Dabo Swinney is still not mincing words when it comes to the Tigers one-sided loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
The Buckeyes dominated Clemson 49-28 in the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff, avenging their 29-23 loss to the Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl one year earlier.
One month after the Sugar Bowl, Swinney reflected back on the loss in an appearance on the Packer and Durham Show on Wednesday morning. The Clemson head coach flat-out said his team just did not play well enough to win.
“I learned that we got our butts kicked,” Swinney said. “We didn’t play well. They played great. We just didn’t do the little things to win football games.”
Swinney thinks the Tigers played well enough on the offensive side of the ball to win but acknowledged that his defense giving up five consecutive touchdowns in the first half was just to much to overcome. However, he was still proud of the teams overall effort.
“We probably played well enough to win on offense with a normal defensive game, but they had five straight touchdowns,” Swinney said. “What I love about our team, those guys never quit. They always compete until the last play. Those are tough games. You get into the final four, if you don’t win it all, it’s a very disappointing thing. Especially if you feel like you didn’t play well enough in certain areas where you could have.”
Swinney also pointed out that while he was certainly disappointed with the Tigers Sugar Bowl performance, it is still one game. When you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, there is a lot to like about where his program is currently and where it is headed.
“The good news is, in the last six years, Alabama has eight wins on that stage and we have six,” Swinney said. “I think the next closest is three. We’ve been pretty good on the biggest stage but it’s still disappointing.”
“Perspective is important, I like how our guys competed. I like how they responded in the locker room and since we got back, the ownership everyone took. It was a bad night but it was a great season. We’ve been pretty consistent, despite how it ended, but we learn from it, move on, flush it, start over and get ready to charge up the mountain next year.”