Good start to a promising year

Chandler Catanzaro

ATLANTA - Any Clemson fan worth their salt has replayed the moment a few more times since New Year's Eve.

Down 24-22 with two seconds left, just inside the right hash mark from 37 yards away. Michael Sobeski's the snapper, Spencer Benton to hold.

Chandler Catanzaro was already three steps and one swing of the leg ahead of everybody.

"I'd been visualizing that moment all week, the game winner," he said, after Clemson beat LSU 25-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "Actually, I thought about a 37-yarder at one point, it just crept up into my mind, visualizing."

Tajh Boyd was certain that it would be true. Leading up his final field goal attempt in 2012, Catanzaro had converted on 17 of 18 kicks that season.

"We feel like we've got one of the best kickers in the country, if not the best kicker in the country," said Boyd, who engineered the game-winning drive to the LSU 20-yardline.

"I love that guy. He's a warrior, one of the strongest guys I know. He just always comes through in the clutch."

For Catanzaro, they're all the same, regardless of the situation -- practice, pre-game and when everything is on the line.

"It's just another kick," Catanzaro said. "It's hard to think that way. But, really, it's just another kick." This was more than "just another kick."

After an endless amount of hugs, pats on the back and tears of joy, Catanzaro acknowledged this game-winning try may have meant a little more than the other 18 field goals he attempted as a redshirt junior.

"I knew how much my team was fighting the whole game, just fighting and clawing," he said. "It's a game of inches, really. They just clawed the whole game. I just knew, if it came down to me, I was going to deliver for them. I just thank them for the opportunity to set me up."

All Dabo Swinney needed was one shot with the ball in Catanzaro's range.

"It was just like we practiced it. He's missed one kick all year long, so there really wasn't much doubt," Swinney said. "I want to give credit to our offensive line. They got the block, the extra-point early. That was huge.

"Great protection, great snap by Sobeski. Nobody knows who he is. If he made a bad snap, you would. Michael Sobeski. Spencer Benton made a great hold.

"Cat put it through the pipes."

Not a bad start to what could be a special new year in Clemson.

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