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First of all, just really good to get a W, get back on track. To be a good team, we’ve got to win on the road. This was a difficult challenge for us. Obviously, this has been a tough place for Clemson to win. This is only our second, ever. Just a tough place to come and win, for whatever reason. I’m proud of our guys, proud of them for bouncing back. Coming off an emotional loss last week, they were ready to play. I’m also proud of them for handling adversity throughout the game. There were some ebbs and flows in the game, as you would expect coming into somebody else’s place. They had a lot of pride. They were excited to play. They made some plays. Our guys responded all game long. Just really proud of them. We did a lot of good things, individually. The big thing I would say, I thought we really grew up, defensively, in the second half. We got put in some tough situations that we don’t make.
I was really ticked off that we didn’t make it. I don’t even know if it was an inch, and we needed an inch. We don’t make it, but our defense goes out there and responds. That’s why you have a defense. That’s why you have an offense. That’s why you have special teams. You pick each other up. Defense gave up a couple of big plays, offense went right back out. That drive before the half by the offense was a critical, critical drive, to win the game, in my opinion. It’s good to see the team complimenting each other as the game went. I cannot say enough about our defense down the stretch. The second half was just huge. Created turnovers, got some key stops. We played a lot of guys.
In particular, I’m really pleased with [Garry Peters]. Here’s a guy that hasn’t had an opportunity, been kind of waiting on his chance. He got his opportunity tonight and he really stepped up big time, really stepped up big time. Did a great job with his press technique. Did a great job playing the double move, did a great job with his eyes, broke on two balls. Probably should have had two picks, but, obviously, made a big one down the stretch. Just really good to see him do that.
Nuk Hopkins set the school record, 197 yards. There’s nothing else you can say. He’s just a phenomenal player. [Tajh Boyd] and that offensive line have something to do with it, as well. He was huge for us. Andre Ellington, 130-something yards rushing, 100 yards in kickoff returns. That was a big part of creating some field position.
I’m going to tell you, the guy, if there’s an MVP, he’s MVP part-A. That’s Jaron Brown. Just absolutely clutch. Just makes clutch play after play, after play. His ability to go up and finish plays is pretty special. Very strong runner…that huge, huge play to extend the drive, late in the game there. I can’t say enough about him.
We’re excited to get back home in the Valley. Proud of the team. Big win.