On October 1, 2016 the Clemson Tigers would be introduced to the Lamar Jackson hype train.
The question was simple. Is he all that good? After halftime, the 83,000 fans in attendance would get the answer to that question. Yes, the hype surrounding this dynamo was real.
The No. 5 Tigers grabbed an 18-point halftime lead against Jackson’s No. 3 Cardinals, but then they lost all of that and went down eight points in the fourth quarter. When it was Clemson’s turn for a counterpunch, the Tigers delivered.
It was a face off between two stellar quarterback’s, veteran Deshaun Watson and the new sensation, Lamar Jackson. It was a turnover riddled game, probably the most I’ve ever personally witnessed, but that only added to the drama of that night. It was indeed, drama personified.
Despite the sloppiness of the game, it was truly one for the ages, perhaps one of the best ACC games of the season, maybe the decade. Maybe one of the best ever in Death Valley.
As mentioned, Lamar Jackson entered the Valley that night as a college football phenom and he certainly lived up to the hype that swirled around him. Deshaun Watson had met his match that night but the veteran, cool under pressure, kept pushing and Jackson just kept running.
The last :40 seconds of the game would prove the difference that night between victory and defeat. The Cardinals were facing fourth and twelve and in the red zone. Jackson dropped back and found receiver, wide receiver James Quick. The wideout was run out of bounds a yard shy of the needed twelve yards. Like that, the game was over, the Tigers were victorious. The rest is history.
Even though Tiger fans were delighted and relieved to get the win, it was a shame either team had to lose. It was a hard fought battle and in the end, it was Dabo Swinney’s Tigers that were dancing in the locker room that night. Funny, it seems they danced all season long. Great game, great teams, great memories.
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.