Four days prior to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer indicated he was still in evaluation mode regarding which punter would start for his team against Clemson.
He clearly made the appropriate call when he opted to go with Danny Coale for the second straight week. Coale, a senior, averaged 49.7 yards per attempt on three first-half punts.
His first punt of the third quarter went for 60 yards. It was his second 60-yard punt of the game. Two of his first-half punts ended up inside Clemson's 20-yard line, including a 60-yarder that rolled out-of-bounds at the Tigers' 2.
Coming into the game, Tech was averaging 35.7 yards per punt, which was the second-worst season average in Beamer's 25 seasons in Blacksburg. Beamer had tried both Scott Demler (33.1 yards per punt) and Michael Branthover (36.6 yards per punt) this season with marginal results.
In addition to his punting duties Saturday, Coale also had two catches for 11 yards in the first half, and was the return man on three first-half Clemson punts. He ended up calling for fair catches on two of the punts, and didn't get a chance to return the other punt.
In Tech's 38-0 win at Virginia on Nov. 26, he averaged 47.5 yards per attempt on four punts. He also punted twice Sept. 24 at Marshall.
Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley suffered a neck stinger while tackling Clemson's Sammy Watkins on the first play of Clemson's third drive. Watkins gained six yards on a run before being brought down by Hosley with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Hosley, who earned second team All-ACC honors this season, didn't return for the remainder of the first half. Redshirt freshman Detrick Bonner replaced Hosley for the rest of the half.
As usual, the postseason brings a series of handsome financial bonuses to Tech coach Frank Beamer.
He received a $25,000 bonus for leading Tech to the ACC Coastal Division title. An ACC championship game win is worth a $100,000 bonus for Beamer ($25,000 for winning the game and $75,000 for making it to the Bowl Championship Series). A trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl comes with a $50,000 bonus for Beamer.
This year, Beamer is earning $2,328,000 in total pay excluding bonuses, according to a USAToday.com database of coaching salaries. He's the third-highest paid coach in the ACC (behind Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, respectively), and the 21st highest paid coach in the nation.
Clemson running back Mike Bellamy was suspended for Saturday night's game due to a violation of team rules. He was listed as the co-No. 2 running back on Clemson's depth chart entering the game, along with redshirt freshman D.J. Howard.
Bellamy, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound freshman, has 57 carries for 343 yards and three touchdowns this season. In Clemson's 23-3 win Oct. 1 at Tech, he scored on a 31-yard touchdown run with 6:12 left in the game to account for the game's final points. He led Clemson's rushing efforts in the game with 47 yards on six carries.
Clemson wore a No. 91 decal on their helmets in Saturday's game to honor former Clemson defensive tackle Chester McGlockton, who died earlier this week at the age of 42.
McGlockton, who was an assistant coach at Stanford, earned first team All-ACC in 1991 — Clemson's last ACC championship team. Clemson was 29-6-1 in his three seasons on the team. He was drafted No. 16 overall in the '92 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders and played 12 seasons in the NFL, making it to the Pro Bowl four times.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun