Josh Jones here with a recap of the 2009 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship weekend!
The atmosphere at Raymond James Stadium was electric as 57,227 tickets were sold and distributed in Saturday night's ACC championship game.
Jonathan Dwyer's 15-yard touchdown run with 1:20 remaining gave the 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets a 39-34 victory over No. 25 Clemson in the prime-time match-up between the two division champions.
Josh Nesbitt threw a 70-yard TD pass to DeMaryius Thomas and Scott Blair kicked a title game-record four field goals to help the Yellow Jackets (11-2) win the crown - Tech's first since sharing it with Florida State in 1998 - in their second season under coach Paul Johnson.
ACC player of the year C.J. Spiller rushed for 233 yards and four touchdowns for Clemson (8-5). Spiller’s performance was good enough to earn him the game’s MVP Award. Spiller is the first person from the losing team to win the championship game’s MVP Award.
Now, if you thought the game brought the excitement, take a minute to rewind the weekend!
Kicking off the 48-hour celebration of ACC Football were Friday’s events that showcased many of the conference’s past, present, and future champions and helped preface the exciting atmosphere that would follow the next day.
The Coaches and Awards Luncheon presented by Tampa Bay & Company, that took place at the Tampa Convention Center highlighted the two participating coaches discussing their seasons as well as the 2009 ACC Football Awards being presented. Here is a quick run down of the award recipients from this year’s event.
• C. J. Spiller, Clemson: ACC Offensive and Player of the Year
• Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech: ACC Defensive Player of the Year
• Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: ACC Rookie and Offensive Rookie of the Year
• Luke Kuechly, Boston College: ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year
• Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: ACC Coach of the Year
• Riley Skinner, Wake Forest: ACC Jim Tatum Award
• Toney Baker, NC State: ACC Brian Piccolo Award
• Rodney Hudson: ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy
Friday night’s festivities had something for everyone. At the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay was the exclusive ACC Night of Legends reception presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, that honored 12 outstanding legends from the 12 ACC schools. This year’s legends class was highlighted by two state standouts and former Heisman trophy winners in Chris Weinke (Florida State) and Vinny Testaverde (Miami), and one of the ACC’s winningest coaches in Danny Ford (Clemson).
Taking place across town was the biggest downtown party for the weekend in Channelside’s Toast to the Atlantic Coast. The event saw a Pep Rally from each participating institution’s marching band, and all 12 ACC school mascots. Splitsville and Stump’s Supper Club served as fan central with food and drink specials for all ACC fans.
On Saturday afternoon, ACC FanFest set the stage for the day with over 200,000 square feet of interactive games, team mascots, pep rallies, food and beverage, autograph signings, game merchandise, jumbotrons, and general family fun. CMA Award Winning country music artist James Otto helped energize the crowd in his pre-game concert performance.
The Atlantic Coast Conference was pleased with Tampa Bay’s performance. "I saw a lot of orange (Clemson colors) and a lot of gold (Georgia Tech colors),' ACC associate commissioner for football operations Michael Kelly said. "It showed well on TV and things went well in the community. It was a good matchup and the fan base was energized.”
That's it for now, but be sure to stay up to date for news on Tampa Bay Sports and Tampa Bay area events here in the next few days! Stayed tuned in for more from me and your Tampa Bay team!