(Saturday, November 21st)
Final Score: (18) Clemson 34, Virginia 21
Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Kyle Parker completed 19-of-26 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns, as 18th-ranked Clemson secured the ACC Atlantic Division title after defeating Virginia, 34-21, in a conference matchup.
C.J. Spiller totaled 97 yards from scrimmage, including a rushing score for Clemson (8-3, 6-2 ACC), which clinched the top spot in the Atlantic even before stepping onto the field, as Boston College lost to North Carolina earlier on Saturday. The Tigers, who have won six straight, will play Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game on December 5.
"I'm sure a lot of people still probably thought we would have a letdown," Spiller said. "But the good about this team is that we never worry about what people say about our team. We just worry about what we can control. The main thing for us is to have a good week of preparation and go out and prove everyone wrong."
Jacoby Ford had a huge game, catching six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Andre Ellington carried the ball five times for 29 yards and a TD.
Jameel Sewell completed 11-of-17 throws for 160 yards and a TD, and also ran for a score for Virginia (3-8, 2-5), which has dropped five straight after a three-game winning streak. Vic Hall tossed a touchdown pass and Mikell Simpson added a scoring grab.
"(The Tigers) come at you from all directions," said Virginia head coach Al Groh. "The pressure is on every play. We stood up to it well throughout, but there is just a lot of talent out there, and some of those playmakers made plays that made the difference in the game."
With Clemson in front 24-21 at the half, Ellington stretched the lead to double-digits when he ran for a five-yard score with 7:17 left in the third. The drive covered 66 yards on six plays and took only 2:50 off the game clock. Richard Jackson made it a 34-21 game after he nailed a 24-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the third.
The Tigers then used a smothering defense to keep Virginia off the board in the fourth quarter.
Parker's 16-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen opened the scoring with nearly six minutes left in the first quarter, but Virginia quickly tied the game on its ensuing drive.
Chase Minnifield returned the kickoff 34 yards to the Clemson 45 and the Cavaliers found the end zone soon after, when Sewell ran it in from six-yards out.
Clemson and UV then traded touchdowns. First it was Spiller finishing off a 71-yard, six-play drive with a four-yard TD scamper. Virginia then went into its bag of tricks as Hall hit Sewell for a 30-yard pass, taking it to the CU five-yard line before Hall tossed to a wide-open Joe Torchia in the back of the end zone.
The Tigers then scored 10 consecutive points. Jackson tacked on three with a 21-yard field goal before a Parker-to-Ford 24-yard TD hookup made it a 24-14 game with just under two minutes left in the half.
Virginia struck for a score as time expired, though, marching 80 yards on nine plays. Sewell quickly led the offense inside Clemson territory after Simpson rushed for 22 yards to the Tigers' 47. Then five plays later, Sewell hit Simpson in stride down the far sideline for a 23-yard score. The play was briefly reviewed by officials, but was upheld and Clemson was ahead by three at the intermission.
Clemson will play its regular-season finale next Saturday at South Carolina, while Virginia hosts Virginia Tech...Clemson owns a commanding 37-8-1 series advantage over Virginia, which includes a 13-3 victory over the Cavaliers last season.
11/22 02:19:47 ET