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Clelin Ferrell announces his intention to enter the 2019 NFL Draft

Last evening, Clemson student-athlete Clelin Ferrell announced his intention to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Comments from Ferrell are included below.


Dear Clemson Family,


For those who know me, understand how hard it is for me to write a letter like this because it means the coming to an end of a truly life-changing experience to be at my second home the last 3-and-a-half years. My love for this team, program and school is everlasting and the memories it has given me will forever hold a special place in my heart.


It all started with Coach Venables and my former coach, Marion Hobby. They’re the reason I came to Clemson, and every day I stepped on the field I wanted to prove myself to them because I know they expected great things from me. Coach Swinney, he is the reason I say Clemson is where I “needed” to be and not where I “wanted” to be. The love he has for his players is unmatched and he taught me about having a vision for my life and where to build my foundation, which is in Christ, and that’s why he is so important to my success. Also Coach Bates and Coach Ski, y’all gave me some of my best memories at Clemson, I’ve told you both the love I’ve got for y’all and I know y’all have got my back through anything.


To my mother and family, you have been my backbone throughout my life and I’ve only wanted to make you proud. You have given me everything I needed to be successful even when you couldn’t get it for yourself and I will continue to be my best for you.


And to the Clemson Family, you all are the best fans in the world and you are the reason why this decision is so hard, because the people here are what make it so special. I am blessed to have been a part of this family. Lastly, to my teammates —to my brothers — I can honestly say my love for y’all is deeper than football and I will always cherish the time we have and will continue to spend together, as my kids will call y’all “Uncle” one day.


With that being said, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the NFL Draft this year and will continue to chase my dream of being the best me I can be. #DreamWithMeBaby #MissileOut



Swinney Earns Paul “Bear” Bryant Award

HOUSTON — The American Heart Association announced tonight that Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has been named the recipient of the 2018 Paul “Bear” Bryant Award. Now in its 33rd year, the award recognizes the country’s top college football coach for his contributions both on and off the field. The award is selected after all bowl games have concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association.

”You know it’s been a great year when you get invited to this event,” Swinney said prior to accepting the award at a ceremony in Houston on Wednesday evening.

Swinney becomes the first three-time winner in the history of the Bear Bryant Award, having collected the honor following the 2015, 2016 and 2018 seasons. This season, he was one of seven finalists for the award, a group that included UAB’s Bill Clark, UCF’s Josh Heupel, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Army’s Jeff Monken, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford.

This season, Swinney guided Clemson to its third national championship in school history, the second in his tenure. He pushed his career record to 116-30 by leading the Tigers to the first 15-0 season in major college football in the modern era. In the process, Swinney defeated two fellow Bryant finalists – Kelly and Saban – by a combined score of 74-19 in the College Football Playoff in wins against No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 1 Alabama.

Swinney concluded his acceptance speech by calling Woody McCorvey, Clemson’s Associate Athletic Director of Football Administration and Swinney’s former position coach at Alabama, to the stage to share in the honor.

The award marks Swinney’s third Coach of the Year honor this season and his second such national award. He earned the 2018 Woody Hayes Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus and Coach of the Year from the ACC. He was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and the Dodd Trophy in addition to being a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award.

1/8: Five Reflections on Clemson’s 2018 Season

Clemson, SC – Clemson won their second national title in three years in such a manner that the Tigers are now the premier program in college football – dethroning the reigning dynasty in a historic 44-16 blowout. Taking in the magnitude of any major sports moment takes time to soak in and reflect, especially a definitive changing of the guard that we witnessed last night. Here are some assorted reflections that may not flow ‘neatly’ in a game article.


  1. Clemson can’t pull the underdog card (ROY bus) anymore.

When Coach Swinney explained the ROY bus in an analogy from his time at Alabama, it made sense. While he probably knew and most people knew that Clemson was not in the ROY bus, it’s a true reflection on how far the program has come, as well as a tool to keep his players from losing sight of the goal. Historically, Clemson is on the ROY bus – a smaller public school nestled in the woods of upcountry South Carolina. In football, in the 21stcentury? The Tigers are “the bus”, and everybody else is on the ROY bus. It will be interesting to see if Swinney can use an underdog card at some point in the future, and if so how he uses it. Just chalk it up to a motivational tactic, because for the foreseeable future Clemson is on top.


