Everyone loves Dabo Swinney for one reason or another and it might be because of his dancing or bubbly personality, but he'll have a lot of people questioning him for a week because of some seemingly poor decision making against Auburn. With Clemson leading 19-13 and the ball in Auburn territory at the 23-yard line, he decided to give running back Wayne Gallman the ball facing a 3rd-and-10, which is fine normally. However, Gallman ran out of bounds to stop the clock instead of milk it.
With less than a minute on the clock and facing a 4th-and-4 it should have been a no-brainer to kick the ball for a very makeable field goal of less than 40 yards to make it a two-score game. That's not the Dabo way though as he decided to give it to Gallman to try to get the first down and keep killing the clock. That failed and Auburn ended up getting a chance at two Hail Mary's into the end zone for the win. Fortunately for Clemson, both attempts were no good and the Tigers got their first win in Jordan-Hare Stadium since 1950.
That left some questions for Swinney though and here's how he explained it:
We talked about that. We knew it was going to be close, but we felt like we called a safe play right there. We trust Wayne Gallman. He ends up bouncing out. The competitiveness of him took over and he made a bad decision in that moment. Most of the time we would kick a field goal, but in that moment, in those instances, in that situation, and we were all in agreement in what we wanted to do, no. We'd already seen a high snap, a low kick and our defense had played well. And they hadn't demonstrated they could go down the field passing the ball on us. If we had executed the game is over. With 40 seconds and no timeouts, 83 yards to the end zone I'll take my chances with that. And that was the decision we made in that moment. Maybe if it was a different circumstance offensively we make a different decision. We won the game.
I'm not sure I would call that the safe play, but fortunately Clemson didn't suffer for it and won 19-13. Clemson also totaled 399 yards and Deshaun Watson finished with 248 passing yards. Here's Swinney's postgame conference to where he talked about it:
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