ATLANTA — Clemson got one last impressive drive from Tajh Boyd and company to record its first 11-win season since its 1981 national championship team went 12-0.
And Tigers coach Dabo Swinney thinks this is only the beginning.
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. Boyd passed to DeAndre Hopkins for 26 yards 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. Some players collapsed on the field in apparent disbelief while most of Clemson’s orange jerseys met in a midfield circle.
Clemson reached 11 wins for only the fourth time in school history.
“You can’t win 12 until you win 11," Swinney said. “You can’t win a national championship until you learn how to win games like this.
“This was a landmark win."
Catanzaro had an extra point blocked in the second quarter, but he said that didn’t cause him to doubt his chances to make the last-second field goal.
“I was ready when the opportunity came to me," Catanzaro said. “It was next-kick mentality. I was so thankful for the opportunity."
Catanzaro made 16 of 17 field goals in the regular season.
“I didn’t have any doubt," Swinney said of the junior kicker. “He’s just a clutch player all the way."
Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“Tajh Boyd was phenomenal," LSU coach Les Miles said. “I did not expect the heroic, if you will, efforts that he had."
Hopkins, who had 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, also had receptions for seven 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.
In other games on Monday:
Georgia Tech 21
Southern Cal 7
EL PASO, Texas — Tevin Washington ran for a 1-yard touchdown that broke a third-quarter tie, then threw a TD pass that sent Georgia Tech past Southern California. Southern California (7-6), ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the season, played minus injured quarterback Matt Barkley. Max Wittek tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Silas Redd in the second quarter, but also threw three interceptions.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
North Carolina State 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jordan Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as Vanderbilt capped its best season in nearly a century by beating North Carolina State in the Music City Bowl. The Commodores (9-4) won their seventh straight game, their top mark since going 9-1 in 1915.
Iowa State 17
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tulsa avenged a loss to Iowa State earlier in the season by defeating the Cyclones in the rematch at a rainy Liberty Bowl behind Alex Singleton’s three touchdowns. Trey Watts rushed for 149 yards and Singleton ran for his three scores.