  1. Don’t take this for granted.

Clemson is the elite program of college football, the program is built for sustained success, and most importantly a culture of stability and family envelopes the program – so what’s to say this doesn’t happen again? Make no mistake – Clemson probably has multiple championships in its future, and future generations will look back at this team (as well as 2010s Alabama) as a great dynasty in the vein of 1990s Nebraska and other examples. But seemingly powerhouse dynasties can end abruptly. 2005 USC and Texas were similarly positioned as the two contenders in college football – and they played in possibly the best football game of all time (2006 Rose Bowl). The two programs never reached that level again, and history is replete with such examples. Scout the team and players, not the logo or program. People assumed that Alabama would win because of their past success, but nothing is earned.


  1. Three quarterbacks were the reason Clemson won a game this year.

Trevor Lawrence is the quarterback of the Tigers for good reason – more on that later. However, Clemson wouldn’t have won a championship with Trevor Lawrence alone. Kelly Bryant ignited the offense to a victory in hostile conditions at Texas A&M before being replaced as the starter and transferring. While some of his comments upon leaving were misguided, his performance in the Texas A&M game was instrumental in the 2018 season – and he is still a good quarterback (not NFL caliber though). When Kelly Bryant transferred, the football team experienced its first instance of turmoil in the season. Trevor Lawrence was injured and knocked out of the game against Syracuse, and Chase Brice led the Tigers to victory. The Tigers relied on the defense and running game, but he made a crucial fourth down throw that saved the Tigers season under pressure and was prepared to win the game. A side note: balance isn’t about a run to pass ratio or anything like that – its about being able to win with what the defense gives you and how you need to win at the moment. The Tigers won with the run in the Syracuse game and the pass in the national championship.  Coach Swinney kept saying “Don’t forget about Chase Brice” – and it wasn’t just coach speak. The four-star recruit won the Georgia 7A state championship at Grayson HS while drawing comparisons to Brett Favre as an excellent quarterback in his own right.


  1. Trevor Lawrence is that incredible.

Football is a team game, but winning without a good quarterback is near impossible. Having a generational quarterback is a true privilege that takes football teams to new heights. The following statement should not be translated as a ‘shot’ at Deshaun Watson. He is an incredible quarterback (one of the world’s best at the moment), but his skill set is more replicable than Trevor Lawrence’s. People said that there would never be another player like Deshaun Watson, but the truth is there is likely another player for a long time like Trevor Lawrence. On one hand, examples of freshman stars whom fall back to earth run replete such as Christian Hackenberg. There are no guarantees, but Trevor doesn’t give off the vibe of a freshman who doesn’t continue to progress. He would be the number one overall pick this year if he was allowed to come out, and even if he didn’t progress. The list of players that come to mind when comparing Trevor Lawrence either in terms of skillset or overall greatness are slim – and they are All Pro type of players. It’s no wonder that four quarterbacks transferred out – and no knock on them. Zerrick Cooper is playing great at Jacksonville State, Hunter Johnson will play well at Northwestern, and Kelly Bryant will play well at Missouri. The job of media is to normally pump the brakes on the hype train, but there is no honest and rational way to do so.


  1. Continuity and Depth Matter

This is obvious on its face – but let’s use the 2018 Tigers as an example. Clemson has lost a handful of coaches throughout the past few years – Chad Morris for a college HC job, Dan Brooks to retirement, and Marion Hobby for an NFL position coaching job. Alabama has lost around twenty. While Alabama is a great program and has success with numerous coaches, continuity is valuable for building a program year after year, and players appreciate it as well. When Clemson develops depth early in the season and isn’t blowing teams away, championship season is when the benefits are reaped. Clemson was in the unique situation of having the best team in the ACC, and their backups probably being the second best team in the ACC (say, the fourth at worst). That is rare and will probably never happen again, but the lesson is the same. Playing numerous players keeps the team healthy and develops talent for future years. Speaking of depth, that is made possible in large part by players wanting to stay. Wilkins, Ferrell, and Bryant would not have been first round picks last year – but many players with second round grades or lower leave and its usually a mistake. They wanted to stay because they had unfinished business – and Ferrell might stay another year, who knows? Two lesser known examples are Trevion Thompson and Adam Choice. Both were on the bench behind younger players, but they chose to stay and played well when called upon. Trevion Thompson had several impressive catches this year (including last night), and Choice was an excellent closer-power back. Albert Huggins stayed, and he earned himself major cash with his two game run filling in for Dexter Lawrence. The list runs on, but the lesson is the same.

