Kevin C. Cox
Great, hard fought victory for Clemson on the last second 37 yd FG by Catman. Tajh Boyd played his ass off, and should get the Player of the Game. Nuk Hopkins would be right with him. Clemson's defense played very well, far better than I expected, and about as well as you could even hope. In short, I believe the number of plays we ran against LSU is the reason we eventually won the game, along with their gameplan on offense.
We won in about the only fashion that I could've seen us winning, other than the turnovers we committed. LSU did not play their game on offense. When I look at the film I'm going to count how often LSU ran their best plays. I only recall perhaps one Pitch Isolation, and only a couple of regular Isolations. No Power O at all that I noticed. One or two outside zone tosses, and the rest were just inside zones. When we watched tape on LSU, all we could see was them running on us because we have not done a good job of stopping physical football teams. Jeremy Hill had 12 carries for 125 yards, so WTF LES MILES?
No one should question us when we talk about Les Miles' occasional stupidity. He has 5-deep at RB and killed us with the run, but lets Mettenberger throw? It's playing right out of your own strength to do that. They did the same thing against Alabama in the BCS NCG last year. Mett may have actually won that since Jordan Jefferson sucks worse than he does, but it makes no sense to play away from your strength.
This gameplan led to us forcing a ton of 3 and outs, no clock running off, and we end up with more possessions and more plays. The smart plan is to run the ball and play keep-away, and it's inexplicable as to why LSU didn't really try it.
Clemson's DL had to play a great game and did for most of the contest. I saw LSU's OL struggle this year at times, mostly due to injury, but this group was capable of handling SC's DL. They just didn't play well tonight, and the Right Tackle must've eaten too many Christmas cookies because he forgot to move his feet against Molasses Goodman. I think our DLine had the LSU snap count, and this contributed to our jumps off the ball. They may have adjusted the count, or simply played better, because our pass pressure disappeared for much of the 2nd half.
As has become a pattern, Chad Morris abandoned the run game even though we had some success with it, and got pass happy with Clemson down a score. Once he went back to the running calls that were not zone reads, we marched down the field and got the FG. I'm glad he figured it out in time.
LSU's defensive line killed Clemson's OL all night. We were terrible up front. Rarely did Tajh Boyd have time to look at his 2nd or 3rd choices. He made these plays tonight himself, and even though the LSU DBs were laying killshots all night we kept getting up and making the catches. I think all the credit for the win has to go to him and our NFL WR Nuk Hopkins. Some of those throws and catches were unbelievable. Even the talent LSU has can't stop perfect throws.
So in the end, I think you just have to say that this win was a combination of LSU not playing to their strength, while Clemson did. We ran 100+ plays on the night and it wore them down, even though they were better than us up front.
In a game like this against a Top 10 opponent, you take what you can get, and we'll take this win over #8 LSU.