Revenge and redemption – Part 2

Published 10:11 am Monday, January 9, 2017

Well, here we are again: Clemson-Alabama, Part Deux; and a couple of days from now, it’ll be settled until another 365.

After turning the Fiesta Bowl into what one South Carolina writer called “the Siesta Bowl” (I love it!), the Tigers look like they may be poised to take down the Elephant this year.

Mind you, take away the onside-kick-turned-into-a-touchdown and the fake punt-turned-into-a-touchdown and we might be talking now about a ‘Bama team looking for revenge.

But suffice to say Clemson would be happy to have sleepers like this every time it goes bowling.  But they know it’s not like that every game.

After handing heralded Ohio State coach Urban Meyer the first shutout of his 193-game coaching career and holding an Ohio State team scoreless for the first time in 295 games dating back to 1993, the Tigers get to growl a little bit.  After all, despite being 61-6 at Ohio State; two of Meyer’s losses have come to Clemson and coach Dabo Swinney.

Remember when ACC football was “Florida State and the 8 Dwarfs”.  I think it’s fair to say now that Clemson has arrived.

Move over, FSU, the Tigers are now the perennial power not just in the Atlantic Division, or the ACC, the East Coast, the Southeast, wherever!  I don’t think this is one of those “Top-10 every once in a while”.

“Sooner or later, people are going to realize that Clemson is an elite program,” Swinney said after the Ohio State game.

Clemson is one of only two teams – Alabama being the other – to win at least 10 games each of the last six seasons. Last Saturday night’s game marked the Tigers fourth BCS or Playoff Six bowl game in the last six seasons.

I don’t know if there’ll be a seventh, but as long as “Number-4” holds the reins the Tigers have a shot at a title.

Watson was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. Like many, I rolled my eyes and mumbled, “not again!”; but if there was anyone better equipped to shrug off a miscue and come back strong, it was Watson.

All told, he threw two interceptions Saturday night with me thinking on both that it was all over.  That gave Watson 30 picks over the past two seasons – the most in FBS this season.  But Watson also has 27 victories and just two defeats over the past two years, and there’s not another quarterback in the country who can say that.

Throw in a Clemson defense that held Ohio State to a season-low 215 total yards and nine first downs – not to mention some Tiger players who held a few Buckeye players’ “unmentionables” – and it was easy to see why it turned into such annihilation.

Up next is Clemson v. Alabama II, The Sequel.

“It’s all about finishing, and being that team in the stadium at the end of the game,” Watson said. “We want to have the confetti falling on us.”

But Tampa will provide more than just colorful streamers, a crystal football, and the band playing your alma mater or fight song.

“Honestly, this is the game we wanted,” Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware said in Arizona. “We want our revenge. We want our redemption.”

Ready, boys?  Then, let’s get it on.


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.