1/7: Clemson Dethrones Bama as Premier Dynasty in 44-16 Win

Reporting from Clemson, SC –


For so long, Alabama was regarded as a machine. Drawing comparisons to and beyond Belichick, Saban’s Process dominated college football. Every machine dies and every dynasty is dethroned – tonight Clemson dethroned Alabama as the current premier program of college football with their 44-16 win.


Heisman finalist Tua Tagavolia didn’t see it coming – he thought he saw man coverage. AJ Terrell was playing trap coverage and intercepted Tua’s pass for a 44-yard pick six to go up 7-0.


Just like one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, he put the play behind him and pulled a brilliant maneuver of his own in the form of a 61-yard bomb to a single-covered Jerry Jeudy to tie up the game just over a minute later.


Not to be outdone, Trevor Lawrence made a 62-yard throw to Tee Higgins down the seam when Alabama deviated from their normal coverage scheme. As if it were a scripted routine, Travis Etienne ran the final 17 yards to score and put the Tigers up 14-7.


Alabama’s ten play drive was a balanced mix of Tua’s quick-intermediate passes and Najee Harris rushes. Harris was ruled down at the half yard line on an impressive second effort run, so Saban played his next card. The Tide ran a play-action rollout to the left that had the entire defense fooled – Tua flipped the one yard pass to backup tight end Hale Hentges for their responding touchdown.


Joseph Bulovas missed his ninth extra point of the year, a trademark of inconsistent kicking that previous Alabama teams could get away with – but not this time.



After quickly dispatching of Clemson’s offense, Alabama slogged out a 45-yard, eleven play drive to end the first quarter.


Just six yards from taking a seven-point lead, Alabama’s offensive lineman Willis was flagged for a false start penalty that cost the Tide four points.


Bulovas’ 25-yard field goal barely stayed in the uprights, giving the Tide a two point 16-14 lead early in the second quarter.


Outgained 224 to 86 and holding onto a 14-13 lead, Clemson survived the notorious first quarter onslaught that buried previous opponents.


Now it was their turn dominate in their notoriously deadly second quarters – Clemson gained 138 yards and scored 17 points in the second quarter while holding the Tide to three points and 42 yards.


A pass interference penalty on Savion Smith and a 26-yard Tavien Feaster reception set up Etienne’s one-yard touchdown run that was the go-ahead score for the Tigers.


Clemson’s second touchdown drive of the quarter was jumpstarted by Trayvon Mullens’ 47-yard interception return on a Tua overthrow; then Amari Rodgers’ 26-yard catch set up Etienne’s five-yard shovel reception touchdown to go up 28-16 late in the second quarter.


Clemson scored another field goal to end the half up 31-16 – and the seemingly invulnerable Tide resembled A Dying Machine. One Imagine Dragons halftime show later, the mood remained the same.


Alabama’s thirteen play, 51-yard drive appeared to be the catharsis the doctor ordered – a slow and consistent march up the field to restart the process. Then a glitch occurred, a moment of desperation – Alabama ran a fake field goal just outside the red zone that failed.


In the manner that Alabama had capitalized off of the fear-filled mistakes of their opponents so many times, Clemson capitalized off of the call – quickly.


Trevor Lawrence threw a 74-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Justyn Ross to go up 37-16 in the middle of the third quarter. Huegel missed the extra point, but the consequence was less drastic.


