Clemson University

Clemson-Miami: Thumbs up, thumbs down

THUMBS UP

Clemson's backbone

The Tigers had every reason to buckle in the fourth quarter when it appeared another crushing collapse was imminent. Clemson trailed seven times but responded each time.

C.J. Spiller

Miami replaced its kickoff specialist after halftime because he sent one to Spiller at the end of the half, which Spiller promptly returned 90 yards for a touchdown. Enough said about his credibility.

Clemson's defense

For every late-game loss chalked up to the team's offensive ineptitude, there have been plenty in which the Tigers were stingy all game, only to surrender a lengthy deciding scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Miami piled up 433 offensive yards, but Clemson came up with the overtime stop when needed after facing a first-and-goal from the 6.

The Orange bowl

This one lived up to whatever hype it generated. All three meetings between these orange-clad teams have gone to overtime. All three were won by the road team.

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THUMBS DOWN

Clock management

Miami wasted a chance to put up points before the half when coach Randy Shannon prematurely burned his final timeout, sparking a heated exchange with offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. Likewise, Clemson's nonchalance in the waning seconds of regulation cost it a crack at the end zone before Richard Jackson's game-tying 30-yard field goal with 5 seconds left.

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