Clemson linebacker Boulware still stung by national title game loss


Clemson Tigers linebacker Ben Boulware doesn’t have a playoff beard. He calls it a lifestyle beard, meaning it’s not going away anytime soon.

“You’ve got to go through a lot of ugly phases,” Boulware said Tuesday in a press conference at the Camelback Inn. “You’ve got to be a man. But to fight it off and resist the razor. That’s about it. It’s definitely not a playoff beard. This has been here since January 12th and it’s December 27th. So that’s a long time.”

Facial hair or not, Boulware is a big reason No. 2 Clemson (12-1) earned a date with No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers will seek to return to the national championship game for the second straight year with Boulware as the centerpiece of their defense. He leads the group with 114 tackles and was named a second-team All-American.

The Buckeyes have had a month to prepare for Boulware. They ought to know him well by now.

“He’s around the ball,” Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “He’s just one of those playmakers, ball-seekers. I think he does a great job of deciphering plays, like what the offense is trying to do. He’s instinctive in that way.”

Clemson arrived in Phoenix on Monday and held their first practice Tuesday at Scottsdale Community College. Boulware said he doesn’t like Arizona but only because of the memories of the 45-40 loss to Alabama in the national championship game last season at Univeristy of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The team will return to that stadium Saturday with a chance to bury the memory for good.

“It stuck with me for a while,” Boulware said. “After a while, I definitely became appreciative of what we’ve done. I know it’s so difficult to do it two years in a row, let alone one. Reflecting back on it now, and the past couple of months, it definitely allows you to appreciate that much more. Fourteen and one is a pretty dadgum good season. But obviously that one loss lingers and stands out. We’re definitely going to try to change that this year.”

The main lesson the Tigers learned last year, Boulware said, was to finish games.

“That’s kind of the only thing we’ve been preaching all year,” he said. “We played well for 14 games, and at the end of the day we didn’t finish. We got beat. That’s kind of been our motto all year: to finish in every aspect, in the film room, at practice, each game. We’re just treating every game like it’s the national championship, and hopefully when that time comes it will carry over.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Football playoffs: State semifinals a first for Fort Loramie
Football playoffs: State semifinals a first for Fort Loramie

Two area high school football playoff dynasties have been extended into this week’s state semifinals in Alter and Marion Local. Joining those established powers is a relative newcomer, Fort Loramie. All posted Week 13 regional final wins this past weekend. Alter defeated Wapakoneta 21-7 at Piqua and Marion Local had a rematch answer for Coldwater...
Rookie quarterback sends Bengals to fourth loss in five games
Rookie quarterback sends Bengals to fourth loss in five games

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson juked and sprinted for 117 yards in his first NFL start, Gus Edwards ran for 115 and the Baltimore Ravens ground out a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to end a three-game losing streak. Flashing the moves that enabled him to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy at Louisville, Jackson zipped in and out of...
Football playoffs: Sites, matchups announced for state semifinals
Football playoffs: Sites, matchups announced for state semifinals

Home team listed first. Pairings include AP state rank and record. Powell Olentangy Liberty (9-4) vs. 9 Lakewood St. Edward (9-3) at Mansfield Arlin Stadium 8 Pickerington Central (11-2) vs. 1 Cin. Colerain (13-0) at Piqua Alexander Stadium 6 Cin. Winton Woods (12-1) vs. 3 Massillon Washington (13-0) at Gahanna Lincoln Wilbur C. Strait Field 1 Akron...
Alter, Marion Local, Fort Loramie advance to football state semifinals
Alter, Marion Local, Fort Loramie advance to football state semifinals

Alter, Marion Local and Fort Loramie all won Week 13 regional finals and advanced to this week’s high school football state semifinals. D-III: Alter (12-1) vs. Norwalk (10-3), at Wapakoneta Harmon Field, 7 p.m. Friday. D-VI: Marion Local (12-1) vs. Attica Seneca East (12-1), at Lima Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday. D-VII: Fort Loramie (12-1) vs...
Dayton captures Atlantic 10 volleyball tournament title for 13th time
Dayton captures Atlantic 10 volleyball tournament title for 13th time

The Dayton Flyers won the Atlantic 10 Conference volleyball tournament championship Sunday, beating Virginia Commonwealth 18-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-16 and 15-12 at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. Dayton (23-7) avenged a loss to VCU in the 2017 championship game and two losses this season to VCU in the regular season. Dayton won its 13th championship...
More Stories