Clemson’s football team trailed seven times during its Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football game at Miami in Week 8 and still won.
The panel of experts who make up the selection committee to determine the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year noticed the impressive catalog of comebacks. The group, which includes Hall of Fame coaches, overwhelmingly chose Clemson’s wild win as Week 8’s best game.
Other games given consideration by the committee included last-second victories by Alabama, which needed to block a last-second field goal to beat visiting Tennessee, 12-10; and Iowa, which beat Michigan State on the road on the final play of the game, 15-13.
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Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Ford on the final play of overtime to give the Tigers a crazy 40-37 victory on 24 October 2009. Clemson’s win essentially eliminated the Hurricanes from national title consideration and gave the Tigers (4-3, 3-2 ACC) their first road victory against a Top 10 foe in more than eight years.
The game featured 12 lead changes and a record-setting performance from Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, who finished with a school-record 310 all-purpose yards, including a 90-yard kickoff return and another long TD catch. It was only the second loss since 1985 for Miami (5-2, 2-2 ACC) when scoring 37 or more points in a game.
The College Football Game of the Year concept was developed by Daniel Moore, the Academy’s 2005 Sport Artist of the Year. Moore is a well-known artist in Alabama for his paintings of legendary coach Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide.
At the end of the season and bowl games, a final review of nominations will be prepared for consideration. The winning school receives a commemorative limited edition fine art print and a $5,000 donation for its general scholarship fund.
The Academy’s expert panel includes such former esteemed coaches as Hall of Fame coaches Vince Dooley from Georgia and Jack Lengyel, the coach at Marshall University after a plane crash claimed the lives of 75 team members and coaching staff in 1970.