Last second field goal lifts Clemson over LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl

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Clemson was the butt of the joke after last year’s Orange Bowl.

“West Virginia just scored again.”

That’s what happens when your defense gives up a bowl record 70 points on national television. But in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU nearly one year later, it was Clemson that just scored again. To win. Chandler Catanzaro made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a 25-24 victory over No. 9 LSU.

Happy New Year, indeed.

The game-winning opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without a 10-play, 60-yard drive led by quarterback Tajh Boyd with just 1:39 remaining in the game. Facing a 4th-and-16, Boyd connected, as he had 10 times before, with receiver DeAndre Hopkins for 26 yards and a crucial first down. Clemson was given a little bit of help from a pass interference call on LSU safety Eric Reid in the middle of the drive, but that game-winning drive was all Boyd.

There’s no question that the redshirt junior quarterback was the MVP of the game with 339 yards passing and two touchdowns. Boyd also “rushed” 29 times for 22 yards, but as the numbers suggest, Boyd was getting hit in the backfield more than he was running for positive yards. Really, Boyd was getting crushed all night by LSU’s blitzing. He kept getting up each time.

Clemson was able to run 100 plays (to LSU’s 48)  for 437 yards, 96 of which came without star wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The sophomore suffered a right leg injury on just the second play of the game and did not return. Hopkins picked up the slack, like he’s done all year, and finished the game with 13 receptions for 190 yards and on the receiving end of both of Boyd’s passing touchdowns.

The dramatic win — and this was easily the best bowl game of the postseason so far — gives Clemson 11 on the season. It also gives the ACC a huge statement victory over the SEC. There’s no way to explain around it and this was no fluke. Clemson ran twice as many plays as LSU with Hopkins out and LSU knocking Boyd senseless. Clemson showed guts.

Or, as Les Miles puts it, “chest.”

So the Tigers (of Clemson) can enjoy their offseason and bask in the joy of an outstanding win over a great opponent. After the embarrassment of last year’s Orange Bowl, they’ve earned it.

QB Keller Chryst announces transfer from Stanford

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Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.

Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.

Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.

Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter.  While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State.  Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.

Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello.  In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.

Rich Rodriguez releases statement as additional claim against his alleged behavior is filed

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Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.

He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.

On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.

From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:

The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.

Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.

Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.

LOOK: Jalen Hurts cut his hair

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We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:

1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.

2) His penchant for winning games.

3) His hair.

You can now scratch one of those off the list.

“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”

Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.

Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.

Miami CB Malek Young to undergo career-ending neck surgery

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Miami cornerback Malek Young left in the second quarter of the Hurricanes’ Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin and never returned. That fateful play that knocked him out, we now know, has ended Young’s promising career.

Young suffered a neck injury against the Badgers, and the surgery to fix it will force the end of the rising junior’s career.

“After discussions with my family and the UM medical staff we have determined that my football career should come to an end,” Young said in a statement. “I look forward to getting healthy, working towards my degree and continuing to support my teammates, as I know they will continue to support me.”

These unfortunate situations are always double-edged swords. First, you’re disappointed that a career ends before it has to end. But at the same time you’re thankful that the player gets out of the game before a catastrophic injury can occur, leaving him healthy to live the rest of his non-football life.

“While we’re disappointed that Malek’s football career is over, his health is our top priority,” head coach Mark Richt said. “Malek is a terrific young man, one who I’m confident will go on to accomplish great things. He will remain on full scholarship and we will support him every step of the way.”

Young appeared in all 13 games this season, collecting 43 tackles, three tackles for loss, two picks — the Miami Herald noted Young was the first player to receive Miami’s noted Turnover Chain — and a team-high eight pass breakups.