The lore was that a true freshman quarterback could not beat Nick Saban. Jake Fromm almost did last year, and Trevor Lawrence did it this year. Freshman Justyn Ross was from Alabama – he spurned both major in state programs to go to Clemson.


Alabama’s next drive was more of the same. The 59-yard drive ended inside the red zone – the Tide gained three yards when they needed four on fourth down.


Clemson marched again towards a seemingly inevitable touchdown looming. Twelve plays and eighty-nine yards later, Trevor Lawrence threw his third touchdown pass of the night to Tee Higgins on a slant route near the end of the third quarter.


The last team to beat Alabama by more than 16 points? LSU – with Nick Saban at the helm. The last time Nick Saban lost a game by more than 14 points was when he was an NFL Head Coach – the Bills defeated his Dolphins in December of 2006. He left the Dolphins just weeks later to become the Head Coach at Alabama and build the dynasty. Saban’s Tide were now staring at a 28-point deficit at the end of three quarters.


In a repeat of Groundhog Day, Alabama’s next drive consisted of marching down the field (including an impressive 48-yard pass to Jeudy), struggling in the red zone (this time, stuffed twice at the one), and capped off by a failed fourth down conversion.


It is rare in sports that two dynasties continually meet for year on end in interesting and heated battles. Rarer still, is watching one dynasty make the other look like a dying machine as it slowly replaces the other.


Players that would historically have played for Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama were donning the Tiger paw and leading the Tigers to their next national championship.


The senior class ends their career at 55-4 with two national championships and four conference championships. What makes this a dethroning of the dynasty is not just this team – but what is in store for the years to come. Lawrence and Ross are freshmen, Etienne and Higgins are sophomores – the list goes on and on.


The 2018 Tigers will be regarded among the best college football teams in history, and the Tigers have dethroned Alabama. After enjoying the win, the next task is to remain as the premier dynasty in college football. Enjoy the feeling.

1/7: National Championship Halftime Analysis

Score: Clemson 31 Alabama 16

Key Moments: 

Tua Tagavolia has been intercepted twice – once for a pick six to start the game and the second was an overthrow (returned by Mullen 46 yards) that set up Clemson’s go-ahead touchdown drive.

Alabama missed their ninth extra point of the year after their second touchdown that could haunt them in a late game scenario.


Clemson has won the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football so far – the offensive line has held Quinnen Williams, and company in check while the defensive line has prevented Tua from executing at his usual level. Travis Etienne has scored three touchdowns.

Clemson’s secondary has only had one major mistake while posting two interceptions – they have fed off the front seven and contained the Tide’s impressive receiving corps.

Areas for Improvement: 

Clemson has a significant lead over the Tide, but Saban and Swinney are excellent coaches that will make halftime adjustments. If the Tigers can respond to the adjustments while maintaining their lead and momentum, this game is Clemson’s to lose.

What to Watch: 

Will Mike Locksley and Tua Tagavolia figure out a way to get back on track offensively and make Clemson’s defense pay for their aggressiveness – and how will Venables respond? Can Clemson’s offensive line continue to win at the line of scrimmage and expose Alabama’s defense?

Clemson took advantages of their chances in the first half, and Alabama missed their chances in the first half – will the same hold for the second half?

1/6: National Championship Preview

Clemson players and head coach Dabo Swinney take part in a press conference at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2018, one of the events leading up to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face off on December 29, 2018. Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA

Coach Swinney classified college football teams into two categories earlier in the year: the “Bama Bus” and the “Rest of Yall Bus”.

Ten years ago, it would have made sense. 3783 days ago, Alabama upset Clemson 34-10 in the inaugural Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

By the end of that season, Coach Bowden was fired and Coach Swinney was named the permanent head coach. Alabama went 12-0 (losing the SEC Championship) that year, and then they won their first title under Coach Saban the next year.

Back to Swinney’s quote: although he didn’t say it (probably for motivational purposes), almost everyone else realized that the actual situation consisted of “Bama Bus”, “Clemson Bus”, and then the “ROY Bus”.

Clemson and Alabama play each other in the college football playoff for the fourth year in a row, and for the national championship for the third time in the last four years. The Tide and the Tigers are the two most successful programs of the decade without question, and this matchup seemed inevitable to most for months now.

