Clemson Ends on a High Note

By MikeBullock  |   Tuesday, December 29, 2009  |  Comments( 0 )

Clemson Tigers
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It was all over but the celebration as the Clemson Tigers brought a magnificent end to a magical season in Nashville Sunday night. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s team defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 21-13, and landed star tailback C.J. Spiller the game’s MVP honors in his final collegiate game.

Spiller, who ran for 67 yards, racked up 58 more in the passing game and another 47 on returns, walked off the field in near disbelief at what the team had accomplished.

“I am kind of speechless right now,” Spiller told reporters. “I am very happy that we won the game. I haven’t won a bowl game since I have been here. I just wanted to see what it felt like in the locker room after you win a championship. That is really what it was because this was a championship. It’s a great feeling.”

While the gridiron glory of the Music City win will shine on in Spiller’s heart, the victory was bittersweet for him, knowing it was his last game as a Tiger. However, the NFL draft is only four months away and Spiller will most certainly land on an NFL team in the first round.

While Spiller scored yet again, adding to his streak of a touchdown or more in every game this season, he wasn’t the only Tiger to bring the rush right at the Wildcats. Sophomore running back Jamie Harper pounded the ball nine times for 79 yards, a whopping 8.7 yards per carry and a score. Both Harper and Spiller acknowledged the great performance of their offensive line after the game, as did Coach Swinney.

“I give a lot of credit to our offensive line,” said Swinney. “All three of our backs ran very well and Jamie Harper was a huge spark for us tonight with almost 10 yards a carry. Obviously, C.J. was always special and had another big night running the football. Andre Ellington averaged five yards a carry on his opportunities. Whenever you have the offensive line come to you, you know you have to gear it up, run physical and run hard. You know those guys were going to do their job up front.”

Overall, Clemson certainly struck a high note in the Music City Bowl and coach Swinney has begun to lay the ground work for 2010. When you land a bowl trophy in your first full season as head coach, the expectation for next year will certainly be high. However, Swinney was focused on the moment after the game.

"It's a great win," Swinney said. "This is a great way to finish a very good year. I couldn't be more proud of these guys, especially the way we won the game. We felt we could rush the ball more than those guys."

As the dust settles, the seniors move on and the applause fades, you can rest assured Swinney has already taken his eyes off the Music City Bowl, and placed them on this team’s future, which looks to be very bright indeed.
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