After four quarters of physical, hard hitting, gut wrenching, heart pounding football in prime-time, the Clemson Tigers were unable to walk away with the win as Auburn escaped with a 27-24 win in overtime.
The loss was a disappointing one for Clemson, as they were unable to capitalize on several big plays near the end that would have given them the victory. There are no moral victories; a win is a win, a loss is a loss.
However, through this national broadcast, everybody should now know this about Clemson football: They are not a soft team, and you must never sleep on these Tigers.
Clemson was physical throughout the entire game, from beginning to end, and never showed any signs of giving up. Even when Auburn mounted 21 unanswered points.
Clemson football definitely has a different feel under head coach Dabo Swinney.
Under former coach Tommy Bowden, Clemson would've likely not been able to cope so well in the lime lights of prime-time. The Alabama game during his last season in 2008 was evidence of that. The fact that Bowden was off by himself did not help to create team chemistry, but it rather gradually distanced the team. The conservative and questionable decision making by Bowden made Clemson football dreadful for Tiger fans everywhere.
Everyone says that a team is reflective of the type of coach it has, and Clemson has definitely become a reflection of Dabo Swinney. The fact that he engages with all of the team, makes good decisions, and, most of all, instills proper discipline in his players has made Clemson football better for Tiger fans everywhere.
He has instilled in these players the desire and toughness to go on, which Bowden could not do as a head coach.
The Auburn game has managed to show us that yet again. This game was instrumental in showing just what kind of team Clemson is so far into Dabo's second season as full time head coach.
What was seen was the physicality of not just the defense, but the offense's capability to be productive against an experienced defense. And the defense's physicality against an offensive line with over 100 starts.
A Bowden team wouldn't have been able to go into such a harsh environment like Auburn and actually pose a threat to win in their own stadium. Dabo has preached for more physicality and the team has stepped up to the challenge.
Clemson Football has gotten back and gained its reputation as a physical football team.
As the sports announcer at the game put it, this game is definitely the hardest, most physical game that has been played so far this season.
In fact, Clemson is now considered one of, if not the most, physical team in the ACC.
Clemson has drawn attention by several calling them, "an SEC-like team in the ACC." With their ability to pull big time recruits and have among the best of them in the ACC, even out doing the likes of Florida State and Miami, who don't have to travel out of state as much as Clemson must.
Heading into a bye week, and a difficult homecoming against the University of Miami (FL), and recovering from this loss, Dabo and many can say this: If Clemson plays every game as physical as they did tonight, they have the capability and potential to win the rest of their games.