Both teams are extremely familiar with each other, so how are the teams different and similar compared to previous years? Furthermore, what are the matchups that each team can exploit in order to win the game?

This game is a role reversal from previous matchups. Clemson usually possesses a slight edge on offense, while Alabama possesses a slight edge on defense. The opposite holds true for this year – Clemson relied on their stingy defense until their offense clicked, while the Tide relied on their explosive offense to conceal a defense that is good, but not up to typical Saban standards.

The major statistical differences between two excellent teams are few and far between, so finding them and concluding what they reveal about the game is an important task.

Clemson has the statistical advantage in the rushing game – they average 6.68 yards per rush while only allowing 2.40 yards per rush on defense. Alabama averages 5.30 yards per rush while conceding 3.47 yards per rush on defense. The Tide have an advantage on third down – they convert 54% of their third down attempts (allow 31.9%) while Clemson converts 44.4% of their third downs (allows 28.3%).

While both teams struggle on special teams, one interesting note is that Alabama has missed eight extra points this year (82/90) while Clemson has only missed one extra point this year. What is usually an afterthought could be a major factor in the game – Alabama could elect to go for two more often (neither Clemson or Alabama has gone for two this year according to, or the missed extra point could be the difference in the game.

Since both teams used backup quarterbacks more than normal this year, analyzing passing statistics requires looking at Tua and Trevor individually. In contrast to the image of previous Saban teams, this is the most pass-happy and ‘modern offense’ team he has coached (even more so than 2014).

Alabama’s passing attack is more efficient and explosive than Clemson’s passing attack, and Alabama passes more than Clemson does statistically. Tua throws for more yards per attempt (11.4 v. 8.0), touchdowns (41 vs. 27), and yards (3671 vs 2933) on less attempts (321 to 365) than Trevor Lawrence.

Both quarterbacks are among the best in the nation, but Trevor is the better quarterback overall. The statistics are a result of differing offensive schemes and approaches, as well as Alabama’s reliance on the passing game.

Both teams have incredible receiving corps that will stress each other’s capable but (relatively) vulnerable secondaries. Alabama has four excellent underclassmen receivers – Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs, and DeVonta Smith. Clemson has a corp of nine receivers led by the legendary and ageless Hunter Renfrow. Alabama has quality defensive backs in Deionte Thompson, Shyheim Carter, and Saivion Smith that will face one of their toughest tests of the season (along with the Ole Miss game). The passing games will be directed by excellent quarterback-coordinator duos that will seek to out-wit each other in a game of chess.

Clemson’s offensive line is among the best its had this decade, while Alabama’s offensive line is not as good as previous years (albeit still formidable). Clemson’s running game is spearheaded by Etienne and supported by Feaster and Choice. If the Tiger’s offensive line can at least hold the Tide defensive line to a stalemate, the running backs can expose the thinner linebacking corps and establish a ground game to keep Tua and company off the field.

As for Alabama’s running backs, Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs are both quality running backs in a fairly even timeshare – but make no mistake, the passing game drives Alabama’s offense.

Tua Tagavolia was invited to the Heisman ceremony is an excellent quarterback – and he has five main targets to throw the ball to (35 receptions or more). Isaiah Simmons will probably match up against excellent tight end Irv Smith, and then the Tigers will have to cover the

That brings in Clemson’s defensive line. Clemson has the deepest defensive line in the nation, and their ability to rotate defensive linemen at will is a vital advantage. Defeating Ferrell, Wikins, Bryant, and Huggins is a difficult task of its own – but throwing in legions of backups that perform with little drop off makes the task almost impossible. If Clemson can give Alabama’s offensive line trouble, they should be able to compete on defense. In contrast, any mistake in the secondary like the ones found in the South Carolina game will probably result in touchdowns – the room for error is near zero.

One last note – Quinnen Williams is the next in a great line of Bama defensive linemen. He was little known heading into this year, but has exploded onto the draft scene and is widely regarded as a top five pick. He singlehandedly has the capability to disrupt an entire offense (like Oliver or Bosa).


