Dabo Swinney offered a prophetic prediction to the Clemson safety who made the playoff-sealing interception

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said after his team’s win over Ohio State that he told safety Nolan Turner that he was going to be the hero. Norm Hall/Getty Images
  • Clemson defeated Ohio State, 29-23, in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday to punch their ticket to the national championship.
  • After the game, head coach Dabo Swinney said he predicted the game’s finale, having told safety Nolan Turner that he would secure the game-sealing interception.
  • Swinney and Turner have a close bond, with the coach having played college football with Turner’s father at Alabama.
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Clemson outlasted Ohio State to take a 29-23 victory in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday to secure a spot in the national championship.

After driving 94 yards in less than 90 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers sealed the game with an interception in the end zone by safety Nolan Turner.

After taking over possession, all that was left was for Clemson to line up in victory formation to end the game with a kneel-down.

The interception was a redemption of sorts for Turner, who had gotten burned by the Buckeyes for a touchdown on a critical fourth down earlier in the fourth quarter.

But as Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney would explain after the game, he never lost faith in Turner’s ability to make a play.

“I told Nolan right after we scored, ‘That’s why you don’t put your head down. It ain’t over. You’re going to get the interception to win this game.'” Swinney said after the game.

Swinney’s relationship with Turner goes beyond that of coach and player. During Swinney’s days playing college football at Alabama, he was teammates with Turner’s father, Kevin Turner. The two remained friends for life, keeping in close contact as the elder Turner was diagnosed with ALS and his son developed into a talented high school player.

Nolan Turner was off the radar of most colleges, but Swinney offered him a full scholarship to Clemson, confident in his talents. When Kevin Turner lost his battle with ALS in 2016, Swinney spoke at his funeral, promising to do what he could to help Nolan as he grew up.

On Saturday, Swinney and Turner were both at their best, and now just one game stands between Clemson and their third national championship in four years.

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