Clemson 21, Kentucky 13
By Teresa Walker
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó C.J. Spiller scored a touchdown and had 172 all-purpose yards in his final college game, leading Clemson to a 21-13 victory Sunday night in the Music City Bowl.
The Tigers (9-5) hadn’t won a bowl since the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl.
Kentucky (7-6) was trying to make program history by winning a fourth straight bowl game.
The Wildcats certainly had the home-field advantage with blue filling nearly two-thirds of the lower bowl at LP Field.
Spiller, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, scored his 51st career touchdown ó a Clemson record ó on an 8-yard run with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter to make it 21-13.
Spiller scored three plays after Clemson linebacker Kavell Conner stripped Gene McCaskill after a short catch and Jarvis Jenkins recovered the ball at the Kentucky 19 for the game’s only turnover.
Kentucky tried to answer.
Punter Ryan Tydlacka ran for 9 yards on fourth-and-3, then coach Rich Brooks used his last time-out with 5:38 left before going for it again on fourth-and-8 at the Clemson 32.
The Cats couldn’t convert. Freshman quarterback Morgan Newton scrambled only to be tackled by Ricky Sapp a yard short.
Spiller helped the Tigers run out the clock and start the celebration. He finished with 68 yards on 15 carries and 57 yards on three catches to earn game MVP honors.
But the Wildcats did a decent job of slowing down one of the country’s most dynamic players. He didn’t return a kick for more than 30 yards, but he did become the first ACC player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and have at least 500 yards receiving in the same season at the end of the third quarter when he took a shovel pass 3 yards.