ATLANTA (AP) — Chandler Catanzaro was not about to let a blocked extra point earlier in the game get in the way of his last-second, game-winning field goal.
Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 victory over No. 9 Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.
"I was ready when the opportunity came to me," Catanzaro said. "It was next-kick mentality. I was so thankful for the opportunity."
Catanzaro, a former walk-on from Greenville, S.C., made 16 of 17 field goals in the regular season.
"I didn't have any doubt," Swinney said of the junior kicker. "He's just a clutch player all the way."
The kick gave Clemson its first 11-win season since its 1981 national championship team.
And Tigers coach Dabo Swinney thinks this is only the beginning.
Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Tajh Boyd passed to DeAndre Hopkins for 26 yards on a fourth-and-16 play during the decisive 10-play drive.
Clemson reached 11 wins for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 12-0 1981 team.
"You can't win 12 until you win 11," Swinney said. "You can't win a national championship until you learn how to win games like this.
"This was a landmark win."
Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He set career highs for attempts and completions while winning the game MVP award.
"Tajh Boyd was phenomenal," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I did not expect the heroic, if you will, efforts that he had."
Hopkins had 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns. After the big fourth-down catch, he added receptions for 7 and 13 yards in the final drive. LSU safety Greg Reid was flagged for pass interference while defending Hopkins.
Jeremy Hill ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns for LSU (10-3), which carried a 24-13 lead into the final quarter.
After Hopkins' second TD catch, LSU got the ball with 2:43 remaining and threw three straight passes. Only one was complete in the three-and-out series that took only about 1 minute off the clock, leaving Clemson with enough time for its winning drive against LSU's exhausted defense.
Hill did not have a carry in the fourth quarter.
"We had to throw the football," Miles said. "We were not running the football. They were in a position where they outnumbered us in the run."
LSU's three passes allowed Swinney to save his timeouts.
"I had three timeouts," Swinney said. "If he runs it three times, I can call timeout, timeout, timeout.
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