The Clemson Tigers have been one of the most surprising teams in the nation this season. A three-week stretch in which they defeated then-No. 21 Auburn, No. 11 Florida State and No. 11 Virginia Tech propelled them to their current station as No. 8 in both polls and seventh in the first BCS standings.
However, their Cinderella story nearly struck midnight on Saturday when the downtrodden and hideously dressed Maryland Terrapins gave the Tigers all they could handle in a wild 56-45 Clemson win.
While Tajh Boyd, Clemson's dark-horse Heisman-contending quarterback, was a star with four touchdown passes, it was freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins who was the orange-and-white-clad savior.
Watkins caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter that closed the Maryland lead to 38-35, the closest the Tigers had been since a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.
After another Clemson score gained the lead in the fourth quarter, Maryland took it right back with a touchdown to make it 45-42 with 7:35 left in the game.
Here comes Sammy.
Eleven seconds and 89 Watkins kickoff return yards later, Clemson had the lead back at 49-45. This was after an earlier 70-yard return by Watkins apparently did not teach Maryland a lesson.
For the game, Watkins amassed 345 all-purpose yards, breaking C.J. Spiller's school record. He had eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, a rush for 33 yards and 207 yards on five kickoff returns, including the game-winning score.