Third-ranked Clemson hung on for a win over 18th-ranked Virginia Tech in Orlando at the ACC Championship on Saturday night. A handful of Tigers garnered honors for their individual contributions to the victory.
In a game in which Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges got the pregame publicity as a top tight end, it was Leggett that ended up making a bigger impact on the outcome. The senior caught four passes for 49 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also had a critical rub-block to pave the way for Wayne Gallman’s third-quarter touchdown run. Meanwhile, Hodges managed only one catch for 42 yards. It was a fine way for Leggett to end his career playing Atlantic Coast Conference football.
Saturday wasn’t a totally positive day at the stadium for Tankersley. There were times where he seemed lost in coverage. He made some technical miscues that allowed a couple of plays to be made. His attempt (or lack thereof) to tackle Travon McMillian basically propelled him into the end zone. However, Tankersley also made two of the biggest plays of the game. His interception of a jump-ball intended for Hodges on Clemson’s sideline led directly to a Tiger touchdown, and his diving catch on a fourth-down pass from Jerod Evans sealed Clemson’s victory.
Ferrell was money all night long as an edge rusher against the Hokies. The redshirt freshman terrorized Evans, sacking him once and picking up an additional tackle for loss. Ferrell had six tackles, but his impact went far beyond that number. His ability to rush the passer forced Evans up into the pocket, where players like Dexter Lawrence and Carlos Watkins were waiting to pounce. Ferrell facilitated a number of big plays for the Tiger defense simply by doing his job with excellence.
Renfrow is the quiet assassin in Clemson’s slew of skill players. He can be quiet for an entire game, but in a moment, he can make his presence felt. The former walk-on only had two catches in Saturday’s game, but they were both huge—and they both came within a few minutes of each other. The first one was a sprawling grab on 2nd-and-19 that went for 31 yards and moved the chains after a penalty moved Clemson backwards. Then, later on that drive, Renfrow hauled in a swing pass and did the rest. The result was a 15-yard touchdown that closed the book on Clemson’s scoring for the day.
Williams’ day went a little bit like Tankersley’s. There were definitely some weak moments for him, like when Cam Phillips beat him out of the slot for a touchdown. However, Williams was put in a tough spot after Dorian O’Daniel was ejected for targeting. Faced with an increased workload, Williams’ stat line suggests he was adequate to the task: nine tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass breakup. He finished as the third-most productive tackler on the team behind Ben Boulware and Kendall Joseph, not a bad place to be on a night like Saturday.