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Clemson vs. Boston College Game Notes

Clemson vs. Boston College Game Notes

Sept. 19, 2005

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Clemson and BC Look To Return to Win Column Clemson and Boston College will both look to return to the victory column after difficult losses last weekend when the two teams meet at noon today. Both lost home games as top 25 teams to teams from the state of Florida who were also ranked in the top 25.

The Tigers had the longer game as Miami (FL) downed Clemson 36-30 in triple overtime, the first overtime loss in Clemson history after five victories. It was the longest game in Clemson history in terms of overtime periods and in terms of time. The game took 4:10 to play, longer by 12 minutes than the double overtime game against Wake Forest in the season opener of 2004.

Boston College had a 17-14 lead in the second half, then dropped a 28-17 decision to Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles. It was the first ACC game for Boston College, who had been in the Big East Conference prior to moving to the Atlantic Coast.

Clemson has been playing a lot of close games of late. In fact, nine of the last 14 Clemson games have been decided by seven points or less and all nine have been decided by a play inside the last minute. That includes all three games so far this year. Jad Dean kicked a 44-yard field goal with two seconds left to beat Texas A&M. Reggie Merriweather raced 38 yards for a score with 2:58 left against Maryland, then the Clemson defense stopped the Maryland offense with 47 seconds remaining.

While Clemson has had nine games in the last two years decided by seven points or less, Boston College has had just three. A year ago Wake Forest beat the Eagles in Winston-Salem 17-14 and Pittsburgh defeated Boston College 20-17 in overtime. The only victory for Boston College by seven points or less in the last two years is a 24-23 win at Notre Dame last season.

Boston College has not had a game decided by 10 points or less yet this year. The Eagles of Tom O’Brien started he year with a 20-3 win at Brigham Young, then defeated Army in Boston 44-7. Then, Florida State took an 11-point decision in the third game of the year.

When you look at Clemson’s stats for this year you can see why all three games have come down to the wire. Clemson has been outscored by the opposition by one point, 84-83, there is just a 17-yard total offense differential between Clemson and the opposition (1066-1049) in the three games, and both Clemson and the opposition have the same number of rushing first downs, 24-24.

Whitehurt Looks for win over 10th Different ACC Team Charlie Whitehurst is already the first quarterback in ACC history to defeat nine different ACC teams. He turned the trick last year when he was victorious at Miami (FL). He will get a chance to defeat a 10th different ACC team when the Tigers take on Boston College on Saturday afternoon. This will be the first opportunity for Whitehurst against the Eagles, who are playing just their second ACC game, their first ACC road game.

Whitehurst has a 12-9 record against ACC teams and the 12 wins have come against nine different teams. The native of Duluth, GA is 2-1 against Duke, 2-2 vs. Maryland, 2-0 vs. North Carolina, 1-1 vs. Florida State, 1-1 vs. Georgia Tech, 1-1 vs. Miami (FL), 1-1 vs. NC State and 1-1 vs. Wake Forest and 1-1 vs. Virginia.

After Saturday, the only ACC team Whitehurst has not started against will be Virginia Tech. To defeat the Hokies, the Tigers will have to get to the ACC Championship game on December 3 because the two teams do not meet in the regular season.

In terms of records in various situations, Whitehurst is 13-4 at home, 6-7 away, 1-1 at neutral sites, 8-3 in non-conference games, 12-9 in ACC games, 7-3 in ACC home games and 5-6 in ACC road games. The 8-3 non-conference record includes a 3-0 mark against South Carolina. On November 19 he will have a chance to become the first quarterback in Clemson history to defeat the Gamecocks four times.

Whitehurst already owns or co-owns 38 Clemson records and another should move to his column at the start of today’s game. Whitehurst has started 32 consecutive games as Clemson’s quarterback, tying the record held by Tommy Kendrick, who started 32 in a row from 1969-71. Whitehurst has a 20-12 records as a starting quarterback in the previous 32.

Whitehurst Sets Clemson Career TD Pass Record Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst became Clemson’s career leader in touchdown passes when he completed a five-yard scoring pass to Curtis Baham on fourth down in the first overtime of Clemson’s 36-30 triple overtime loss to Miami. It was his second TD pass of the day and fourth of the season. It gave him 42 touchdown passes for his career, one ahead of former teammate Woodrow Dantzler, who had 41 between 1998-01.

Whitehurst also tied the Clemson record for pass attempts in that game with 55. Patrick Sapp had 55 in a loss at Maryland in 1992. Whitehurst’s 31 completions in the Miami game were the second most in Clemson history, trailing only the 34 he had at Duke in 2002, his first career start.

Clemson gained 378 yards of total offense against Miami (FL) and Whitehurst had 346 of them on his stat line, 288 passing and a career high 58 rushing. It marked the first time Whitehurst had led the Tigers in rushing in a game. The 346 yards rank as his second best single game figure of his four year career and the ninth highest total for any quarterback in Clemson history. Whitehurst’s career high in terms of total offense is 414 for that Duke game in 2002.

Clemson Career Leaders in Touchdown Passes

Rk Player Years Att TD
1. Charlie Whitehurst 2002-05 1124 42
2. Woodrow Dantler 1998-01 796 41
3. Nealon Greene 1994-97 805 35
4. Mike Eppley 1980-84 449 28
5. Bobby Gage 1945-48 278 24
  Tommy Kendrick 1969-71 644 24
7. Steve Fuller 1975-78 554 22
8. Harvey White 1957-59 289 18
9. Brandon Streeter 1996-99 519 17

Boston College Update Boston College played its first ACC game against Bobby Bowden in Chestnut Hill, MA last weekend and now must play its first ACC road game against Clemson and head coach Tommy Bowden this weekend. This will be Boston College’s first trip to Death Valley since 1982 when Doug Flutie quarterback the Eagles to a 17-17 tie against a Clemson team that would finish the year with a 9-1-1 record and a number-eight final Associated Press ranking.

