Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/3/11

January 1st, 1982: A date etched into the brains, hearts and souls of all Clemson fans, everywhere. No matter your age, you know the date. If you were around, you remember where you were. If you were not, you have heard the stories. That was the date, THE date, Clemson defeated Nebraska to win its lone national championship. It was also the last time Clemson participated in one of the four major bowls, which now make up the Bowl Championship Series.

Tonight, Clemson (10-3) punched its thirty-year belated ticket back to the Orange Bowl with a 38-10 victory over Virginia Tech (11-2). The drought has ended.

Following the Clemson 34-13 defeat at the hands of its in-state rival South Carolina, Clemson appeared to be in a tailspin. They were. From the miraculous comeback versus Maryland, to the wall it hit in Atlanta against Georgia Tech, survival versus Wake Forest, the embarrassment at the hands of NC State, Clemson appeared gassed, lost. Tonight, Clemson proved it refueled, correcting its once woeful ways against Virginia Tech to now reign as Atlantic Coast Conference Champions.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd came out hot and played like a man on a mission, throwing for 47 yards and a touchdown on 6-of-7 passing in the first quarter. He never relented, finishing 20-of-29 for 240 yards and three scores, with the most noticeable zero being in the interceptions column.

At the half, the scoreboard showed a 10-all tie. Statistically it was nearly the same. Clemson had 195 yards while Virginia Tech stood at 158. The quarterback duel – in the first half – was also knotted up as well. Logan Thomas threw for 122 yards on 9-of-16 passing, while Tajh Boyd compiled 118 yards on 14-of-21 passing. The third quarter changed the game.

Clemson claimed its first ACC Championship since 1991, and fourteenth overall, with a 21 point, 181 total yard third quarter.

As strong as Clemson was offensively, defensively the Tigers answered every opportunity given. As Clemson shut Virginia Tech out in the second half, it also shutdown the Hokies best player, David Wilson – the ACC player of the year - holding the running back to 32 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Virginia Tech proved tonight was that the October beat down Clemson gave them was no fluke at all. Both times Virginia Tech entered versus Clemson as 7-point favorites. Again, Virginia Tech walks away following a mauling by the Tigers.

Some Clemson fans may ask the ubiquitous question: What might have been? Others, will rejoice in an ACC Championship. Sure, there will be time for questions regarding the late-season collapse by Clemson, but tonight relish it. You are champions. This one counts.

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