On Saturday, Pittsburgh upset No. 2 Clemson 43-42 to ruin the Tigers’ perfect season. The loss was the first defeat Clemson has had at home since 2013, and the first regular season loss since the Tigers lost at Georgia Tech in November of 2014.
Here is what we heard:
Head coach Dabo Swinney said he is confident in his team’s ability to respond well to adversity, and all of Clemson’s goals are still ahead of them.
“It is either a stumbling block or a stepping stone, and I know who this team is. I don’t need anybody to tell me who they are. I know the heart of this team. I know exactly who they are, and I know how they will respond. You have heard me say this many times, we are built for moments like this when we have had some big wins and some big moments, well guess what? We are built for these moments too. I don’t have any doubt that this team will respond,” Swinney said. “Every goal that we have is still right there in front of us. Every single goal.”
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 52 of 70 passes for 580 yards and three touchdowns to help the Tigers rack up 630 total yards. However, his three interceptions were costly.
“It’s all good, but at the end of the day my main focus is trying to get the W. I just wanted to win,” Watson said. “I could have went 0-for-30 with zero passing yards and if we get the W, that’s all that matters. We made a lot of plays and did a lot of great things, but at the end of the day, we made a couple of mistakes that kind of kept them in the game. Give credit to Pittsburgh. They came down here and earned it after a tough loss last week down at Miami. They came down here and did not shy away from the challenge. You have to give them credit. They came in and out played us and made more plays at the end of the game.”
Offensive lineman Jay Guillermo also credited Pittsburgh for playing a clean game. The Panthers won the turnover battle 3-1 and had six less penalties than Clemson.
“They are just a good football team that executed on our mistakes and made less mistakes than we did. That is all it is to it. Our plan to win is to have less mistakes and make less penalties, and we did not do that. Once again, hats off to them. They made us make mistakes,” Guillermo said.
Defensive end Clelin Ferrell said the loss was a wake up call, and that the Tigers will learn from it to move forward.
“It was definitely a wake up call. We have not felt like this in a long time. It’s just a big wake up call for us. I would say just knowing that you have to respect the game, we didn’t respect the game as much as we should have,” he said.