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.

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.