No. 15 Clemson ran LSU ragged in Chik-fil-A Bowl
ATLANTA — LSU fell off the physical cliff over the final 1:39 of its 25-24 upset loss to Clemson late on Monday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Clemson completion, LSU player down with cramps; Clemson first down, LSU player down with cramps; Clemson nearing game-winning field goal, LSU player down with cramps; Clemson kicks game-winning field goal as time expires, LSU down and out.
No. 13 Clemson's spread offense and Johnny Manziel-like quarterback Tajh Boyd left No. 7 LSU spread out and flat on the ground all over the Georgia Dome to the tune of 445 yards and 32 first downs through 100 plays and 36 minutes of possession.
“We were just trying to hold it down until the end,” said LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who had one of the Tigers' five sacks to force a fourth-and-16 from the Clemson 14 with 1:22 to play and the Tigers desperately clinging to a 24-22 lead.
Montgomery was flat on his back when he pulled Boyd down for the 6-yard loss. But Boyd got back up and completed a 26-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who again beat cornerback Tharold Simon. Hopkins would catch two more off Simon for 20 yards and was interfered with by free safety Eric Reid for another first down in the drive. Hopkins finished with 13 receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
Montgomery was one of several LSU players who collapsed on that last drive. Reid was another, as was strong safety Craig Loston.
“When I laid down out there, I was so tired and so hurt,” Montgomery said. “It's a hard thing on the defense to play 100 plays.”
LSU's offense did not help its defense much. The Tigers went 3 of 13 on third downs and finished with only nine first downs against the a defense that came in No. 73 in the nation in total yards allowed with 411 a game. Zach Mettenberger completed just 14 of 23 passes for 120 yards with an interception, but he was under constant pressure and sacked six times.
LSU's defense was also on the field so long because it could not get off the field so many times. It allowed eight of 18 third down conversions to Clemson.