Time to heal

CLEMSON - Battered and bruised after a rigorous 13-game schedule, several key components to the Clemson offense welcome the month layoff between games.

Phillip Price has battled with a knee injury since the Wake Forest game.

Among other issues, Andre Ellington has had a hamstring injury for most of the season.

For Sammy Watkins, it's been a shoulder.

And for redshirt junior tight end Dwayne Allen's dealt with a toe.

"It's much needed," Allen said of the time off before the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl date with West Virginia.

"We need it just to refresh and put our best foot forward in the Orange Bowl."

The redshirt junior tight end, who's a finalist for the Mackey Award, continues to deal with a turf toe injury that's lingered for the last half of the season.

"It's almost there. It's still weak. It doesn't hurt as much now," Allen said.

But it's not like the injury has forced him to miss any time this season. He's been really productive, despite it. Through 13 games, Allen has 48 catches for 577 yards and eight touchdowns.

He had two for 32 yards in the ACC Championship win over Virginia Tech. Both went for touchdowns.

The first score, a 24-yard strike from Tajh Boyd with 11:17 left in the first quarter, put Clemson up 7-0.

"Coach just said we need somebody to make a spark," Allen said. "Senior, Marquan [Jones] came up to me and was like, 'Dwayne, I've got a feeling you're going to make that spark.' Whenever the play was called, I was just like, I'm going to the end zone...that was the spark we needed."

It was that play that helped spark the Tigers' dominant performance against the Hokies.

And it was that play that helped kick-start the game that brought Clemson its first ACC Championship since 1991.

"I can't even explain how it feels. I can't put the words together to describe the feeling I have," Allen said. "The appreciation, the feeling I have for Clemson -- for the fans to finally get back to where they want us to be, to where we want us to be."

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