Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Wins 23-20
ATLANTA -- In overtime, the Auburn Tigers defeated Clemson 23-20 after quarterback Kodi Burns ran the ball into the end zone from five yards out to win the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
The defense was the key to the victory for Auburn as they held Clemson to just three points in their overtime possession, and kept Clemson from getting past midfield at the end of regulation.
The leader of Auburn's defense was the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Defensive MVP in defensive tackle Pat Sims. His play was key in the victory as he accumulated five tackles, with three for a loss, and one sack.
The second half was a tale of two quarters as Auburn dominated the third quarter. Auburn's' defense kept Clemson from picking up even so much as a first down for five straight possessions.
On offense, the ground game was effective with a combination of quarrterback Kodi Burns and running back Ben Tate running the ball down the field.
In the fourth quarter, the Clemson Tigers appeared to take the reins after tying the game at 10 early in the quarter. On Auburn's next possession, quarterback Brandon Cox threw an interception at the Auburn 32 yard line to Clemson's Crezden Butlerr. Clemson cashed in on the mistake with a one yard touchdown from running back James Davis on a fourth and goal play.
The first half was a story of missed opportunities for both teams. Each team had multiple possessions that ended on the opposition's side of the field. However, neither side was able to muster a complete drive down the field.
The scoring started on Auburn's first possession as they were able to move the ball inside of the Clemson 20 yard line after quarterback Brandon Cox completed a 28 yard pass to wide receiver Roderique Smith. Clemson's defense firmed up though and held Auburn to a 38 yard field goal attempt that Auburn place kicker Wes Byrum drilled right down the middle to give Auburn the early 3-0 advantage.
For the remainder of the first quarter the ball moved back and forth across midfield, but no scoring came of it. Early in the second quarter, Clemson responded with their first score.
On a second and five play from their own 17 yard line, Clemson's C.J. Spiller ran a dive play up the middle and was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage, but found a way to bounce the ball outside and ran 83 yards down the near sideline past the Auburn defense to give Clemson the 7-3 lead. That would be the score going into the locker room at the end of the first half as neither team converted their field goal attempts.
On the stat sheets, Auburn outgained Clemson 414 to 290 in total yards. Brandon Cox was the leading passer in the game completing 25 of 38 passes for 211 yards and one interception. The leading rusher in the game was Clemson's C.J. Spiller. He was named the Chick-Fil-A Offensive MVP after rushing for 116 yards on 8 carries with one touchdown.