He was hurting. He was hobbling on the sideline. C.J. Spiller took a breather after the kicker return, ran two plays and sat out the rest of the second series. He spent the Yellow Jackets series in the locker room. Injury is, without a doubt, the most likely path to failure for Spiller. He was far from 100%. And it showed. He lacked a little burst. He lacked a little run-away speed. That fourth gear is part of what makes Spiller so special. He didn't have it this game, but what he could do without is remarkable.
1. 1st and 10 at CLEM 26 Kyle Parker pass complete to Jamie Harper for 6 yards to the Clem 32.
2. 2nd and 4 at CLEM 32 C.J. Spiller rush for 7 yards to the Clem 39 for a 1ST down.
Clemson runs a counter left and Spiller hits the seam between the left tackle and the fullback. He is in and through and past the first in a blink.
3. 1st and 10 at CLEM 39 C.J. Spiller rush for 4 yards to the Clem 43.
Clemson runs a stretch right. Spiller begins by running right and towards the "B" gap between the left guard and left tackle. Right defensive end Anthony Eqbuniwe surges through the gap. Spiller skillfully redirects and cuts outside the left tackle's left shoulder for four.
4. ... 8.
Spiller lead blocks for Andre Ellington on the kick return.
1. 1st and 10 at CLEM 43 Kyle Parker pass intercepted by Dominique Reese at the GTech 45, returned for no gain to the GTech 45 out-of-bounds.
College football play here: Clemson motions into split backs: Ellington (left); Spiller (right). Spiller runs a sideline route, but the play breaks down. Parker and Ellington cannot get on the same page. Ellington is running forward as if to lead block, while Parker is scrambling right looking for an outlet. Spiller sees the play breaking down, breaks his route, and begins cutting across the field right, in an impromptu dig route. He achieves silly separation. Parker doesn't see him or does not believe he can reach him, or whatever else, and jams the ball into an unwitting Ellington. It spurts through his grasp and into Reese's for an interception.
(Long, grinding Tech drive that results in three and puts Georgia up 13-7)
Spiller returns a high, short kick for 30.
1. 1st and 10 at CLEM 35 C.J. Spiller rush for 3 yards to the Clem 38.
Clemson runs a stretch right. Derrick Morgan breaks through, lunges at Spiller. Spiller evades, keeps his hips square and picks his way behind fullback Chad Diehl for three.
2. 2nd and 7 at CLEM 38 C.J. Spiller rush for 13 yards to the GTech 49 for a 1ST down.
Clemson runs another stretch right, and again, Morgan is dominating right guard Antoine McClain. Spiller runs behind right guard but breaks wide to avoid Morgan. Stretching everything wide can be a debilitating habit. Spiller doesn't do the Barry Sanders shuffle though. He slashes towards the sidelines by running primarily north-south. Still, breaking the play invites defenders to shoot the gap. It increases risk. Clemson wide receiver Xavier Dye throws a low effort block on Reese, and Reese runs through it and into the Tigers backfield. Reese and corner Jerrard Terrant close on Spiller, but he redirects up field and burns past them, past Morgan and down the right sideline for 13.
3. 1st and 10 at GT 49 C.J. Spiller rush for 6 yards to the GTech 43.
Clemson runs a trap right. Left guard Thomas Austin pulls around center and into the hole alongside fullback Diehl. Spiller runs past Morgan, into the hole and through. He churns for another three yards with Steven Sylvester and Tarrant on his back.
4. 2nd and 4 at GT 43 C.J. Spiller rush for 2 yards to the GTech 41.
Tech flexes into a 4-3. Spiller slashes outside left tackle for two.
5. 3rd and 2 at GT 41 C.J. Spiller rush for 41 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
Tech stays 4-3. Clemson breaks in a power-I (right), but motions the right fullback left, outside the left tackle. Resulting formation: WR (right), TE (left/right), I. The line stretches right. Right defensive end Eqbuniwe crashes hard off left end and into the backfield. Parker motions right and then pitches left to Spiller. He glides to just outside the left flat, redirects up field and is gone. Isaiah Thompson tackles a hobbled Spiller into the end zone.