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Clemson running back C.J. Spiller ties, sets several records in ACC Championship Game

TAMPA — After Saturday night's performance, it's easy to see why Clemson decided to retire C.J. Spiller's jersey. No. 28 was nearly unstoppable.

Spiller rushed for a career- and ACC Championship game-high 234 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Tigers' 39-34 loss to Georgia Tech at Raymond James Stadium. Along the way, he tied or broke just about every career rushing and all-purpose yardage record in school history.

• He has scored at least one touchdown in 13 straight games, tying Travis Zachery's school record. He is the only player in Division I to score a touchdown in every game this season.

• He has 20 touchdowns this season, breaking Zachery's school record of 18.

• He has 50 career touchdowns, tying Zachery's school record.

• He broke Raymond Priester's school record of 1,460 yards rushing and receiving in a season.

• He has 1,146 yards rushing in 2009, the first time in his four season he broke 1,000.

About the only thing he didn't do was help his team win, though he won game MVP anyway.

"I have to give credit to the offensive line,'' Spiller said. "They were covering them up. It makes my job a lot easier.''

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is used to seeing Spiller give that kind of effort. "He left it all on the field tonight, and that's all you can ask,'' he said. "I'm really proud of him.''

EARLY EXIT: Georgia Tech OT Phil Smith, a Tampa Jesuit graduate, left the game with 9:21 remaining in the first quarter with a broken leg, coach Paul Johnson said. Smith, a redshirt freshman, was unable to put weight on his left leg and needed help to leave the field. Smith's backup, Nick Claytor, left the game in the third quarter with an injury.

NOT YOU AGAIN: Clemson is getting sick of seeing Georgia Tech K Scott Blair. Blair threw a touchdown on a fake field goal and had the winning kick in the Yellow Jackets' 30-27 regular-season win in September. Saturday night, the junior set a career high with a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter. He then broke that mark with a 49-yarder in the second. He added a 28-yard kick near the end of the second quarter to become the first kicker in ACC Championship history to make three in one half. He kicked four overall.

Throwing oranges: As soon as Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan sacked Clemson's Kyle Parker on fourth down to end the game, Georgia Tech fans began throwing oranges on the field. They will play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 5.

SPECIAL AWARD: Boston College LB Mark Herzlich, who played in the 2007 and 2008 ACC title games and was the league's defensive player of year, was back on this stage for a special honor. He missed the season battling Ewing's sarcoma, but after radiation and chemotherapy, he's cancer free and was honored with the Commissioner's Cup. The award is given at the ACC commissioner's discretion, and Herzlich is the first student-athlete to receive it.

"Last year, I forgot to thank someone very important," Herzlich said at the award ceremony Friday, referring to God. "He's been pretty good to me this year."

Clemson running back C.J. Spiller ties, sets several records in ACC Championship Game 12/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 6, 2009 12:32am]
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