The Clemson football program dropped to 4-4 overall with a 24-17 loss to NC State on Saturday, and Dabo Swinney’s decision to kick a field goal down 10 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter when the Tigers were deep in NC State territory was puzzling for many.
Dabo Swinney said that the reason he took the field goal was that Clemson football needed two scores either way and wanted to get the field goal “out of the way,” so he stands by it, according to Chapel Fowler of The State Sports.
Swinney’s Tigers once trailed 24-7 in the game against NC State football, then they scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter with a Phil Mafah 1-yard run. After the teams exchanged three punts, Clemson started the drive that is in question at the 50 yard line.
The first play of that drive, Phil Mafah ran for 41 yards down to the NC State nine. After a completed pass to the NC State four and a Cade Klubnik three-yard run to the one yard line, Klubnik threw an incomplete pass. On 4th-and-goal from the one, Swinney decided to kick.
That did make it a one-score game at 24-17, and Clemson did get the ball back with 4:23 left after getting a stop. However, a Cade Klubnik pass fell incomplete on 4th-and-19 with 14 seconds left, which ended the game.
The Tigers fell to 4-4 overall with a 2-4 record in ACC play. Clemson has games against No. 14 Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, No. 17 North Carolina and South Carolina to wrap up the regular season. Swinney’s team will have to win two of those four games to be bowl eligible this year.