Clemson won the ACC Championship (aka Another Clemson Championship) for the second year in a row and will likely play in the college football playoffs. The Tigers downed Virginia Tech 42-35 in front a sparse crowd of fifty thousand in Orlando, Florida.

At the beginning of the first and second halves, the Tigers shot out of the gate playing hot and it looked as if the game would get out of hand at points. But like most Clemson games this season, the Tigers failed to put the opponent away and the Tigers didn’t seal the game until the fifty ninth minute.

Despite the score, the defense limited the Hokies offense and looked solid for most of the night. In 2015 style, big plays almost were the Tigers Achilles heel.

Tech was held to 102 rushing yards on 35 carries, but they scored four touchdowns on the ground. Jerod Evans struggled throwing the ball, as a couple of huge plays mitigated what was a bad night for the JUCO transfer.

Those big plays included a 53 yard strike to Isaiah Ford when Clemson dropped eleven men into coverage, and a 42 yard strike to Bucky Hodges when he was one on one with Ryan Carter (his only catch of the night).
Evans threw for 264 yards on 35 attempts, and only had one passing score as opposed to two picks. However, he also scored two times on the ground with his battering ram style of football (similar to a larger Tajh Boyd).

Kendall Joseph lead the team with eleven tackles, and Ben Boulware followed up with ten of his own. Dorian O’Daniel was ejected for targeting in the first quarter and so Jalen Williams played in his place.

Cordrea Tankersley had two picks including the game winning interception on fourth down, and he limited whomever he was covered on with ease

Clemson’s pass rush made the difference in the game, as Evans was sacked four times and was rattled. Dexter Lawrence had two sacks and two tackles for loss, with Ferrell and Watkins claiming the other two sacks.

Clemson averaged 4.4 yards per carry, rushing for 182 yards on 41 attempts. Watson and Gallman each rushed seventeen times – Watson had 85 yards and two scores while Gallman had 59 yards and one score.

Watson had an excellent performance with 288 passing yards and three scores. He negated Virginia Tech’s potent pass rush and made the plays when it counted.

Scott, Leggett, and Williams were three three primary receivers, combining for 16 of the 23 catches for 154 yards and two scores (scores both by Leggett).

Deon Cain had two important catches for 69 yards, while Renfrow had two equally important catches for 46 yards and the game winning score.

Both teams were penalized eight times, Clemson for 65 yards and Tech for 89 yards.

Another key factor was turnovers: Deshaun threw one pick that a defensive lineman tipped, and Tech subsequently went three and out. Tech had two turnovers, and the Tigers scored a touchdown after of one of them.

VT Coach Fuente said that if Tech had scored on the last drive, they were going to go for two.

Clemson is an excellent team, and they came away with a consecutive ACC Championship against a solid Virginia Tech team.

The questions about the playoffs and about the Tigers’ ability to beat whomever they play linger into Christmas, but this championship is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Clemson isn’t perfect, and the Tigers have their weaknesses to be sure. But embrace the standard that this program has created, and be appreciative of every win and ACC Championship. Clemson wasn’t always a powerhouse, and fortunes can change quickly.

But for now, enjoy this moment and championship. Don’t think about the future questions, think about the past accomplishments of this year. This is the golden age of Clemson football.