Boston College has a 2-1 record and the key for the Eagles has been a strong defense. One stat to watch today will be rushing. The Eagles rank third in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 39 yards per game, a figure that also leads the ACC. Boston College has allowed just 38 points in three games, 15th best in the nation, and has given up just 281 yards per game, 22nd best in the country.

The leader of the Boston College defense is 6-7, 261-pound defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and his statistics were enough to impress many of the ACC Sportswriters in the off-season, as he was named the preseason ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Last year, the native of Indianapolis, IN had 25.5 tackles for loss among his 67 tackles. He earned his 2005 reputation among the ACC media off an incredible performance in the Continental Tire Bowl last year when he had five tackles for loss against North Carolina. He led the Big East in sacks last year with 11.5.

The Boston College offense has been strong via the run over the years, especially under Head Coach Tom O’Brien. In fact, Boston College has had six 1000-yard rushers in the last seven seasons, and last year a committee of three running backs combined for over 1500 yards. LV. Whitworth is carrying on the tradition this year with 238 rushing yards in three games off 55 carries and he will be a player the Tigers defense will key on.

Will Blackmon is an outstanding all-around receiver who leads the club with 13-172 and two touchdowns receiving, to go with 57 kickoff return yards and 29 punt return yards. He has 279 all-purpose running yards, just one less than Whitworth.

Quarterback Quinton Porter and Matt Ryan are a combined 76-105 for 761 yards and five touchdowns. That is a 145.17 passing efficiency ratio, which is 27th best in the nation. Porter sat out last year with an injury, but he was playing well this year until he suffered an injury against Florida State.

If this game comes down to a field goal both coaches will be set. Clemson’s Jad Dean is third in the nation in with 9-10 made. Boston College’s Ryan Ohliger is 4-5 on field goals and is the team’s leading scorer with 20 points.

O’Brien Has Been to Death Valley As stated above, Boston College has not played at Clemson since the 1982 season, but that doesn’t mean this will be the first appearance in Death Valley for Boston College Head Coach Tom O’Brien. From 1982-96, O’Brien was an assistant coach at Virginia under George Welsh.

During that time, Clemson had the upper hand in games in Clemson Memorial Stadium by a 5-1-1 margin. The tie came in 1991 when the two teams played to a 20-20 draw. The NCAA overtime rule did not come into effect until 1996 and as long as the overtime rule exits, that 1991 game with Virginia will be remembered as the last tie in Clemson football history.

O’Brien was a part of two firsts in Virginia football history when it came to the series with Clemson. In 1990, at Charlottesville, Virginia defeated Clemson 20-7, ending Clemson’s 29-game winning streak in the series. In 1995, Virginia defeated Clemson in Death Valley 22-3, the first win for the Cavaliers in Clemson Memorial Stadium.

So, you can see O’Brien has a strong ACC background. He played for Welsh at the US Navel Academy and graduated from that institution in 1971. He joined the Navy staff under Welsh in 1975 and moved with Welsh to Virginia in 1982. He then took the Boston College head coaching position in 1997 and has been with the Eagle program ever since. O’Brien’s list of accomplishments includes a five-game bowl winning streak, the only Division I college football coach who has won a bowl game each of the last five years.

Clemson Defense Solid vs. Miami The NCAA overtime rule can play havoc with the evaluation of various statistics. That is the case with Clemson’s defensive performance against Miami (FL) in the most recent game, a 36-30 Miami triple overtime win. Miami scored 16 of its 36 points in the three overtime periods, which will hurt Clemson’s scoring defense stats all year. The same goes for total offense and yards per game, as Miami gained 73 yards in the overtime.

Through the 60 minutes of regulation, the Hurricanes gained just 264 yards of total offense, 49 yards less than they gained against Florida State’s famed defensive unit. The Hurricanes threw for just 109 yards on 23 pass attempts during regulation as Vic Koenning’s defensive unit allowed less than five yards per pass attempt. Clemson allowed just 5-14 third-down conversions in regulation and allowed just 15 first downs. Miami gained just 4.0 yards per play during regulation.

Anthony Waters led Clemson in tackles for the second consecutive game in the Miami loss with 11. C.J. Gaddis had his second consecutive double figure tackle game with 10, while Sergio Gilliam had a career high nine stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage.

Bennett Posts Top Game Senior defensive end Charles Bennett had his best game of the young 2005 season and the second best tackle game of his career when he had eight tackles against Miami (FL). The native of Camden, SC had five first hits and three assists for his eight tackles. Two of the eight were behind the line of scrimmage, including an eight-yard sack on Miami’s last possession of regulation, a stop that gave Clemson the ball back with a chance to tie the game. He also had three quarterback pressures in the Miami game.

Bennett’s career high for tackles in a game is 10, recorded at Florida State last year, a game in which he also had two tackles for loss. The sack against Miami (FL) was the seventh of his career and the first this season. The Miami game was his 13th career start, he has now started every game over the last two years with the exception of the Texas A&M game in 2004.

Clemson Limiting Mistakes One hallmark of Clemson’s offense under offensive coordinator Rob Spence has been efficiency and a lack of mistakes. Clemson did not commit a turnover for its first 213 offensive snaps of the season, or until Charlie Whitehurst threw an interception on the last play of the third overtime against Miami. Clemson is ranked 19th in the nation in turnover margin entering this week’s game. That is dramatically improved over last year when Clemson ranked 99th in the nation in turnover margin.

Most coaches will tell you that winning the turnover statistic, or limiting turnovers on offense will usually lead to victory. That has been the case with Clemson. The Tigers have won 11 consecutive games dating to 2002 when it wins the turnover margin stat (forces more turnovers than it commits). Clemson is 28-7 under Bowden when the Tigers win the turnover margin stat. Clemson has had 11 games under Tommy Bowden when it has not committed a turnover on offense and the Tigers are 10-1 in those games.

Another area that shows the discipline of this Clemson team is penalty differential. Clemson leads the ACC in fewest penalties committed with just 11 for 87 yards in the first three games. The opposition has had 31 for 285 yards. That is 20 more penalties for 198 more penalty yards for the opposition so far this year. The NCAA does not keep a stat for penalty differential, but one would think Clemson leads the nation in that category.

