Parker shows swagger in big win

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Just when you thought the Tigers were out of big plays, Kyle Parker saves the day.

Kyle Parker expects the absolute worst each time he steps onto the football field.

With momentum swinging Clemson's way after Jacory Harris fumbled in the third quarter, Parker fumbled on the ensuing series as he tried to elude a sack and throw the ball away. The ball was picked up by Marcus Robinson and returned 53 yards for a touchdown, giving Miami a 24-21 lead.

It was the first of two Parker mistakes that could have potentially cost Clemson the game. Down 34-31 with 5:37 to play, Parker was intercepted in the end zone by Randy Phillips on third and goal.

"What better way to make up for it and throwing the game winning touchdown beat the number eight team in the country," Spiller said. "He's been playing great all year long. Tonight, Kyle just moved into C.J. Spiller's top, number one quarterback in the country."

Parker has no problem admitting the fumble was one that shouldn't have happened, since he was trying to throw the ball out of bounds.

Between that and the interception, he said there's only one thing he can do to follow those plays.

"In the end, you just have to keep on playing and forget about it--that's the biggest thing. You have to realize there's still time in the game."

Despite the two mistakes, he bounced back and hit Jacoby Ford for the game-winning 26-yard touchdown, giving Clemson a 40-37 lead over Miami at Land Shark Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier and the other members of the Clemson coaching staff in the booth couldn't contain themselves.

"You would have thought it was ‘Animal House'. I've never seen guys hug each other like that before, that's for sure," he said.

Coach Dabo Swinney said Parker showed a lot of guts to step up and make the third down throw to Ford.

"He comes right back, shakes it off--no big deal and comes back to make the game winning throw right into the belly button of a 5-9 wide out and win the game," Swinney said. "Great play by Kyle Parker."

Napier called Parker a "true competitor."

"He's been there before. He's maturing. He's been up there, struck out five times and then walked up there to hit a homerun to win the game," Napier said.

Ford said Parker has a lot of poise.

"He plays the game it's supposed to be played," Ford said. "A few mistakes here and there, but other than that, I think he played a great game."

Parker completed 25-of-37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Including the one to Ford, Parker hit Michael Palmer for a 15-yard score and connect on a 56-yard strike to Spiller.

Statistics aside, Parker is happiest about the win.

"It's probably the best win that I've been a part of since I've been here," he said. "Coming on the road at Miami…it really means a lot. It really means a lot for our program to get the win.

During Clemson's timeout before the interception, Swinney reminded Parker they needed the points to tie, especially if the play wasn't open.

"I wish he had thrown that ball away…there's a couple of plays in the game where he's got to eat the ball," Swinney said, smiling from ear to ear.

"Those are some things that are a lot more fun coaching him on with a win than a loss."


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