Clemson owes a lot of its success in the win at Syracuse last Friday to the arm of its punter.
The Tigers offense struggled in the Carrier Dome with 17 points and just 319 yards of total offense. But consistency on defense and a big play on special teams helped them improve to 4-2 on the season.
On fourth-and-5 on the Syracuse 41-yard line with 1:10 left in the first half head coach Dabo Swinney made a gutsy call that paid off in the long run.
After lining up on offense to go for it and calling time out Swinney elected to run a fake punt pass that extended a drive and eventually gave Clemson a 14-7 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Kobe Pace.
Punter Will Spiers reflected on his mindset when Swinney made the call.
“We were going for it on fourth down, then we used the time out and decided to send the punt team on the field,” Spiers said. “We were running out there and coach Swinney made the call from the sideline like it was a normal call. He said it, we ran out there like alright lets run it and executed it so it was pretty cool.”
After the snap, Spiers pump-faked and delivered a 50-50 ball on a dime to tight end Davis Allen who made a spectacular catch for a 17-yard gain and a Clemson first down at the Orange’s 34-yard line.
The ball felt good coming out of Spiers’ hand and he credited Allen’s athleticism to make the big play.
“Yeah whenever I released it I felt like there was a chance and Davis made a heck of a catch on it and coming down with it, it was a great catch,” Spiers said.
Spiers played quarterback in high school and has thrown passes for Clemson before when he got reps in the fourth quarter at Georgia Tech last season in the midst of a blowout.
Clemson travels to Pittsburgh on Saturday to face the Pitt Panthers at Heinz Field on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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