DALLAS (FWAA) Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson posted a career-high 465 yards of total offense, leading the top-ranked Tigers to a 37-27 win at Syracuse and maintaining a perfect record that has now stretched to 10-0 for the first time since Clemson's 1981 national championship season. Watson ran for 105 yards, his second 100-yard rushing game in as many weeks to earn the AutoNation National Offensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 14, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
The 6-2, 205-pound sophomore from Gainesville, Ga., completed a career-high 34 passes in 47 attempts for 360 yards and two touchdowns. Watson is already fifth in Clemson's history with 37 career touchdown passes. His 101 rushing yards came on only 13 carries, a 7.8-yard average.
Watson guided Clemson to 570 total yards, surpassing the 500-total-yard mark for a school-record sixth time. His leadership was most needed in the fourth quarter after Syracuse closed to within 34-27, where he helped the Tigers respond with a 13-play, 69-yard drive that soaked up the last 5:57. The game ended with Clemson at the Orange 10-yard line.
"I never got myself in disbelief in my team," Watson said. "I never doubted. We didn't think we were going to come up here and just walk through and pick up a big win. We had to earn it. They came out and were pushing us and played til the end. Glad to have this one and move on to the next."
Watson is 14-1 as a starter in his career, including all 10 games this season.
As part of AutoNation's history of charitable involvement, AutoNation will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in Watson's name. This charitable college football initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network. The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser for the BCRF, CharityWatch's only A+ rated breast cancer organization in the country.
"We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a cure for cancer," says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. "This season-long partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, puts a spotlight on a cause that we're determined to tackle."
"In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes," said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. "It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well as others in this splendid effort."
The FWAA National Defensive Player of the Week and National Team of the Week, both sponsored by AutoNation for the first time this year, have been determined collectively by a group of FWAA officers and the FWAA All-America Committee for several years. The AutoNation FWAA Offensive Player of the Week has been added this season. Nominations are taken from game performance all over the country each week and then those nominations are reviewed by the FWAA, which determines the actual recipients.
AutoNation is also the new sponsor of the 2015 FWAA All-America Team, which will be comprised of 26 first-team and 26 second-team selections as nominated by the membership and chosen by the FWAA All-America Committee. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.
Coincidentally, the 2002 and '03 FWAA All-America teams were honored on the floor of the very same Citrus Bowl Stadium. Over the years, the FWAA's All-America teams have been honored in different locations and on various media platforms during the second-longest continuous annual selection of an All-America team in major college football.
Additionally, the AutoNation 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team, which was announced in August, will be celebrated during the 2015 season. That team includes players selected from past FWAA All-America teams dating to 1944, three years after the organization was formed in 1941. The AutoNation 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team is composed of three teams of 25 players each, with all eight decades, starting in the 1940s, represented among the playing eras of members on the team. It includes 56 National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Famers. Forty-one schools are represented on the team that was selected by an FWAA Blue Ribbon Committee after taking into consideration nominations from the membership.
About AutoNation, Inc.:
AutoNation is transforming the automotive retail industry through bold leadership. We deliver a peerless automotive retail experience through our customer-focused sales and service processes. Owning and operating 293 new vehicle franchises, which sell 35 new vehicle brands across 15 states, AutoNation is America's largest automotive retailer, with state-of-the-art operations and the ability to leverage economies of scale that benefit the customer. As an indication of our leadership position in our industry, AutoNation is a component of the S&P 500 Index.
About the AutoNation Cure Bowl:
The AutoNation Cure Bowl a new post-season NCAA football game whose net proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The AutoNation Cure Bowl takes place December 19 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The bowl is scheduled to involve teams from the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.
About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at email@example.com.
2015 AutoNation National Offensive Players of the Week
Week of Sept. 5: Derrick Henry, Alabama
Week of Sept. 12: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
· Week of Sept. 19: Leonard Fournette, LSU
· Week of Sept. 26: Trevone Boykin, TCU
Week of Oct. 3: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Week of Oct. 10: Jordan Canzeri, Iowa
Week of Oct. 17: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Week of Oct. 24: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Week of Oct. 31: DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
Week of Nov. 7: Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Week of Nov. 14: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Week of Nov. 21: Vernon Adams Jr., Oregon
Week of Nov. 28: Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
Week of Dec. 5: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford