No. 19 Clemson Clinches 11th Consecutive 10-Win Season, Defeats Iowa State, 20-13
Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers were cheesing from ear to ear after their 20-13 victory against Iowa State Wednesday night at the Cheez-It Bowl.
The Tigers got their coveted 10-win season — and Swinney got a Cheez-It bath — because of two key defensive plays by senior Mario Goodrich.
The first came in the third quarter of a tight game, as Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy’s pass was batted into the air by Clemson defensive end Justin Mascoll.
The ball seemed ready to fall onto the turf, but Purdy unexpectedly ran forward and tried to swat the ball himself.
But instead, Purdy knocked the ball right into the hands of Goodrich, who sprinted 15 yards for a touchdown to give Clemson a 20-3 lead. The officials called Purdy for a penalty for illegally hitting the ball, but the Tigers declined, and accepted the defensive touchdown.
Goodrich said he didn’t know what to expect during the play.
“I thought he was going to catch it or something,” the senior said after the game. “I don’t know what he was thinking, honestly, but once he did, I was happy.”
The Cyclones kept fighting, adding a touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter. They had a chance to tie the game late after getting the ball with just under two minutes left.
Unfortunately for Purdy, Goodrich struck again on a game-turning 4th-down. The cornerback made an amazing play to force a fumble on Purdy’s rush, knocking the ball back behind the first-down line in the process.
Even though Purdy recovered the ball himself, he couldn’t reclaim the first-down marker. He bent over at the waist in frustration when he realized his first down had turned into a turnover on downs.
That gave the Tigers the 20-13 win, and it set off jubilation on the Clemson sideline. Not only was Swinney doused with Cheez-Its, but players grabbed Cheez-It foam hats to parade around the field.
Wednesday night’s victory was Swinney’s 150th win.
“I’ve got 150 wins because of a bunch of great players, a bunch of great coaches, a bunch of great people and the good Lord,” the coach said.
Swinney described Goodrich as the perfect example of what happens when someone grows through adversity.
“College football should be about developing men. That’s what I’m passionate about,” Swinney said. “This is what coaching is all about to me.”
Goodrich won MVP honors. His likely next step is the NFL.
“It means a lot for everyone on this team,” he said. “We started out 2-2 and to rally back to get 10 wins is amazing. It’s amazing to finish my last game with these guys.”
The Tigers’ celebration was heard from beyond the locker room. There was everything from rap to country music blaring into the corridors of Camping World Stadium. When asked who had the aux cord, Goodrich said it was the head coach.
Now the only question remains: what’s on the coach’s playlist for next season?