess is it will finish 45-10, or maybe even more.
Logan Thomas has to now throw and good things rarely happen when that takes place.
Maybe Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will get to keep his job, though people need to keep in mind that this is Virginia Tech’s offense we’re talking about.
What’s a bigger fraud, Virginia Tech or Kim Kardashian’s marriage?
OK, I’m tired of this game. I’m packing up and heading home to get ready for Sunday’s Panthers game against Tampa.
I want to thank everyone for reading along and, as always, stay thirsty my friends.