MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Clemson Tigers fans from all over the Grand Strand gathered at 810 Market Common to watch Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Louisiana State University Tigers.
Defending national champion Clemson scored first about eight minutes into the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. LSU took over control in the second quarter and went on to win 42-25.
It’s LSU’s fourth national title and first since 2007. LSU actually beat Clemson 7-0 in the Sugar Bowl, which was also in New Orleans, to win the 1958 national championship.
The watch party is put together by the Grand Strand Clemson Club, which is the area’s alumni chapter. With the football team’s success over the last five years, it has become a fun, almost-annual tradition.
On the other side of the Palmetto State, almost five hours from Death Valley, Clemson fans feel right at home in another national championship game.
“I’ve been a die-hard Tiger fan, man,” said Ryan Lovell of Myrtle Beach. “I’ve been through the ups and downs, we’re obviously in the ups right now. I just hope to keep it that way tonight.”
Some young Clemson fans, like one boy dressed like quarterback Trevor Lawrence, may only know the Tigers as a dominant force in college football, but that wasn’t always the case.
“When I was there, we weren’t that great of a team, so I’m really excited to be part of a successful team now,” said Anna Quilter, a Clemson graduate who lives in Myrtle Beach.
Quilter was watching the game with her husband, who she calls an “alum by marriage,” and their two kids.
“It’s something I can share with my son and daughter as alumni, for sure,” she said.
Lovell says he can’t watch a Clemson game without two things: a mini-version of Howard’s Rock from the “real” Death Valley in California and his father.
His parents weren’t in South Carolina for the game, so he brought a cardboard cut-out of his dad to the game.
“They’re in Disney, having a good time, but we figured we’d bring him here and keep the streak alive,” Lovell said.
Lovell also follows the Howard’s Rock tradition with the much smaller stone his brother gave him.
“We’ll walk around and get people to rub it and bring the luck,” he said.
Some Bayou Bengals decided to watch LSU in the enemy Tigers’ den.
“We’re the real tigers, so we’re just here to represent,” said Melissa Dalton, who recently moved to the Myrtle Beach area from Baton Rouge, the home of LSU’s campus.
The Grand Strand Clemson Club is the third-largest alumni chapter in the state and the school spirit goes beyond gameday.
“We also support students that are here in this area by providing scholarships to students who are currently going to Clemson,” said Laura Slice, who’s the club’s social committee chair.
810 Market Common expected as many as 300 people to stop by during the national title game.