The most effective issue that stopped Tennessee fans from making a song “Rocky Top” as time become expiring Friday night changed into the need to serenade Joe Milton with some thing else.
“M-V-P!” they chanted, time and again. With accurate purpose.
Milton — who regained the beginning process handiest after his near buddy Hendon Hooker got harm past due inside the 12 months — led Tennessee to one of its best moments within the ultimate couple many years. He finished 19 of 28 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 6 Tennessee in no way trailed on its way to a 31-14 victory over No. 10 Clemson inside the Orange Bowl.
“I believe myself, I consider my coaching and I just let it take place,” Milton stated.
The Volunteers finished eleven-2 for the primary time for the reason that 2001, and capped a yr after they beat Alabama, LSU and Clemson — packages that combined to win six of the seven maximum latest College Football Playoff country wide titles.
“All the adversity this group’s faced throughout their careers, what they’ve achieved the closing 23 months, I couldn’t be prouder of a group of individuals,” stated Tennessee instruct Josh Heupel, who gained a national title as an Oklahoma participant in the Orange Bowl.Cade Klubnik, making his first begin for Clemson, completed 30 of fifty four passes for 320 yards with interceptions. But Clemson (eleven-three) simply kept developing empty on high scoring probabilities; the Tigers got into Tennessee territory on nine of their first 10 possessions — and grew to become the ones journeys into most effective two discipline dreams.
Clemson completed with 484 yards on 101 performs, and still misplaced through 17.
“You don’t get any points for yards,” Clemson train Dabo Swinney stated. “The name of the sport’s points. … You have to finish and execute and we did no longer do this.”
Klubnik ran in from four yards out to get Clemson inside 21-14 with 10:01 left, but Milton linked with Keyton for a forty six-yard rating on the next Tennessee ownership. The Volunteers intercepted Klubnik on a desperation fourth-down heave about a minute later, pretty much sealing the outcome.
“Wish we should have despatched out these seniors with a win,” Klubnik said. “I think we gave it all we had until the last play.”In this very orange Orange Bowl — both teams have it as their primary shade — it was the Tennessee hue that turned into advanced. Hooker changed into there, having flown in about per week in the past to be with his group and assist Milton put together for the sport.
“Blood can’t make us closer,” Milton stated. “That’s my brother ’til the give up.”
Milton opened the scoring with a sixteen-yard pass to McCoy, and Small’s 2-yard rush driven the result in 14-zero with 9:03 left inside the half of. The country’s most prolific offense wasn’t at its nice — Tennessee led the nation this year in yards and points consistent with recreation — but it didn’t ought to be.
Clemson were given the ball seven instances in the first half of, getting interior Tennessee territory all seven instances and getting to the Vols 25 on four occasions.
Somehow, that simplest became 3 points.