While some suffer from Alabama-Clemson fatigue, this is the best college football game of the year and a series that will be remembered for generations to come. Oddshark’s current spread is that Alabama is favored by 5.5 points, Clemson will cover that spread, the over/under is 58, and that the game will reach the over. The projected score is Alabama 41.6 – Clemson 41.0.

Clemson has the best chance on paper and matchup wise this time compared to any of the other three games. This is the third meeting where both teams are roughly equal, and possibly the most important of the series with a 15-0 record at stake. The combination of Clemson’s running game and Trevor Lawrence’s unique ability will push Clemson over the top.


Clemson 51 – Alabama 45





Statement from Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich

“Clemson will not have tight end Braden Galloway, offensive lineman Zach Giella and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence available for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama. However, Clemson has been informed by the NCAA that the three student-athletes will be permitted to travel to Santa Clara, Calif., with the team later this week.


“As requested by these student-athletes, Clemson filed notices of appeal with the NCAA. We will continue to work with the three impacted student-athletes and their legal representatives over the coming weeks to prepare the appeals. Neither Clemson, Galloway, Giella nor Lawrence anticipate having further comment on this matter until after the appeals have concluded.”

No. 2 Clemson Knocks Off No. 3 Notre Dame in CFP Semifinal Cotton Bowl 

ARLINGTON, Texas – The No. 2 Clemson football team advanced to its third College Football Playoff National Championship in four years by defeating the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 30-3, on Saturday afternoon in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. With the win, Clemson remained undefeated at 13-0 overall, while Notre Dame concluded its season at 12-1. 

Trevor Lawrence completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including 19 of 26 for 264 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Justyn Ross in the first half alone. Travis Etienne ran for 109 yards on 14 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown run that pushed him past Wayne Gallman’s 2015 mark for the most rushing yards in a single season. Austin Bryant’s two sacks and six total tackles were one of the main sparks of a defensive effort that only allowed three points to a Notre Dame team averaging over 33 per game this season. 

Both defenses proved stout in the first quarter, as Notre Dame held Clemson to a Greg Huegel 40-yard field goal set up by a Clelin Ferrell-forced fumble with eight and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, and the Tigers, in turn, only gave up an Irish 28-yard field goal four minutes later to leave the score knotted at 3-3 after the first 15 minutes. That Justin Yoon field goal proved to be the only scoring that the Clemson defense allowed to the Irish all game.

The Tigers first found the endzone on a 52-yard scoring connection from Lawrence to Ross that put Clemson at a 9-3 advantage with just over two minutes gone in the second quarter. Ross went on to bookend the quarter with scores, as he hauled in a 42-yard pass from Lawrence for his second touchdown of the day 11 minutes later. Tee Higgins then sealed the quarter with an acrobatic 19-yard touchdown reception that gave Clemson a 23-3 lead at the half.

The first score of the third quarter, and what would ultimately be the final score of the game, came with two minutes remaining in the quarter, when Etienne broke away for the 62-yard touchdown rush that was set up by a Nolan Turner interception three plays earlier. A scoreless fourth quarter left the final score at 30-3.

Clemson will play next in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 7 against the winner of tonight’s Capital One Orange Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Oklahoma. Fans wishing to secure official Clemson travel packages are encouraged to act now by visiting to book their trips while availability lasts. Fans are also encouraged to visit the Clemson Tigers Store to get official College Football Playoff merchandise.

Elaine DayClemson Athletic CommunicationsGraduate Assistant || Men’s Soccer, RowingP: (919) 389-1147@elaine_day

ND vs CU (Dec 29, 2018)

Scoring Summary Team Statistics Individual Statistics Drive Chart Defensive Statistics Game Participation Box Score Play-by-Play Play breakdown

  Scoring Summary  

Scoring Summary (Final)
83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#3 ND vs #2 CU (Dec 29, 2018 at Arlington, Texas)

ND (13-1) vs. CU (13-0)

Date: Dec 29, 2018 • Site: Arlington, Texas  • Stadium: AT&T Stadium  •  Attendance: 72183

