ATLANTA – Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 win over No. 9 Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.
Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Tajh Boyd completed a pass for 26 yards to DeAndre Hopkins on a fourth-and-16 play during the decisive 10-play drive.
Catanzaro’s kick set off a wild celebration on the field and in the stands.
Hopkins, who had 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, also had receptions for 7 and 13 yards in the final drive. LSU safety Greg Reid was flagged for pass interference while defending Hopkins.
Jeremy Hill ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns for LSU (10-3), which carried a 24-13 lead into the final quarter.
After Hopkins’ second TD catch, LSU got the ball with 2:43 remaining and threw three straight passes. Only one was complete in the three-and-out series that took only about 1 minute off the clock, leaving Clemson with enough time for its winning drive against LSU’s exhausted defense.
Hill did not have a carry in the fourth quarter. Zach Mettenberger was sacked six times.
“We had to throw the football,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
“It’s a tough thing to figure our pass protection was as poor as it was. That’s the piece that needs fixing and frankly we’ve got some young players here we’ll address and improve and make some strides going forward.”
Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He set career highs for attempts and completions and was named the game MVP.
Mettenberger completed 14 of 23 passes for 120 yards with an interception.
LSU scored 10 points off Clemson’s two lost fumbles, including one by Sammy Watkins on the second play of the game that set up Hill’s first touchdown.
Clemson lost Watkins to a right ankle injury on that fumble. Watkins could not put pressure on his right foot as he was helped off the field. He did not return.