A long run of ACC frustration ended for Clemson Saturday afternoon before the Tigers kicked off their game with Virginia. When North Carolina beat Boston College, that made the Tigers ACC Atlantic Division champions, their first ACC title of any kind since 1991. Then, the Tigers went out and made it a happy Senior Day for CJ Spiller, Jacoby Ford, Thomas Austin, Michael Palmer, Ricky Sapp and the others who would be playing their last game at Death Valley by rolling over Virginia 34-21.
AUDIO: Dabo Swinney post game news conference (25:32)
The Cavaliers battled the Tigers nearly even in the first half trailing just 24-21 at the break thanks to a 23 yard touchdown pass from Jameel Sewell to Mikell Simpson on the last play of the half. But the Clemson defense rose to the occassion in the second half limiting the Cavaliers to just 40 yards over the final 30 minutes. The Tigers sacked Virginia quarterbacks seven times in the second half.
Virginia finished with just 273 total yards while Clemson had 366. While CJ Spiller was held in check (58 yards rushing, 39 yards receiving, 1 touchdown), receiver Jacoby Ford went basically unchecked by the Cavalier defense. Ford had 6 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, and he finished the day with 211 all purpose yards.
AUDIO: Jacoby Ford (2:04)
Spiller set another ACC record, this one for all purpose yards in a season, with 114 against the Cavaliers. His total now stands at 2066 yards. He’s also the only player in the country to score at least one touchdown in every game. Spiller now has 6974 all purpose yards for his career and needs just 28 to become the fifth player in FBS history to reach 7000 yards.
AUDIO: CJ Spiller (2:36)
Quarterback Kyle Parker continued to show his improvement. He was 19-26 for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. Parker has thrown for at least 230 yards in four games this season. During the Tigers current six game winning streak, Parker has thrown 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
AUDIO: Kyle Parker (3:20)
Clemson’s tight ends have 46 receptions this season after getting four against Virginia. That ties the school single season record held by the 1970 team. And the tight ends have seven touchdown catches, and that ties the single season record set in 1974.
Senior Kavell Connor, a Virginia native, had a career high 15 tackles to lead the defense. Rennie Moore recorded two of the seven sacks. Brandon Maye also had a big game with 12 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. The Tigers allowed the Cavaliers across midfield just once in the second half, and that drive ended on downs at the Clemson 34.
AUDIO: Brandon Maye (2:15)
The Tigers are now 8-3 overall and they finish 6-2 for the ACC campaign. They will play at USC next Saturday with a 12:00 kickoff on ESPN. The following Saturday the Tigers will face Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game in Tampa at 8:00 on ESPN. That will be a rematch of the second game of the season, a 30-27 Tech win in Atlanta.