Score by Quarters Score 
ND  3 
CU  20 30 
1st 08:35 CU  Greg Huegel 40 yd field goal 
      9 plays, 31 yards, TOP 3:15 0 – 3 
 04:31 ND  YOON, Justin 28 yd field goal 
      10 plays, 66 yards, TOP 4:04 3 – 3 
2nd 12:50 CU  Justyn Ross 52 yd pass from Trevor Lawrence (Greg Huegel kick blockd) 
      3 plays, 65 yards, TOP 1:04 3 – 9 
 01:44 CU  Justyn Ross 42 yd pass from Trevor Lawrence (Greg Huegel kick) 
      8 plays, 85 yards, TOP 3:12 3 – 16 
 00:02 CU  Tee Higgins 19 yd pass from Trevor Lawrence (Greg Huegel kick) 
      4 plays, 80 yards, TOP 0:46 3 – 23 
3rd 02:04 CU  Travis Etienne 62 yd run (Greg Huegel kick) 
      3 plays, 71 yards, TOP 1:01 3 – 30 
Kickoff time: 3:11 pm  • End of Game: 6:42 pm  • Total elapsed time: 3:31
Referee: Matt Austin  •  Umpire: Russ Pulley  •  Linesman: Johnny Crawford •  Line judge: Michael Taylor  •  Back judge: Grantis Bell  •  Field judge: J. Taylor  •  Side judge: Rob Skelton  •  Center judge: Lee Hedrick  • 
Temperature: 72  • Wind:  • Weather: indoors

  Team Statistics  

Team Statistics (Final)
83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#3 ND vs #2 CU (Dec 29, 2018 at Arlington, Texas)

 Team Totals ND CU 
   Passing 15 
   Rushing Attempts 35 37 
   Average Per Rush 2.5 5.7 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing 127 236 
   Yards Lost Rushing 39 25 
   Completions-Attempts-Int 17-34-1 27-41-0 
   Average Per Attempt 4.7 8.0 
   Average Per Completion 9.4 12.1 
   Passing Touchdowns 
   Total offense plays 69 78 
   Average Gain Per Play 3.6 6.9 
Fumbles: Number-Lost 2-1 2-1 
Penalties: Number-Yards 7-50 6-65 
PUNTS-YARDS 8-367 5-199 
   Average Yards Per Punt 45.9 39.8 
   Net Yards Per Punt 39.6 39.6 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS 2-130 6-356 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff 65.0 59.3 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff 46.0 38.5 
   Fair Catch Yards 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 1-1-0 2-10-0 
   Average Per Return 1.0 5.0 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 1-13-0 
   Average Per Return 0.0 13.0 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 1-24-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 1-4-0 0-0-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time 27:06 32:54 
   1st Quarter  8:22  6:38 
   2nd Quarter  5:25  9:35 
   3rd Quarter  9:29  5:31 
   4th Quarter  3:50 11:10 
Third-Down Conversions 5 of 17 9 of 18 
Fourth-Down Conversions 1 of 2 1 of 1 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 1-1 1-3 
   Touchdowns 0-1 1-3 
   Field goals 1-1 0-3 
Sacks By: Number-Yards 3-19 6-26 
PAT Kicks 0-0 3-4 
Field Goals 1-1 1-2 
Points off turnovers 10 

12/29: Quick Reaction: Clemson Clobbers ND in Cotton Bowl 30-3

Dallas, TX – The phrase “a game of two halves” is commonly said, but the Cotton Bowl was a game of two quarters. 

The first quarter was a defensive slugfest – neither team could take control despite the numerous opportunities. Clelin Ferrell’s early tackle, forced fumble, and fumble recovery of Ian Book near midfield was the first big play of the game. 

Clemson scored three points off the turnover (40-yd Huegel field goal), and Notre Dame responded by marching to the nine-yard line before settling for a 28-yard Justin Yoon field goal. 

Derion Kendrick returned Yoon’s subsequent kickoff to the fifteen-yard line, where he fumbled the ball. The original ruling was that Notre Dame recovered the ball, but the booth and the big screen in “Jerry’s World” overturned the call and stated that the fumble was out of bounds before Notre Dame recovered the football. 