Clemson in Top 15 of Sagarin Clemson is one of just three schools nationally to rank among the top 15 teams in the nation in overall ranking and in schedule ranking. Clemson, 2-1 through the first three games, has a team rating of 85.69, 14th best in the nation. Clemson has a schedule ranking of 81.63, good enough for 11th in the nation. Clemson, Miami (FL) and LSU are the only schools in the nation to rank in the top 15 in both areas.

Clemson has finished in the top 25 of both the Sagarin ranking and the Sagarin schedule ranking twice under Tommy Bowden. That took place in 1999 when Clemson was 24 in the overall rating and seventh in the schedule ranking, and in 2003 when Clemson was ranked 17th overall and had the 23rd toughest schedule.

Clemson is one of just three schools with a loss ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation by Sagarin this week. Miami (FL), who defeated Clemson last week in triple overtime, and Arizona State, also 2-1 with a loss to LSU, is the other school with a loss to rank in the top 15 of the Sagarin rankings.

Overall Sagarin Ranking

Rk School W-L Rating Sched
1. Southern Cal 2-0 98.64 55
2. Florida State 3-0 98.44 25
3. LSU 1-0 97.78 5
4. Miami (FL) 1-1 97.34 1
5. Texas 3-0 91.32 97
6. Wisconsin 3-0 90.58 63
7. Virginia Tech 3-0 89.78 94
8. Georgia Tech 3-0 89.43 33
9. Florida 3-0 89.36 53
10. Louisville 2-0 88.96 45
11. Minnesota 3-0 88.80 81
12. Michigan State 3-0 87.73 71
13. UCLA 3-0 86.59 68
14. Clemson 2-1 85.69 11
15. Arizona State 2-1 85.30 40

Spence has Faced Boston College Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence will match strategies with the Boston College defense and its coordinator Frank Spaziani on Saturday. While it will be the first time Clemson has played Boston College since 1983, it won’t be the first time these coordinators have faced off against each other.

When Spence was the offensive coordinator at Toledo in 2002, his first year with the program, he helped the Rockets to a berth in the Motor City Bowl. The opponent in that game was Boston College. While Boston College won that game 51-25, Spence’s offense did have success, gaining 433 yards of total offense, including 331 yards passing. Toledo quarterback Brian Jones was 27-41 passing for all 331 yards in the contest.

One of the defensive players on the field for Boston College was then freshman Mathias Kiwanuka, who is ranked among the top defenders in the ACC entering this season.

Vince Ciurciu Common Denominator for both Schools There haven’t been a lot of common denominators between Clemson and Boston College. But, one player has played for both coaches and both schools in Saturday’s game, Vince Ciurciu. The current linebacker for the Carolina Panthers played at Clemson during the 1998 and 1999 seasons and at Boston College for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Ciurciu was a running back at Clemson as a freshman and sophomore. He gained 99 yards in 27 attempts as a freshman under Tommy West and was the fourth leading rusher on the team. Then, in 1999 under Tommy Bowden he had three rushes for five yards and had four receptions for 22 yards.

His top play as a Tiger took place in 1999 at Virginia Tech. Ciurciu was the receiver on a nine-yard scoring pass from Tony Lazzara on a fake field goal on a Thursday night game that was televised by ESPN. That was the first true “trick play,” of the Tommy Bowden era at Clemson. Boston College is the newest addition to the ACC and ironically, Ciurciu’s most famous play as a Tiger took place against another new ACC addition, Virginia Tech.

After two years at Clemson, the native of Paramus, NJ decided to play closer to home and at a school where he thought he would get more playing time as a fullback. Coach Bowden wanted to move Ciurciu to linebacker, but Vince wanted to remain a running back.

After a year at Boston College as a red-shirt due to the NCAA transfer rule, Ciurciu became a starting linebacker with the Eagles. All Ciurciu did was lead the Eagles in tackles in 2001 with 87 and rank second on the club in tackles in 2002 with 102.

Boston College won 17 games in the two years he played in Boston, including a pair of wins over rival Notre Dame. A tri-captain as a senior in 2002, his final college game was against Toledo. The offensive coordinator of that Toledo team was current Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence.

Ciurciu has been successful in the NFL with the Panthers. He is now in his third year with that NFL team after signing as a free agent out of Boston College. Last week he had two tackles in Carolina’s win over the New England Patriots. So, last week he helped the NFL team closest to his first college (Clemson) defeat the NFL team closest to his second college (Boston College.).

Clemson to Meet Vanderbilt in 2012-13Pittsburgh Series Moved to 2010-11 The Clemson athletic department has announced that has signed a contract to meet Vanderbilt during the 2012 and 2013 football seasons. The 2012 game will be played in Nashville and the 2013 contest will be played at Clemson.

Vanderbilt is off to a 3-0 start this season with wins over Wake Forest, Arkansas and Mississippi. The Commodores are coached by Clemson graduate Bobby Johnson, who was a top defensive back for the Tigers from 1970-72. He led the Tigers in interceptions as a junior and senior.

Clemson and Vanderbilt have met four times previously and the Commodores hold a 3-1 advantage. All four of the previous contests have been played in Nashville. Clemson’s only win in the series took place in 1958 when an eight ranked Clemson team defeated Vanderbilt 12-7 on a three-yard run by Harvey White with just three seconds remaining. The last meeting was in 1960 when Vanderbilt came away with a 22-20 victory.

Clemson also announced Clemson will meet Pittsburgh in 2010 and 2011. The 2010 game will be at Pittsburgh, and the 2011 contest will be at Clemson. The series was earlier announced as being played in 2009 and 2011.

Downer Likely Out for Remainder of the Season Clemson tight end Cole Downer had surgery Saturday night to have his spleen removed after suffering an injury while making a reception in the fourth quarter of Clemson’s triple overtime loss to Miami (FL) at Death Valley. He will likely miss the remainder of the season.

