We are counting down the most iconic plays in the ACC over the past decade. Today, we feature a pair of special teams plays and plenty of familiar faces who left their marks on the league.
11. Deshaun Watson makes Nick Saban lose his cool in 2016 national title game
You could pick any number of plays from the national title game that demonstrated Watson's brilliance. He did, after all, set a title-game record by tallying 478 yards of offense. But the most memorable play from Watson came midway through the third quarter, when the sophomore raced 16 yards on a second-and-15 play from the Alabama 34-yard line. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban tossed his headset in frustration, which was emblematic of the fits Watson had caused Bama's defense all night. Clemson scored five plays later to take a 24-21 lead before ultimately falling 45-40.
12. Gaines Adams blocks a Wake Forest kick and returns it for a TD in 2006
Undefeated Wake Forest was looking to extend its 14-point lead with a 42-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter, but trouble with the hold led to Adams' jarring the ball loose, recovering it in the air and taking it 66 yards for Clemson's first touchdown of the game. The score set off a 24-0 quarter for the Tigers, who won 27-17. The play was among many senior highlights for the late Adams, who won ACC defensive player of the year honors before becoming the No. 4 pick in the ensuing NFL draft. Adams died in 2010 of cardiac arrest.
13. Luke Kuechly notches a pick-six at Miami in college finale in 2011
On the first play of the last quarter of his college career, Kuechly picked off Miami quarterback Jacory Harris and returned the ball 45 yards for a Boston College touchdown, stiff-arming his way for much of the run and all but sealing the win for the Eagles. Kuechly had become BC's career tackles leader earlier in the game, and the Carolina Panthers made him the No. 9 pick in the NFL draft the following spring. He won NFL defensive player of the year honors a year later in 2013.
14. David Wilson returns kickoff 90 yards for TD against Georgia Tech in 2010
With 2:34 left in a tied Thursday night game at the typically raucous Lane Stadium, Wilson took Scott Blair's kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to give Virginia Tech a 28-21 lead and an eventual win by that score. It was the sophomore's second kick return for a touchdown of the season, and it helped give the Hokies their seventh straight win after an 0-2 start. The win streak would reach 11 games, including the school's most recent ACC title game victory, before the Hokies fell to Stanford in the Orange Bowl. Wilson won ACC offensive player of the year honors the following year and became a first-round pick of the Giants. He was forced to retire after two seasons because of a neck injury.
Starting for the suspended Jameis Winston, tasked with extending Florida State's win streak and looking to help the Seminoles sustain their national title run, Maguire hit Greene for a 74-yard touchdown strike after Clemson corner Mackensie Alexander fell down. The score tied the game at 17 with 6:04 left. FSU went on to win 23-17 in overtime in a game that featured just about everything, including a number of plays that, had they gone the other way, could have changed the ACC title picture and, thus, FSU's run to the College Football Playoff.