Tigers brought their own guts, but it was not enough

Tigers brought their own guts, but it was not enough


Tigers brought their own guts, but it was not enough


In 2015, Ben Boulware and Carlos Watkins made a stop at the goal line on a two-point play with seven seconds remaining to preserve a 24-22 victory over then No. 6 Notre Dame.

After the win, which was accomplished in a driving rainstorm, head coach Dabo Swinney first used the acronym B.Y.O.G., which means “Bring Your Own Guts.”

In Saturday’s gut-wrenching, 47-40, double overtime loss to No. 4 Notre Dame, the top-ranked Tigers definitely brought their own guts. Despite not having their starting quarterback, three starters on defense, while suffering several more injuries during the course of the four-hour game, plus giving up another defensive touchdown for a third straight week, they still had a seven-point lead with 27 seconds to play in the game.

“It was a tough, tough game. But I will tell you this, these guys never quit,” Swinney said. “They were amazing. What an amazing characteristic. Again, everybody is sad, and they are all hurting, but what I saw tonight, is again, special.

“Again, we made all kinds of mistakes and all kinds of things we have to do better as coaches, but what I saw tonight was really special. We are not an easy out.”

No matter what happened, Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC) would not go away. The Tigers gave up a 65-yard touchdown run on what was officially the first play from scrimmage. Twice, they fell behind by two scores, including 23-10 with 2:41 to play in the first half, thanks to back-to-back turnovers just before halftime.

Yet with all the injuries and a true freshman named D.J. Uiagalelei playing quarterback, the Tigers rallied to outscore Notre Dame 23-3 over the next 32 minutes and 19 seconds. When Travis Etienne barreled in from three yards out with 3:33 to play, Clemson had a 33-26 lead.

The Irish (7-0, 6-0 ACC) eventually forced overtime and then outlasted the Tigers in what looked like a heavyweight bout for the ages, winning the game on a three-yard Kyren Williams touchdown in the second overtime.

“Notre Dame, man, you just tip your hat to them. They dadgum earned it,” Swinney said. “We just congratulate them. You know, if we can handle our business, maybe we will get a chance to play again. That was an unbelievable college football game, and we came out on the short side of it.

“I love my guys. I am so appreciative of their effort and their heart and their fight. I wish I could have helped them a little bit more, but I didn’t get it done tonight.”

But Swinney and his team sure did bring their own guts.

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