Downer made a six-yard reception early in the fourth period, but was injured on the play and was helped to the sideline. After increasing stomach discomfort, he was taken to Oconee Hospital in Seneca, SC, where he underwent surgery to remove his spleen. The surgery was successful.

The senior from Chantilly, VA had scored his first career touchdown for the Tigers in the first half of the game on an eight-yard reception from Charlie Whitehurst. He had two receptions for 14 yards in the contest and 5-38 for the season. He lettered in 2004 as a reserve tight end and offensive tackle. He first attended Clemson in 2003 as a transfer from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

“We are really going to miss Cole Downer,” said Head Coach Tommy Bowden. “He has good hands, is an outstanding blocker and really fits what we are doing with this offense. He has been working very hard. This is a blow to our team.”

Clemson coaches voted Downer as the Offensive Player of the Week for the Miami (FL) game.

Clemson vs. Boston College Series ·Clemson holds a 7-5-2 advantage in the series with Boston College, a series that dates to the 1939 season and the January 1, 1940 Cotton Bowl. That was a landmark victory for the Clemson program, the school’s first bowl game and the school’s first ever win over a top 20 team. Boston College was ranked 11th in the nation entering the game. Clemson won 6-3 behind 115 yards rushing from Charlie Timmons and four pass deflections in the fourth quarter by Clemson legend Banks McFadden. ·This will be the 15th meeting between Clemson and Boston College. Only Miami (FL) has played Boston College more among ACC teams entering this year. ·Two of Clemson’s victories in the series took place during undefeated Tiger seasons. Clemson won 26-19 in 1948 on the way to a perfect 11-0 season, and won 35-14 in 1950 on the way to a 9-0-1 season. ·The last meeting between Clemson and Boston College took place in Boston in 1983, a 31-16 Eagles victory. Clemson had a 16-3 lead with 25 minutes left in the game, but the Eagles went on a 28-0 run to end the game behind Doug Flutie. Flutie was 20-36 for 223 yards and two touchdowns against a Clemson defense that featured All-American William Perry. The Eagles gained 504 yards of total offense on the night, 281 rushing and 223 passing. It was Clemson’s only loss in 1983 (9-1-1). ·The two teams tied the last time Boston College and Clemson met at Death Valley. The game was televised by CBS on a regional basis, the first CBS broadcast from Clemson Memorial Stadium. Clemson had a 14-0 lead at intermission, but sophomore quarterback Doug Flutie led Boston College back to take a 17-14 lead. The Tigers tied the game in the fourth quarter, then had a 43-yard attempt with eight seconds left to win, but Donald Igwebuike’s field goal drifted left and the game ended in a tie. Clemson won the total offense battle 370-343. The Tigers had 218 yards rushing led by Cliff Austin, who had 20-94. Flutie was 18-35 for 242 yards and a touchdown. Clemson’s Homer Jordan was 13-25 for 152 yards. Frank Magwood led Clemson receivers with 103 yards on six catches, the only 100-yard receiving game of his Clemson career. *Clemson had just two losses and two ties over a three year period from 1981-83. One of the losses and one of the ties came against Boston College in that 1982-83 period. ·Clemson has not beaten Boston College since 1958, a 34-12 victory at Clemson. ·The two teams played three games at famed Fenway Park in Boston, the home of the Boston Red Sox. Clemson won the first meeting there in 1941 by a 26-13 score. The same two teams met at Fenway the following year, and Boston College won 14-7. The two teams played to a 14-14 tie in 1953 at Fenway. So the series stands at 1-1-1 in games played at Fenway Park. *Clemson holds a 2-1-1 lead in games played at Death Valley.

Clemson vs. Boston College Series (7-5-2)

Year CU BC Rank (CU/BC) Site W-L CU BC
1939 8-1 9-1 12/11 N1 W 6 3
1941 3-0 1-1   A2 W 26 13
1942 1-1 1-0   A2 L 7 14
1947 1-0 0-0   A3 L 22 32
1948 1-0 0-0 13/NR A3 W 26 19
1949 2-4-1 1-4-1   H L 27 40
1950 5-0-1 0-6-1 13/NR A3 W 35 14
1951 4-2 1-5   H W 21 2
1952 1-4 3-1-1   A3 W 13 0
1953 1-0 0-0   A2 T 14 14
1958 6-2 6-2 16-NR H W 34 12
1960 5-3 2-5-1   A L 14 25
1982 0-1 1-0 16/ NR H T 17 17
1983 1-0 1-0   A L 16 31

N1-at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX A2 at Fenway Park, Boston, MA A3–at Braves Field, Boston, MA

Tigers Welcome ACC Television Network The Raycom/Jefferson Pilot television network will broadcast Saturday’s game with Boston College. That means a noon start, which brings a smile to Tommy Bowden’s face because the Tigers have played well in his career for games with early starts. In fact, Clemson has won six consecutive games that have been televised by Jefferson Pilot. The Tigers are 11-2 under Bowden in games broadcast by Jefferson Pilot with the only losses coming at Georgia Tech in 1999 and at South Carolina in 2001. Clemson hasn’t lost a home game broadcast on Jefferson Pilot since the 1998 NC State game.

Whitehurst Off to Efficient Start Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is off to a strong start to his final year, leading Clemson to consecutive victories over Texas A&M and Maryland. In the first three games of the season, Whitehurst has completed 63-96 for 651 yards and four touchdowns. He has thrown just one interception. His passing efficiency is 134.3 for the season, much improved over last year when had a 97.3 rating, and close to his sophomore year of 135.6.

In the victory at Maryland, Whitehurst completed 18-22 passes and the 81.8 completion percentage was fourth best in Clemson history given a minimum of 15 attempts, the second best of Whitehurst’s career. He had a 179.78 efficiency for that game, fourth best in his career.

The graduate student from Duluth, Georgia has had nine games in his career in which he has had an efficiency ratio of 150 or better and two of the top seven have come in the first two games with Rob Spence as his coordinator. Whitehurst had a 155.47 efficiency rating in the win over Texas A&M, the seventh best figure of his career, then had a 179.78 against Maryland, the fourth most efficient game of his career.

