ATLANTA (AP) — 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. Tajh Boyd completed a pass for 26 yards to DeAndre Hopkins 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.
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.
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.
Clemson trailed 24-22 after Hopkins’ TD with 2:47 remaining. Boyd’s pass for the 2-point conversion was incomplete.
Michael Ford had a 43-yard kickoff return for LSU to open the second half. On first down, Hill broke through the line for a 57-yard touchdown run. His 12th rushing touchdown broke Dalton Hilliard’s LSU record for a freshman set in 1982.
Clemson lost Watkins to a right ankle injury on his early fumble. Watkins, a wide receiver, took the handoff as a running back and fumbled when he was hit by defensive end Barkevious Mingo. Safety Craig Loston recovered at the Clemson 23.
LSU needed only two runs by Hill to move in front. His 17-yard scamper made it 7-0.
Watkins could not put pressure on his right foot as he was helped off the field and then driven to the locker room. Clemson announced X-rays were negative but Watkins would not return. No further details were released.
Clemson already was without backup receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for the game for failing to meet academic requirements.
Clemson’s second costly fumble came midway through the third quarter. Running back Andre Ellington ran for 8 yards but lost the ball when hit by defensive end Sam Montgomery. Reid recovered the fumble at the Clemson 29, setting up Drew Alleman’s 20-yard field goal.View Entire Story
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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