2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl
The 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game held on December 31, 2012, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the United States. The 45th edition of the Chick-fil-A Bowl began at 7:30 p.m. EST and aired on ESPN. It featured the Clemson Tigers from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against the LSU Tigers from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and was the final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season for both teams. Both Tigers accepted an invitation to the game after achieving a 10–2 regular season record.
|2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl|
|Date||December 31, 2012|
|Favorite||LSU by 4|
|Referee||David Witvoet (Big Ten)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and Jeannine Edwards|
This was not the first time the two Tigers have met in the Chick-fil-A Bowl; the 1996 game also pitted them against each other, with LSU topping Clemson by a score of 10–7. Their first meeting was the 1958 Sugar Bowl, a national championship, that LSU won in a 7-0 shutout.
Clemson won the game in a 25-24 upset. Despite out-gaining LSU by 445-219 in total yards, Clemson trailed for much of the game. Clemson was able to win after placekicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards, was named the game's most valuable player.
The 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl marked the third meeting between Clemson and LSU, with LSU holding a 2-0 advantage coming into the game. The previous meeting was a 10-7 victory for LSU in the 1996 Chick-fil-A bowl.
Coming off an ACC Championship, the Tigers kept their success going, actually finishing with a better record (both overall and in conference play) than their previous season, with their 7–1 conference record leading to an Atlantic Division Co-Championship. However, they would lose the tiebreaker to the other co-champion, the Florida State Seminoles, keeping the Tigers out of the 2012 ACC Championship Game.
Clemson entered the game averaging 42.3 points per game and 518.3 yards of total offense per game. Leading Clemson's offense was quarterback Tajh Boyd, who came into the game with 3,550 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes. The offense was also led by running back Andre Ellington and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Clemson was less impressive on the defense, however, allowing more than 27 points in half of its games.
This was Clemson's eighth Chick-fil-A Bowl; they had previously appeared in the 2007 game against Auburn, where they lost the game, 20–23. Clemson held a 2–5 record in the bowl game coming into the game.
Coming off an SEC Championship and a heartbreaking shutout loss in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers were early favorites to return to the national title game. However, despite a stellar 6–2 record in conference play, the Tigers finished one game behind the same Alabama Crimson Tide which had defeated them for the national title the previous January, being denied even a secondary BCS bowl game because of the two-team limit as well as the Florida Gators occupying that second spot.
LSU entered the game with a defense that allowed only 16.9 points per game and 297.8 total yards per game. Leading LSU's defense was led by linebacker Kevin Minter, who led LSU's defense with 111 tackles.
This was LSU's sixth Chick-fil-A Bowl; they had previously appeared in the 2008 game against Georgia Tech, where they won the game 38-3. LSU held a 5-0 record in the bowl game coming into the game.
Clemson fumbled on the second play of the game after LSU's Barkevious Mingo forced Clemson's Sammy Watkins to fumble. Watkins suffered a right ankle injury on the fumble and sat out the rest of the game. Taking advantage of the fumble, LSU jumped to a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown run from Jeremy Hill. Clemson was able to respond on its next drive, tying the game 7-7 on an 11-yard touchdown run from Tajh Boyd. The rest of the first quarter remained scoreless as the two teams exchanged punts.
LSU opened the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Mettenberger to Spencer Ware to go up 14-7. Clemson was able to respond with an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tajh Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins. The point after attempt was blocked, however, making the score 14-13. The score remained 14-13 in LSU's favor going into halftime.
Clemson was held scoreless in the third quarter as LSU was able to further extend their lead. LSU opened the third quarter with a 57-yard touchdown run from Jeremy Hill to make the score 21-13. After forcing Clemson's Andre Ellington to fumble, LSU was able to extend their lead 24-13 on a 20-yard field goal from Drew Alleman.
Clemson's defense dominated the fourth quarter, as Clemson held LSU to only 1 yard of offense. Clemson was able to cut into LSU's lead early in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro to make the score 24-16. After forcing LSU to punt, Clemson was able to once again cut into LSU's lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins. The subsequent two-point conversion was unsuccessful, however, making the score 24-22 with 2:47 left in regulation. On LSU's next possession, LSU was unable to run out the clock or force Clemson to use any timeouts, thanks to a couple of incomplete passes from Zach Mettenberger. LSU punted the ball away, giving Clemson the ball back with only 1:39 left in regulation at Clemson's own 20-yard line.
Clemson's drive started poorly, as Tajh Boyd failed to complete his first two passes of the drive. On the third play of the drive, Tajh Boyd was sacked by Sam Montgomery. Facing a 4th and 16 at their own 14-yard line, Clemson was able to keep the drive alive on a 26-yard pass from Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins. Tajh Boyd was then able to lead Clemson to LSU's 20-yard line to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt for Chandler Catanzaro. Catanzaro was able kick the field goal as time expired, giving Clemson a 25-24 victory over LSU.
With the victory, Clemson recorded its first 11 win season since its 1981 season. In addition, Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins set an ACC record for most consecutive game with a touchdown catch, at 10. The 2012 Chick-fil-A bowl also marked LSU's first loss to an ACC team since 1955. Hopkins also set Chick-Fil-A/Peach Bowl records for receptions and receiving yards (13 receptions, 191 yards). Clemson also set Bowl records for most total first downs by one team (32), offensive plays by one team (100), and held LSU to a Bowl record low for offensive plays by a team (48).
|Total offense, plays-yards||48-219||100-445|
|Passing yards (net)||120||346|
|Time of Possession||23:39||36:21|
|Penalties – yards||7-66||6-47|
|Punts – Average yards||9-44.6||6-43.3|
For his game-winning performance, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was named the game's Most Valuable Player. He completed 36 of his 50 passes for 346 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both of Boyd's touchdown passes went to DeAndre Hopkins, who had 191 receiving yards in the game. Boyd also led his team in rushing attempts at 29.
Clemson outgained LSU 445-219 in total yards and Clemson's defense was able to limit LSU to 9 first downs. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sacked 6 times and was held to only 120 passing yards.
LSU's leading rusher was Jeremy Hill, who rushed for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries. LSU's no. 2 rusher was Spencer Ware, who rushed for 9 yards on 3 carries. Clemson's leading rusher was Andre Ellington, who accumulated 50 yards on 11 carries. Clemson's no. 2 rusher was Roderick McDowell, who rushed for 26 yards on 7 carries.
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- Becker, Matt. LSU-Clemson Preview. Yahoo! Sports. 26 December 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Chick-fil-A Bowl Matches #14 Clemson and #8 LSU in Prime Time on New Year’s Eve. cfabowl.com. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- LSU Tigers vs. Clemson Tigers play-by-play. ESPN. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
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- "Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Media Guide" (PDF). chick-fil-apeachbowl.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.