Clemson University

Spiller is most valuable player in the land


REGGIE BUSH, SORT of the C.J. Spiller of the NFL, hopes to lead his New Orleans Saints to victory against the Miami Dolphins today on the same Land Shark Stadium field Spiller ran up and down most of Saturday.

It is doubtful Bush will get the workload or enjoyment Spiller took home following Clemson's 40-37 overtime victory against No. 8 Miami.

"This is the most fun I've had," the do-it-all senior said after establishing a Clemson record for all-purpose yards in a game with 310.

Spiller does not play defense, call plays, kick off or coach - well, wait, he does some coaching, constantly encouraging and advising teammates - but he does everything else well enough to qualify as the most valuable contributor the Tigers have had since players stopped regularly playing both offense and defense.

At least.

The apparently unstoppable, unflappable and likeable Spiller is so good, Clemson might be a losing team without him.

Subhed Heisman talk. "I hope the country watched him today," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "People who don't want to put him in the Heisman race, shame on them.

He's the best player in college football. Period."

Spiller deserves consideration in an open Heisman field.

No player is as valuable to a team, and no team is more dependent on big plays.

Imagine Spiller surrounded by the kind of talent Southern California had when Bush won the Heisman.

Though a marked man in Miami, Spiller ran for 81 yards and caught six passes for 104 yards.

He scored on a 90-yard kickoff return to answer a Miami touchdown and put Clemson ahead 10-7 right before the half when the Hurricanes declined to kick away from him, as they did after taking a 3-0 lead.

"Once again, we have another prophet," Spiller said with a grin. "Our offensive line coach, Brad Scott, came up to me right before that and said, 'Make a big play for us.' So I thank him for that. And my guys did a great job of (blocking), especially Jacoby Ford and Andre Ellington."

310, and counting. For more thrills, Spiller scored on a 56-yard pass from Kyle Parker.

"It's obvious to a lot of people he's fast," Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said, "but for him to play like that against a Miami team really showed he's got elite speed. What a great kid to come back for his senior year, and those are the kind of wins he came back to be a part of. He made several plays throughout the day that only he can make."

The Lake Butler, Fla., native also does little things to make the Tigers better.

Like impose good field position on foes when they pooch kick.

Or draw defenses away from receivers and backs.

Between possessions, Spiller often can be seen on the sideline encouraging offensive linemen.

Years from now, thousands more Clemson fans than were on hand Saturday will say they ate stone crabs, tried Cuban coffee and saw C.J. Spiller's best game.

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