Miami, Fl.: The story from Miami seemed clear after three quarters, then was flipped on its head during the fourth quarter and overtime periods. The Tigers had played sloppy football, committed costly turnovers (again), but had found a way to scratch and claw their way to a 17-7 lead. And then the wheels fell off.
The Hurricanes outgained the Tigers 115-5 in the 4th, possessed the ball for 13:40 out of a possible 15 minutes, and dominated the line of scrimmage. Clemson’s defense was gassed, the offense couldn’t move the ball, and the small home crowd (48,562) suddenly roared like it was a packed house. Miami tied the game behind a balanced offensive attack, converted six of seven third downs, and sent the game to overtime tied at 17.
Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime session, but Miami punched it in for six in the second period, taking advantage of a second conversion opportunity following a Clemson penalty to take a 28-20 lead. On the ensuing possession, Clemson rode Will Shipley to the Miami two-yard line to set up first and goal. But Shipley got stuffed and Klubnik missed on a pass to Tyler Brown before Shipley was stuffed again on third down. On fourth down, Klubnik elected to fake the handoff and scramble to his left where he was tackled for an eight-yard loss to end the game.
In his postgame comments, Dabo Swinney said the final play was supposed to be a handoff, not an RPO (run-pass option), “It was a handoff, 100 percent. And we didn’t hand it off. (He) just pulled it. I got no answer. Just trying to do too much.”
Swinney also said this season feels like 2010 all over again, with a talented team finding new ways to lose and repeating the same mistakes over and over. Klubnik owned up to the mistake in the postgame and took full responsibility for changing the play at the line, adding that he must be better. Offensive coordinator Garrett Riley was not made available to the media following the game.
Clemson falls to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. The Tigers will look to rebound next week in Raleigh against NC State (4-3 overall, 1-2 in the ACC). Kickoff is still TBD.