The call was made by the thinnest of margins – no one knows if it was indisputably out of bounds or not. It was the first in a series of lucky events for the Tigers. Notre Dame suffered various injuries on defense, 

With star cornerback Julian Love absent, Lawrence threw a 52-yard sideline touchdown to fellow freshman Justyn Ross early in the second quarter. The extra point was blocked, and the score was an easily surmountable 9-3 lead for Clemson. When the Tigers next drive ended in a missed 49-yard field goal by Greg Huegel, questions still lingered. 

Clemson’s defense held on long enough to let the offense gain momentum, or Notre Dame buckled under the weight of injuries. Either way you spin it, Trevor Lawrence took control of the game, erased the questions, and never looked back. 

Notre Dame was exposed in the middle of the field by Lawrence’s second touchdown throw to Ross – a 42-yard throw to put Clemson up 16-3 with less than two minutes in the half.

Despite the star power of Lawrence and the passing attack, the ferocious Tiger defense kept Notre Dame in check throughout the first half. For one last time, they stymied the Irish’s scoring hopes and gave Clemson 48 seconds to score. 

When Renfrow’s 32-yard catch had a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty attached to it, the Tigers took their final time-out. They had nineteen yards and nine seconds to work with. 

Tee Higgins dropped a wide open touchdown pass earlier in the game, but he redeemed himself with an incredible catch of a spinning tipped ball in the back of the end zone. 

What was a 9-3 lead with 4:56 left in the first half was now a 23-3 lead entering halftime. Originally a slugfest, the Cotton Bowl was close to becoming a blowout. 

The third quarter was similar to the first – the main difference was the scoreboard. 

The first four drives of the half were fruitless, as Clemson couldn’t extend their lead and Ian Book couldn’t put the offense on his shoulders and come back from the deficit. 

As Notre Dame neared the red zone, Ian Book’s third-and-22 pass was snatched by Nolan Turner, with the sideline erupting for the lightly recruited safety. Three plays later, Etienne broke Wayne Gallman’s Clemson single-season rushing record with a 62-yard rushing touchdown to give Clemson a 30-3 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.

In an odd and controversial occurance on the last play of the third quarter, Isaiah Simmons’ strip and scoop for a touchdown was ruled ineligible for review because it was labeled forward progress. While the outcome of the game was virtually decided, it was an interesting sequence of events that elicited cheers and boos throughout the stadium.

The fourth quarter was mostly uneventful as the Tigers finished the last fifteen minutes of football to ensure that they would play in the national championship for the third time in four years. 

12/29: Cotton Bowl Halftime Report

Score: Clemson 23 Notre Dame 3

Key Events:

Derion Kendrick’s kickoff return was initially ruled a fumble inside the ten, but it was overturned by a sliver (out of bounds) and thus Notre Dame lost a chance to make a 3-3 tie a 10-3 lead.

The game was a defensive slugfest until Julian Love left the game with an injury – Trevor Lawrence took advantage of his absence and threw a 52-yard touchdown to Justyn Ross, the first of three first-half touchdown throws. Clemson’s last touchdown with two seconds remaining may have been the dagger for the Irish.


Trevor Lawrence has moved within the pocket well, evading defenders multiple times to fire off a pass. Justyn Ross has played exceptionally well as his current favorite target, with five catches, 137 yards, and two scores at the half.

Clemson’s defense held on while Clemson’s offense established a rhythm and built a lead – now the Tigers can play with their ears pinned back and even more aggressively.

Areas for Improvement:

Clemson’s pass protection is not doing Trevor Lawrence any favors. Despite his two scoring touchdowns, he has taken major hits that could impact his play in the second half.

The Tigers have made several poor plays on special teams: a barely overturned fumble on a kickoff return, a missed 49-yard field goal, a blocked extra point, and a punting average of 38 yards per punt make for a discouraging special teams performance.

What to Watch:

Clemson’s last touchdown with two seconds left in the half gave the Tigers a major boost into halftime. If Notre Dame wants to close the 20-point lead, they will need to have Julian Love and others healthy, and gain offensive momentum fast.