Happy Homecoming and Happy Halloween Clemson Girls! After that beat down in Miami last week I am really looking forward to the game today. I hope there is a big crowd in the stadium to thank our boys for such a great performance last week. I am not going to spend much time breaking down the game today, no offense to Coastal Carolina but this should be a solid win. We hold the advantage in all positions and our freshman and reserves should be getting a lot of work in the second half. Instead I thought I would savor the Miami victory a little bit more and highlight CJ Spiller's reemergence in the Heisman race.
Last week was tied for the highest ranked opponent that we have ever defeated on the road in the history of Clemson football. It cannot be overstated what a huge victory it was to beat Miami, especially on the road. And the game was as entertaining as you will ever see-an instant ESPN classic. In fact it quickly won the honor of college football game of the week. The second half, especially, was punch, counter punch in an epic battle. Both teams made mistakes, but neither gave up-they each wanted this game so badly. This was a game that saw Clemson players get 4 individual honors-DeAndre McDaniel, tied for the lead in interceptions nationally with 7, had 2 picks, one for a score and was named national defensive back of the week. Michael Palmer earned national tight end of the week and I am still trying to figure out how he held on to that ball when he was knocked with a concussion in mid-air. Kyle Parker grew up in a tremendous way, especially on that last pass, and with 326 passing yards was named national freshman player of the week. And CJ Spiller, can there ever be enough great words said about him? Spiller was named national offensive player of the week, his 310 all purpose yards are the most in a single game in Clemson history, and he finally got the national media to turn their head and view him as a legitimate Heisman candidate. Everyone saw what we already knew-he is the best athlete and player in college football today. Period.
The Miami game was amazing and I was so proud of the fight and determination displayed by our Tigers. The win over Miami puts us firmly in the driver's seat for the ACC Atlantic. If we win out we are in the championship game, if we lose there is still a great chance that we make it. But I think Clemson has turned an important corner and I believe you will see Clemson win out and representing the Atlantic in Tampa. And after Virginia Tech losing again this week it looks as if we are headed to a rematch with Georgia Tech. Miami still has a chance if Tech loses, but just like we do, Tech controls their own destiny.
In a season that has so far seen the Heisman favorites have lackluster seasons Spiller firmly tossed his hat in as a legitimate contender for the Heisman trophy. And please understand that just getting invited to New York would be a victory in and of itself for a Clemson program that has never had a player make it that far. Mel Kiper Jr., NFL draft expert, said that if he had the trophy to hand out tomorrow it would go to Spiller, and CJ has climbed into the top 5 of numerous voters lists. I know this for sure, CJ Spiller is the most electrifying and exciting player that I have ever watched play the game. And he has the heart of a lion-he is the ultimate student athlete and a player that has made us proud in every facet of the game and in life. Spiller's stats are mind boggling but when you look at the fact for 3 years he shared carries with Davis and he has done everything behind an offensive line that for most of his time in Clemson has had its' share of struggles his stats become all the more amazing. The offensive line has been one of the great improvements over the last few games so hopefully we will see his stats increase and become even more phenomenal. Here are just a few of the reasons that the Heisman voters should be giving CJ a real look.
*Spiller has set the career all purpose yardage record in the ACC being the 1st player in the history of the league to eclipse 6000 yards. In addition he is trending to be only the 5th player in college football history to eclipse 7000 all purpose running yards.
*Spiller currently leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game with 207.86. He is one of only two players to average over 200 all-purpose yards per game in the country this year.
*Spiller has tied an NCAA record for kickoff returns for touchdowns in a career with 6.
*He is also third nationally in kickoff return average with a 38.2 figure and is tied for first in kickoff returns for touchdowns with three.
*Spiller has had a 60-yard play, either from scrimmage or on a return, in each of the first seven games this year-a truly amazing stat.
*CJ has broken the ACC record for kick returns for a touchdown with seven (six kickoff and one punt). In addition his 7 total kick returns for TD is only one off of the national record of 8. If teams will continue to kick to him he stands a great chance of at least tying this record.
*CJ has reached the 100 yard mark in four different areas in his career, (rushing, receiving, kickoff returns, and punt returns). He has also scored in 5 different ways (rushing TD, receiving TD, punt return TD, kickoff return TD, and passing TD).
*Spiller’s 310 all-purpose yards tie for the most in a game by any player in FBS Division this year and is also a Clemson record.
*CJ and senior receiver Jacoby Ford need 376 all-purpose yards to establish the NCAA record for two players in the same class. Spiller and Ford have tallied 9,878 yards, trailing the San Diego State tandem of Marshall Faulk and Darnay Scott (1991-93). It is amazing that this special duo not only lived up to the high expectations cast on them from the moment they committed to Clemson, but how much they both surpassed expectations. And special kudos to Jacoby for not only making the game winning catch against Miami but also essentially drawing up the play.
*CJ joins Reggie Bush as the only players in college football history with at least 2500 yards rushing, 1500 yards in kickoff returns, 1000 in receiving and 500 in punt returns.
*Has 19 career touchdowns of 50 yards or more.
*CJ will graduate in three-and-a-half years on December 17, 2009. Made first-team Academic All-ACC last year when he made the Dean’s List.