Charlie Whitehurst’s Best passing Efficiency Games

Year Opponent Com-Att-Yds-TD-Int Efficiency
2002 North Carolina 12-20-274-4-0 241.08
2003 Middle Tennessee 23-28-298-4-0 219.18
2003 South Carolina 18-26-302-4-1 209.88
2005 Maryland 18-22-178-2-0 179.78
2003 Furman 23-31-301-2-1 170.59
2002 Duke 34-52-420-4-0 157.67
2005 Texas A&M 14-19-185-0-0 155.47
2003 Florida State 17-27-272-1-1 152.39
2003 Duke 27-40-331-3-2 151-76

Whitehurst is a 20-game Winner Charlie Whitehurst became the sixth 20-game winner in Clemson history when the Tigers defeated Maryland 28-24 on September 10. He is the first Clemson quarterback to reach 20 wins in a career since Nealon Greene recorded 24 wins as a starter from 1994-97. Greene is still active in the game as the starting quarterback for Saskatchewan in the CFL.

Rodney Williams is the career leader with 32 victories, a total that is among the top 25 victories totals in NCAA history at the Division I level. Williams, a member of the Clemson Hall of Fame, guided the Tigers to three consecutive seasons of two losses from 1986-88 and won three bowl games as a starting quarterback. While Whitehurst can’t catch Williams on the career wins list, he can reach second ranked Greene with just four more wins. Other Clemson 20-game winners are Homer Jordan, Steve Fuller and Mike Eppley. Whitehurst is currently sixth on the victories list with DeChane Cameron and Woodrow Dantzler.

With the win over 17th ranked Texas A&M, Whitehurst now has five top 25 wins under his belt. He moved ahead of Homer Jordan, Mike Eppley and Nealon Greene in career wins over top 25 teams with that Texas A&M win. He trails only Williams, who had seven top 25 wins between the 1986-88 seasons. Whitehurst is 5-4 against ranked teams in his career (including 5-2 in his last seven), while Williams was 7-4. Whitehurst will have another opportunity when the Tigers face Miami (FL), who is 13th in both polls entering the game on Saturday.

Clemson’s Winningest Quarterbacks

Rk Player Years Record
1. Rodney Williams 1985-88 32-10-2
2. Nealon Greene 1994-97 24-16
3. Homer Jordan 1979-82 22-6-1
4. Steve Fuller 1975-78 21-11-3
  Mike Eppley 1980-84 21-5-1
6. Charlie Whitehurst 2002-05 20-12
7. DeChane Cameron 1988-91 19-4-1
  Woodrow Dantzler 1998-01 19-11
9. Harvey White 1957-59 18-7

Another Last Second Thriller Nine of the last 14 Clemson games, including all three this year, have been decided by seven points or less, and all on plays within the last three minutes of the game or in overtime. Clemson has won six of those nine close games with either pivotal offensive or defensive plays. The 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean that gave Clemson a 25-24 victory over Texas A&M came with just two seconds left and was the latest game-winning field goal by a Tiger player since David Treadwell’s 21-yard field goal with two seconds left best Georgia in 1987.

The Tigers followed that with the win at Maryland on a 38-yard run by Reggie Merriweather with just 2:58 left. The Clemson defense then forced Maryland to relinquish the ball with 47 seconds remaining, thanks to a sack by Gaines Adams. Miami then defeated Clemson in three overtimes.

Clemson has had many a close victory under Tommy Bowden. Since he became the head coach in 1999, Clemson has registered 10 victories in which it has overcome a deficit or a tie game to score the winning points in the fourth quarter. Eight of the 10 have come with offensive plays inside the last 23 seconds or in overtime.

Clemson Heart Stoppers the last Two Seasons (6-2)

Year Opponent Cu-Opp Winning Play Time
2004 Wake Forest 37-30 Whitehurst-Browning 11 pass 2nd OT
  Georgia Tech 24-28 Johnson 11 pass from Ball :11
  Maryland 10-7 R. Merriweather 2 run :23
  NC State 26-20 C. Bennett interception :00
  Miami (FL) 24-17 R. Merriweather 2 run OT
  Duke 13-16 Brooks 53 FG :00
2005 Texas A&M 25-24 Jad Dean 42 FG :02
  at Maryland 28-24 R. Merriweather 38 yard run 2:58
  Miami (FL) 30-36 (3OT) Moss 25-yard run 3rd OT  

Dean 21-25 on Field Goals in Career Clemson kicker Jad Dean had the greatest field goal kicking day in Clemson history when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M 25-24. The junior was a perfect 6-6 on field goals, including a 42-yarder with two seconds left to give the Tigers the one-point win. Dean was successful on attempts from 21, 21, 25, 18, 44 and 42 yards in breaking the single game record of five field goals set by Nelson Welch three times. Welch had five against NC State in 1991, Maryland in 1992 and North Carolina in 1994.

In addition to setting the Clemson record for field goals in a game, Dean also established a Clemson record for kick scoring points in a game with 19. He had one extra point in addition to the six field goals, breaking the record of 17 kick scoring points set by Welch in the game against Maryland in 1992.

Dean tied the ACC record for field goals with the performance. Josh McGee of North Carolina was 6-6 on field goals against Duke in 1999 and Vince Fusco of Duke was 6-7 on field goals against Clemson in 1976. His last field goal was from 57 yards, hit the cross bar and bounced over to tie the game at 18-18 at the final horn. Thus, two of the three ACC games in which a player has booted six field goals have come in games played at Death Valley.

Dean was the first Division I player to kick six field goals in a game since September 27, 2003 when Jonathan Nichols of Mississippi booted six against Texas Tech. Dean was just the third player to have six field goals in game in the 21st century and just the 18th to accomplish the feat in NCAA history dating to 1965 when Charley Gogolak of Princeton booted six against Rutgers.

