Clemson downs Notre Dame in Rainy Thriller

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Deshaun Watson celebrates during Clemson's victory over Notre Dame (Bart Boatwright/Greenville News).

Two weeks ago, a great deal of fear lingered over Christ Church Clemson fans leading up to the much anticipated matchup between Clemson and Notre Dame. Many wondered if the game would be postponed after intense rains and flash floods ravaged South Carolina from Hurricane Joaquin. However, on the day before the game, the Clemson Athletic Department announced that the game would be played as scheduled at 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, October 3rd. This game was the first meeting between the two schools since 1979 and was played in Death Valley despite the inevitable heavy rain.

ESPN’s College GameDay kicked off the rainy day, broadcasting from a muddy and wet Bowman Field at 9:00 A.M. Many fans arrived much earlier than 9 in order to find a good spot to view the show. One highlight of the show was one of Christ Church’s very own. ESPN captured sophomore Harry Reynolds taking a legendary belly flop into the muddiest spot on the field on national television. The video immediately went viral, appearing on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and numerous sports websites.

The show concluded around noon with analyst Lee Corso’s famous headgear prediction. Amid a chorus of boos from Clemson fans, Corso appeared in a leprechaun costume and began doing an Irish jig, indicating that he had predicted Notre Dame to win the game. Following GameDay, many fans stayed in Clemson the rest of the day and took part in rainy tailgating activities.

Game time finally arrived, as over 80,000 poncho-wearing fans flooded into Memorial Stadium. Right before kickoff, the Tigers made their traditional and breath-taking entrance by rubbing Howard’s Rock and running down “The Hill”. Clemson was obviously motivated for the game and stormed to a 14-0 lead within the first few minutes of the first quarter. The Tigers were able to carry this momentum to a 14-3 halftime lead. “The Tigers dominated the first half” explained CCES sophomore Hal Ridgeway, who attended the game.

After another early touchdown in the third quarter led by star quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Tigers achieved a 21-3 lead and looked to be running away with the game. However, the Irish would not go down easily, mounting a furious 19 point comeback led by sophomore quarterback Deshone Kizer to bring the game within two points. But the comeback would come up short, as the Tiger defense stuffed the Irish at the goaline to stifle their two point conversion attempt in the closing seconds, securing a 24-22 win.

“By some miracle, (Clemson) held on” Ridgeway said. Thousands of elated fans rushed the field simultaneously to celebrate the win with the Tigers and head coach Dabo Swinney delivered an epic postgame speech. “That was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been to and I know I’ll remember it for the rest of my life” said Christ Church junior Nathan Akerhielm. All of the Clemson fans in attendance that night certainly share Nathan’s perspective and agree that the game will remain cemented in their memories for years to come.