Clemson A Confident Bunch After Comeback Win In Fiesta Bowl
About midway through the first half of the Fiesta Bowl, nothing seemed to be going right for the Clemson football team. The Tigers were facing a 16-0 deficit, could not run the ball, and had lost their top wideout to injury early in the first quarter.
For at least a few minutes, it looked like the fact that Clemson hadn't played a team anywhere close to the level of an Ohio State during the regular season was, indeed, having a negative impact. After the slow start, however, the team regained its footing and started to make some plays.
After finally getting on the board, thanks to a tough Travis Etienne run, you could see the confidence level start to rise. As the third quarter was winding down, this team had found its swagger, and they went on to down the Buckeyes 29-23.
Overcoming a 16 point deficit against one of the best teams in the country can work wonders for the confidence level of a team. As the Tigers get set to take on LSU on Monday night in the national championship game in New Orleans, confident is exactly what Dabo Swinney says they are feeling.
"Well, I think it gives us a lot of confidence," Dabo Swinney said. "We didn't go into the game spotting them 16. But to be able to go on a 29-7 run in the biggest of stages against an elite football team, that was a great team. I mean, really, really good, by far the best Ohio State team we've played."
After having been challenged just once all season, Swinney finally got to see how his team would respond when nothing was going their way. The head coach loved what he saw.
"You're in a playoff game and you're down 16-0, and the walls can cave in on you," Swinney said. "And it's a road game, but to see the grit and the heart and the fight and the belief, the will to win, the no-quit attitude and spirit of our team it special, and I think certainly it gives them great confidence going into a game like this."
The way the Fiesta Bowl played out served as a great learning experience for this team. With an equally daunting challenge awaiting them in the national title game, it could be an experience they can use to their advantage if they find themselves once again faced with some adversity against LSU.
"In games like this, there's going to be adversity," Swinney said. "There just is. And there's going to be some success, and I think you've got to be able to handle both of those because it's a four-quarter game. They don't call the game after the first quarter. You've got to play all the way through, and our guys have that mindset."