ORLANDO, Fla. -- Deshaun Watson bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy by passing for three touchdowns and running for two more to lead third-ranked Clemson to a 42-35 victory over No. 19 Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday night.
Winning consecutive league titles for the first time in 28 years likely will send the Tigers (12-1, No. 3 CFP) back to the four-team College Football Playoff for the second straight year, providing Watson with an opportunity to resolve unfinished business from last January, when his team lost to Alabama in the national championship game.
The Clemson star completed 23 of 34 passes for 288 yards, including TDs of 21 and 10 yards to Jordan Leggett and 15 yards to Hunter Renfrow for a 42-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He also rushed for 85 yards on 17 attempts for the Tigers. They've won back-to-back ACC titles for the first time since winning three straight from 1986-88.
Watson's Virginia Tech counterpart, Jerod Evans, was just as impressive. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound ran for two touchdowns and rallied the Hokies from a 21-point deficit to make it close at the end.
The Hokies (9-4, No. 23 CFP) scored on three straight possessions, trimming what was once a 35-14 deficit to seven points on Evans' 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter and Cam Phillips' 26-yard TD reception with just under 6 minutes remaining.
Virginia Tech got the ball back with a chance to force overtime. Evans drove his team to the Clemson 23, where the drive stalled when Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley intercepted a pass on fourth-and-6.
The Virginia Cavaliers football team is coming off a 21-pt victory last week and has won four of their last five games, yet is an underdog on the road against Georgia Tech.
UVA, at 4-2 (7-3 overall), is trying to stay alive in the ACC Coastal, led by the Pitt Panthers entering Saturday's action. Georgia Tech is also coming into the game on a hot streak, having won five of its last six matchups.
The Yellow Jackets are two games behind Pitt in the loss column, sitting at 4-3 in ACC play, and will finish up their regular season next week at 5th-ranked Georgia. UVA will wrap up on the road as well, facing in-state rival Virginia Tech.
Georgia Tech is favored over UVA by 4.5 points. Here's how to watch.
UVA CAVALIERS vs. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS: HOW TO WATCH
What: University of Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, located in Atlanta, GA.
When: Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: The Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
At 5-2 (7-3 overall) in the CAA, Delaware is currently in a four-way tie for second place in te conference. The Blue Hens are just one game back of Maine, and their recent hot streak is to thank.
Delaware had won five in a row, and sevon of eight, entering last week's matchup with Stony Brook. They fell 17-3, and are now looking to close out the regular season strong.
Villanova has struggled much of the season, sitting at just 1-6 (4-6 overall). albany is the only team in the CAA with fewer wins, and they've been cold. The Wildcats have lost five of their last six games.
Delaware is favored by 10 points as they hope to get back into first place.
Here's how to watch.
DELAWARE BLUE HENS vs. VILLANOVA WILDCATS: HOW TO WATCH
What: University of Delaware Blue Hens vs. Villanova University Wildcats
Where: Delaware Stadium, located in Newark, DE.
When: Saturday, November 17 at 12 p.m. EST
TV Channel: The Delaware Blue Hens vs. Villanova Wildcats will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)