Patrick Sapp's second-chance 21-yard touchdown pass to Terry Smith and Nelson Welch's extra point with 20 seconds remaining gave No. 24 Clemson a 14-13 win over Kentucky in the Peach Bowl, making Tommy West a winner in his coaching debut with the Tigers.
Sapp's pass had been intercepted three plays earlier by Marty Moore, who fumbled on the return, with Brent LeJeune claiming it for Clemson (9-3) on the Kentucky 21.After two incompletions, Sapp scrambled to the right side and found Smith alone in the end zone, giving the Tigers touchdowns on their first and last possessions of the game.
Clemson's defense twice had stopped Kentucky at the Tiger 1 and the Wildcats (6-6) also squandered good field position twice in the second half before striking for 10 fourth-quarter points. Kentucky took a 13-7 lead on a 5-yard pass from Pookie Jones to Mark Chatmon and a 26-yard field goal by Nicky Nickels.
West became Clemson's coach on Nov. 29 after Ken Hatfield resigned, claiming a lack of support from the school.
Clemson's surge to victory started with 3:50 remaining when, on the first play, Sapp tossed a swing pass to the right to Emory Smith, who raced 58 yards to the Kentucky 25.
It put the Tigers in position to win, although Kentucky appeared to have nailed it down when Moore came racing upfield with his interception. The ball came free on the tackle, however, and Clemson had another chance.