Dean was just one field goal off the national record. Dale Klein of Nebraska had seven against Missouri on October 19, 1985 and Mike Prindle of Western Michigan had seven against Marshall on September 29, 1984.

The junior added three field goals against Miami (FL) and is now 9-10 for the year and 21 for 25 in his career. He has just four misses and all four have come against Miami (FL). He saw his consecutive made field goals streak stopped at 12 in the Miami (FL) game, but has made 15 straight in his career inside 40 yards.

Tigers 10-2 Week after Close Loss Under Bowden Clemson will play host to #25 Boston College this weekend after a difficult loss to Miami (FL), 36-30 in triple overtime. But, Tommy Bowden has had success bringing his team back from a difficult defeat. In his Clemson career he is 10-2 the game following a loss by seven points or less.

The only losses took place in 2000 when Clemson lost to Georgia Tech 31-28 (on a touchdown with seven seconds left), then lost at Florida State the next week, and last year at Texas A&M after a 28-24 loss to Georgia Tech. Clemson had a 4-0 record in Bowden’s first year the week after a close loss.

The victories the following week have been decisive as nine of the 10 have been by at least eight points and the average victory margin of those nine comeback wins has been 14 points per game. The last time Clemson was in this situation was last year. The Tigers lost 16-13 at Duke on a 53-yard field goal on the last play of the game, then defeated South Carolina 29-7.

The success in this area dates to Bowden’s first two games as Clemson coach. In his first game, the Tigers lost to Marshall 13-10, then defeated a top 20 Virginia team the next week 33-14.

Clemson Under Tommy Bowden Week after Loss by TD or Less

Year Close Loss   Next Game
1999 Marshall, 10-13 W Virginia, 33-14
  at NC State, 31-35 W at Maryland, 42-30
  Florida State, 14-17 W at Wake Forest, 12-3
  At Georgia Tech, 42-45 W at South Carolina, 31-21
2000 Georgia Tech, 28-31 L at Florida State, 7-54
2001 Virginia, 24-26 W at Georgia Tech, 47-44
  at South Carolina, 15-20 W Duke, 59-31
2002 at Georgia, 28-31 W Louisiana Tech, 33-13
  at Virginia, 17-22 W Wake Forest, 31-23
2003 at NC State, 15-17 W N. Carolina, 36-28
2004 Georgia Tech, 24-28 L at Texas A&M, 6-27
  at Duke, 13-16 W South Carolina, 29-7

Bring a Pillow The Clemson vs. Miami (FL) game took 4:10 to play, the longest game in Clemson history in terms of overtimes and real time. The previous long was the 4:05 it took to play the Peach Bowl at the end of the 2003 season. That game, however, had a 27-minute halftime, five minutes longer than a normal game.

As you can see by the list below, of the 11 longest games in Clemson history, eight have taken place since Tommy Bowden became Clemson’s head coach.

Clemson’s Longest Games in terms of Real Time

Season Opponent Score Time
2005 Miami (FL) (3OT) 30-36 4:10
2003 #Tennessee 27-14 4:05
2004 Wake Forest (2OT) 37-30 3:58
1992 at Maryland 23-53 3:50
2004 Georgia Tech 24-28 3:48
1999 at NC State 31-35 3:45
2002 at Duke 34-31 3:45
1997 Florida State 28-35 3:44
2001 at NC State 45-37 3:43
2001 $Louisiana Tech 49-24 3:43
1998 NC State 39-46 3:42

#at Peach Bowl, $Humanitarian Bowl

Bowden Looks for Ninth Top 25 Win Clemson has won five of its last eight games against top 25 teams, including three wins over top 10 teams over the last two years plus three game. Clemson’s win over 17th ranked Texas A&M gave Tommy Bowden eight top 25 wins in his career, third in Clemson history among head coaches.

Danny Ford had 20 top 25 wins in his career between 1978-89, still the Clemson record, while Frank Howard had 11 top 25 wins in his career between 1940-69. Howard might have had more top 25 wins than he is credited for because the AP polls only ranked a top 10 from 1961-68 and poll point totals for teams 11-25 don’t exist. Bowden went ahead of Ken Hatfield with the win over Texas A&M. Hatfield had seven wins over top 25 teams during his tenure from 1990-93.

The Boston College game will be the third top 25 opponent Clemson has played in the first four games of the season, all at home. Clemson also played host to three top 25 opponents in 2003. Clemson has never played four top 25 teams at home in the same season. Florida State comes to Clemson on November 12.

Merriweather Sets Clemson Record Clemson running back Reggie Merriweather scored the game winning touchdown for the Tigers in the 28-24 win at Maryland on September 10. His 38-yard jaunt around right end on a third-and-seven play with 2:58 left marked the second straight year and third time in his career that he had scored a game winning touchdown with three minutes or less left in game. In fact, it was the third time he had done it in a seven-game period.

Merriweather scored from two yards out with 23 seconds left to give Clemson a 10-7 win over Maryland in 2004, then scored from a yard out in overtime against Miami just a couple of weeks later. Clemson kept the Hurricanes out of the endzone and Clemson had the victory.

When Merriweather scored his game winner at Maryland he became the first player in Clemson history to score three fourth-quarter game winning touchdowns in a career. Prior to last Saturday, Merriweather was joined in the Tiger record books in that category by Fred Cone, Doug Cline, George Usry, Lowndes Shingler and Jerry Butler. Merriweather is now one game-winning play behind David Treadwell. Treadwell booted a fourth-quarter game winning field goal for Clemson four times in his career, including consecutive years within the last 10 seconds against Georgia (1986-87).

Clemson New Orleans Duo Leads Way at Maryland Two starting members of the Clemson football team from New Orleans, LA played at a high level in the victory over Maryland. Both had to be playing with distractions, as their families have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Starting wide receiver Curtis Baham and starting linebacker Nick Watkins have accounted for all of their relatives, but their family homes and cherished belongings are probably gone for ever.

