Over a year after missing a game-tying overtime field goal at Auburn, he finally knows what it's like to be the hero. Catanzaro's 43-yard game winner on Saturday sealed Clemson's push for a second ACC Atlantic Division title in three years.
"It's such a blessing to be right here now with a game winner as time expired to win the division," he said.
Catanzaro went from goat to hero in a matter of moments during the 31-28 win over Wake Forest.
With the scored tied at 28, the redshirt sophomore kicker from Greenville missed a go-ahead 30-yard kick with 1:18 left to play.
"It was off my toe, bad contact," Catanzaro said. "I knew it right off the foot."
The Tigers' defense pushed the Demon Deacons off the field in less than a minute.
"Off the foot, off the mind -- clear the mind. So I just knew I had to get that out of my mind," Catanzaro said. "I knew I had to prepare for the next opportunity."
In high school, he banged in a 51-yarder to send Christ Church into overtime against Heathwood Hall. But Catanzaro had never kicked a game winner as time ticked off the clock.
Before he could atone for the 30-yard miss, Wake Forest tried to ice him by calling back-to-back timeouts.
"I had a timeout left and I was initially going to move the ball to the middle of the field and call a timeout, but [Catanzaro] said he wanted it right there," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "I said, 'Alright, we'll leave it right here.'
"I told him, they gave me a lot of time to talk him -- two timeouts. I just told him, 'Cat, look, we're going to win this thing in overtime if you miss this kick. I'm still going to love you if you make it or miss it. You do have permission to go ahead and knock this thing through right now.'"
The kick was true.
Rennie Moore left Corey Crawford in charge of telling him what happened.
"[Crawford] jumped and I didn't know what to think when he jumped like that," Moore said. "I was about to fall to the ground. I was kind of pissed, because I wanted to punch that, go ahead and get that [win]. [Crawford] started cheering, yelling. I knew it was all good."
For Catanzaro, it couldn't be much sweater.
"It's a kicker's dream," he said. "It's pretty cool."
Redemption for Catanzaro
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