The victory ended No. 21 Auburn’s 17-game win streak and showed that Clemson, 3-0 for the first time since 2007, is capable of defending a lead.
Clemson was ahead 38-24 in the fourth quarter when Auburn drove down to the Clemson 8-yard-line, reminding some of last year’s game when Auburn overcame a 17-0 deficit to beat Clemson 27-24 in overtime.
This year was different. Just when Clemson needed a big play to snuff out Auburn’s momentum, Coty Sensabaugh intercepted Auburn’s Barrett Trotter to end the drive.
Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 30 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns. The 624 total yards was the most Clemson had ever racked up against a Southeastern Conference opponent. Clemson had lost 14 straight to Auburn since a 34-0 victory in 1951.
The game had its share of trickery. Michigan State surprised Notre Dame in overtime last season by faking a field goal and throwing a touchdown pass to win the game.
Trailing 21-10 late in the first half, Michigan State drove to the Notre Dame two-yard line and tried it again. This time, the Irish were ready, breaking up a shovel pass on fourth-and- goal to protect their lead.
Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 34 of 53 passes for 329 yards. He was intercepted at the Notre Dame 6 with just less than four minutes remaining in the game. Robert Blanton returned the interception 82 yards to the 12 ending the Michigan State rally.
The Spartans rushed for 29 yards on 23 carries and committed 12 penalties for 86 yards.
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