Both put the distractions behind them at Maryland and had career games. Baham caught a pair of touchdown passes, a first in his career, and the first Clemson player to do that since 2003 (Derrick Hamilton vs. Duke). His day included TD catches of six and 51 yards. The 51-yarder brought Clemson to within three points in the fourth quarter and it was the longest catch of his career by 27 yards.

Baham continued his fine play against Miami and had five catches for 87 yards. That was a career high in yardage for Baham, who caught a five-yard scoring pass in the first overtime on a fourth-down play. He is now averaging a team best 19.3 yards per catch and is eighth in the ACC in receptions per game.

Watkins was the second leading tackler on the Clemson defense with a career high 13 tackles, including a team best 10 first hits. His afternoon included six special teams tackles, including five solo stops on punts and kickoffs. That was the second highest single game special teams tackle total in school history, trailing only the seven special teams tackles recorded by Chad Speck against Georgia Tech in 1999.

Waters Records Season High Anthony Waters had a team best 14 tackles in the win over Maryland. The junior from Lake View, SC had nine first hits and five assists in the four-point Clemson victory. That was Waters career high in the tackle column by four, as his previous high came last year against Georgia Tech. That was also the second game of the season and a game that was decided by a 28-24 score. The good news was that Clemson won by that score this time instead of suffering a difficult loss.

The 14 tackles at Maryland rank by Waters rank as just the second double figure tackle game of his career. His day also included a career high four tackles for loss. He added a team best 11 tackles against Miami (FL) and is now the top tackler on the Clemson team with 30.

Adams Pressuring Quarterback Gaines Adams was moved to the “Bandit” end position last spring, as defensive coordinator Vic Koenning sought to take advantage of the 6-5, 260-pounder’s athletic ability. Adams showed that athletic ability in the win over Maryland recording a career high eight tackles, including four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Adams, who played eight-man football at Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, SC for former South Carolina quarterback Steve Tanneyhill, made a key sack on Maryland’s final drive. With the Terps on the Clemson 40 with a second-and-10 and just 1:45 left, Adams sacked Terps quarterback Sam Hollenbach. Clemson then held Maryland on third and fourth down, clinching the Tiger victory.

Two of Top 10 NFL Cornerback Prospects on Display According to collegefootballnews.com, two of the top 10 cornerback prospects for the 2005 NFL draft will be on display when Clemson faces Boston College. The internet site ranks Clemson cornerback Tye Hill as the fifth best NFL prospect at cornerback in the nation. It also lists Will Blackman of Boston College fourth.

Hill is off to a solid start with two takeaways and a caused fumble in the first three games. He had a fumble recovery in the win over Texas A&M and an interception in the win over Maryland. That interception brought a smile to Hill’s face because he never had an interception last year. He did have a Clemson record 21 passes broken up and ranked third in the nation in passes defensed. His interception at Maryland was the third of his career and his first since the 2003 Florida State game. He had five tackles, a caused fumble and a pass broken up against Miami (FL) and was a big reason Clemson allowed just five yards per pass attempt against the Hurricanes.

One thing Hill has been doing all fall is working on his catching. During early stages of practice and even in pregame warm-ups, Hill will go through drills with the wide receivers to improve his pass catching abilities.

It is interesting to note by the list below that the ACC is the cradle of cornerbacks. No less than five of the top seven cornerbacks listed are from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Top NFL Prospects at Cornerback (Collegefootballnews.com)

Rk Player School
1. Jimmy Williams Virginia Tech
2. Alan Zemaitis Penn State
3. Ashton Youboty Ohio State
4. Will Blackman Boston College
5. Tye Hill Clemson
6. Kelly Jennings Miami (FL)
7. Devin Hester Miami (FL)
8. Charles Gordon Kansas
9. Anwar Phillips Penn State
10. DeMario Minter Georgia

Hill Preseason Honors for 2005 *Writers All-America Watch List *Honorable mention All-American by collegefootballnews.com *First-team All-ACC by Street & Smith *First-team All-ACC by Rivals.com *First-team All-ACC by collegefootballnews.com *First-team Preseason All-ACC by ACC Sportswriters Association *Second-team All-ACC by Athlon *Second-team All-ACC by Lindy’s *Second-team All-ACC by Phil Steele *#5 NFL prospect at cornerback by collegefootballnews.com *#6 Best Cornerback in nation by collegefootballnews.com *#7 Cornerback in the nation by Lindy’s * #16 Cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele *#17 Best Player in the ACC by collegefootballnews.com *Clemson’s “Star of the team” by collegefootballnews.com

Four of Six Home Games Already Sold Out Clemson plays six home games this season and at least four will be sellouts. The opener with Texas A&M was a pregame sellout and over 80,000 people attended the contest. The Miami (FL) game is also a pregame sellout, as is the Florida State game on November 12. The Boston College game is sold out. Tickets still remain for the Temple game on October 22 and the Duke game on November 5.

Clemson averaged 78,823 fans last year and ranked 17th in the nation in average attendance. Clemson has averaged at least 76,000 fans in each of the six seasons of the Tommy Bowden era and it is obvious that this year will make it number seven. Interest in Clemson football has been strong for many years. Clemson has ranked in the top 20 in the nation in average home attendance ever seasons since 1981. Clemson’s highest national ranking in attendance was fifth in 1988 when the school drew a season record 81,750 fans per game.Overcoming Double Digit Deficits Clemson had a remarkable comeback victory at Maryland on September 10. It marked just the third time in school history that Clemson overcame a double digit deficit in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Tigers trailed Maryland 24-14 with under eight minutes left in the game. But Curtis Baham caught a 51-yard scoring pass from Charlie Whitehurst with 7:35 left and Reggie Merriweather scored from 38 yards out with 2:58 remaining to give Clemson the 28-24 lead and victory. Clemson overcame a 10-point deficit against Miami (FL), but did not win the game. The Tigers sent the game into overtime with a 27-yard field goal by Jad Dean with 15 seconds left.

