Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/5/12
For most football fans the ACC stands for Atlantic Coast Conference, however Clemson Tigers fans know ACC stands for Another Clemson Collapse. As seems to be par for the course when Clemson is in a big game, under pressure, and expected to win, the team falls apart.

In their Orange Bowl game against West Virginia, Clemson scored first and scored 17 points in the first quarter, however, after the first quarter Clemson would only score 16 points the rest of the way. What caused this latest collapse is the same thing that haunted Clemson during the end of the regular season, turnovers, the inability to play well when getting behind in the game and sloppy defense.

Turnovers
The first turnover came in the second quarter as Clemson was about to score, when a freak play ended with Clemson running back Andre Ellington being stripped of the football, and West Virginia running the ball back 99 yards for the touchdown.

If Clemson had scored on that play the score would have been 24-21, but because of the turnover the score was 28-17. Two of the other Clemson turnovers occurred in the second quarter as Clemson was trying to close the gap before halftime, quarterback Tajh Boyd fumbled on what was a questionable and reviewable play, and Boyd was responsible for an interception.

Not Being Able to Come from Behind   
After Ellington’s fumble returned for a touchdown, West Virginia did not look back; scoring five touchdowns in the second and third quarters to lead 63-20 after a field goal was Clemson’s only points in the second quarter. As was true in their other losses this season, Clemson allowed their opponent to get too far ahead in the game, and panicked in an attempt to make a comeback.

Sloppy Defense
The sloppy defense speaks for itself as West Virginia scored a record 70 points, gained 589 passing and rushing yards, and running back Tavon Austin scored four receiving touchdowns and Shawne Alston and Geno Smith combined for three rushing touchdowns.

Not Again
Clemson’s meltdown should not be a surprise to Clemson fans. Clemson started the season 8-0, but then letting the hype to get to them, lost three of their last four games. Since they were able to beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, Clemson got into the Orange Bowl, but everyone saw how well that went.

Since 2002, Clemson has gone 3-6 in bowl games, not making a bowl game appearance in 2004. In those, six bowl game losses Clemson has been outscored 233-135. Additionally, three of the bowl losses since 2002, followed seasons in which Clemson won eight or more games in the regular season and championship games.
 

Now Clemson fans have to wait until next season to see how the next chapter of this football program unfolds. If next season mirrors this season, Clemson will likely be folding, rather than unfolding a new legacy. 
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