MMQB: Tigers Find a Way

You could see it coming. If you've watched Clemson's football team often enough in recent years, you could sense what was about to happen long before halftime; well before Boston College reached into the Tigers' facemasks and extracted every last bit of momentum.

The 17-0 lead? Couldn't have looked any less secure.

And sure enough, just as you feared, it was gone in a flash. Three quick scores, highlighted by a blocked punt and an interception, turned the game around quicker than a Boston Harbor restaurant runs out of clam chowder.

Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Just as you knew it would.

And Clemson still won the game.

Fantasy? No. Creative scorekeeping? Not hardly.

Try good old fashioned guts. Heart. Resilience. Any tired cliche you can muster to describe what happens when a team digs deep - really deep - looks adversity in the eye, and spits in its face.

For the last month it was the Clemson program wiping off someone else's saliva.

No matter where you turned, someone was taking a shot at the Tigers. Someone was kicking sand in their individual and collective faces. Someone stole their best girl.

And the nation laughed as the whole sorry scene played out.

Saturday, for one day anyway, it was the Tigers who had the last laugh. A winner's laugh.

Given every opportunity to take the punishment, roll over and die, Dabo Swinney's group instead found something deep inside itself which had been sorely lacking all season. Call it character. Call in intestinal fortitude. Call it whatever you want.

As long as you call it a win.

Not that this one victory alleviates the agony of the last month. Not that this one victory assures a dramatic run to the postseason. Not that this one victory stands as proof that the Tigers' multiple problems are fixed.

Not in the least. This is still a team with unsightly warts, issues that can't be corrected by a new coach within three weeks time.

But on Saturday, at least for one day, the ugliest of the blemishes was erased. Any questions about this team's heart can be put aside. At least for now.

Instead, the focus can continue on the physical issues at hand:

Better blocking. Better tackling. Throwing the ball to the guys in the same color jersey as yours.

Those are the things Swinney and his coaching staff can control. Or at least they're tangible aspects of the game which can be improved.

Does Saturday's win mean it's time to be overly optimistic? Not in the least.

But it sure helped in dispersing many of the dark clouds which have been hanging over the program this season.

Whether or not the skies continue to be friendly remains to be seen. Top Stories