The only other occasions Clemson overcame a double digit fourth quarter deficit to gain victory took place in 2002 at Duke and 1980 at Virginia. Thus two of the three double digit fourth quarter comebacks in Clemson history have taken place under Tommy Bowden.

As far as a double digit deficit at any point in a game, Clemson has now achieved that comeback 22 times. Bowden has five of the 22 double digit comeback victories. It is interesting to note that 16 of the 22 have taken place on the road.

Clemson’s Greatest Comebacks to win or Tie

Date Opponent Site Score Def Final
10-10-92 Virginia A 0-28 28 29-28
10-21-00 North Carolina A 0-17 17 38-24
9-24-66 Virginia H 18-35 17 40-35
11-2-02 Duke A 10-24 #14 34-31
11-6-04 Miami (FL) A 3-17 14 24-17
10-11-80 Virginia A 10-24 #14 27-24
11-17-62 Maryland A 0-14 14 17-14
9-26-53 Boston College A 0-14 14 14-14
10-13-73 Virginia H 0-13 13 32-27
10-16-76 Duke H 0-12 12 #18-18
9-29-01 Georgia Tech A 7-19 12 47-44 (OT)
11-22-97 South Carolina A 3-14 11 47-21
10-20-90 NC. State A 3-14 11 24-17
11-23-85 South Carolina A 3-14 11 24-17
9-10-05 Maryland A 14-24 #10 28-24
11-20-93 South Carolina A 3-13 10 16-13
9-25-93 Georgia Tech H 3-13 10 16-13
10-12-91 Virginia H 7-17 10 20-20
11-17-79 Notre Dame A 0-10 10 16-10
10-5-74 Georgia H 0-10 10 28-24
10-4-69 Georgia Tech A 0-10 10 21-10
10-24-38 Tulane A 0-10 10 13-10

#Denotes fourth quarter deficit

Whitehurst Has Seven Fourth-Quarter Comebacks When Charlie Whitehurst led Clemson to a 28-24 victory at Maryland it marked the seventh time in his career that he has taken Clemson to victory after the Tigers had trailed at some point in the fourth quarter. Clemson has overcome a fourth quarter double digit deficit just three times in history and Whitehurst has been the quarterback for two of those three. In addition to the Maryland game on September 10, he led Clemson to victory at Duke in 2002 as a freshman after Clemson trailed 24-10 in the fourth quarter. Four of the comebacks have taken place at Clemson and three on the road.

It should be noted that Clemson actually has eight fourth quarter comebacks during this time period (2002-present). Clemson overcame a 24-22 deficit in the fourth quarter against Texas A&M in the 2005 season opener, but Will Proctor engineered that game winning drive when Whitehurst was injured. Preliminary research indicates that Whitehurst and Joel Klatt of Colorado are the only active quarterbacks with seven fourth quarter comeback victories over their careers.

Charlie Whitehurst Fourth Quarter Comebacks

Date Opponent Site Largest 4th Q Def. Final
2002 Duke A 10-24, 13:09 left 34-31
  South Carolina H 13-20, 3:04 (3rd) 27-20
2003 Virginia H 10-17, 9:39 30-27
2004 Wake Forest H 20-27, 6:35 37-30
  Maryland H 3-7, 2:50 10-7
  Miami (FL) A 10-17, 1:05 (3rd) 24-17
2005 Maryland A 14-24, 8:37 left 28-24

Note: The time left is the time on the clock when Clemson took over the ball on offense.

Longest Drive in Clemson HistoryIt appears that long drives will be a hallmark of this Clemson offense under coordinator Rob Spence. In the opening game of the season against Texas A&M, the Tigers had a 96-yard drive that led to a field goal, the sixth longest drive in Clemson history in terms of yardage. Clemson finished that game with 37:58 in terms of time of possession, the largest time of possession total for the Tigers in the seven years of the Tommy Bowden era.

Then, against Maryland, Clemson’s opening drive was 17 plays, 75 yards, a drive that took 9:47 off the clock. That was the longest drive in Clemson history in terms of time of possession. The previous long was 9:34 against North Carolina in 1992.

Clemson’s Longest Drives–Time of Possession

Time Date W-L Score Opponent
9:47 9-10-2005 W 28-24 at Maryland
9:34 11-7-1992 W 40-7 North Carolina
8:49 9-5-1998 W 33-0 Furman
8:48 9-26-1992 L 16-20 at Georgia Tech
8:47 11-20-1987 L 7-20 at South Carolina
8:39 10-7-1978 W 38-7 Virginia Tech
8:15 10-28-1995 W 24-3 at Georgia Tech
8:13 11-21-1959 W 33-31 Wake Forest
8:13 9-9-2000 W 62-9 Missouri
8:11 9-19-1970 W 27-17 Virginia
8:09 11-2-1996 W 35-3 Maryland
8:00 10-7-1989 W 34-20 Virginia

 

Clemson’s Longest Drives–Yardage

Yds Date W-L Score Opponent
99 9-17-1988 L 21-24 Florida State
99 10-24-1998 L 23-28 at Duke
98 12-31-1993 W 14-13 Kentucky
97 11-16-1974 W 28-9 Virginia
97 10-14-2000 W 35-14 Maryland
96 9-3-2005 W 25-24 Texas A& M
96 11-17-2001 L 15-20 at South Carolina
95 10-2-1982 W 24-6 Kentucky
95 9-7-1995 W 19-3 Furman
95 9-28-1996 W 21-10 Wake Forest

Last Second Wins under BowdenThe win at Maryland gave Clemson consecutive thrilling fourth-quarter comeback victories. It marked the 10th time since 2000 that Clemson has won a game with an offensive or defensive play with under three minutes remaining to gain victory. Nine of the 10 have been plays have taken place within the last 30 seconds of the game. Nine of the 10 listed below are offensive scores. The only defensive play listed is Charles Bennett’s interception at the Clemson goal line on the last play of the game against NC State last season.

Whitehurst, Baham Offspring of NFL PlayersClemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw two touchdown passes to Curtis Baham in Clemson’s 28-24 victory over Maryland. It was a passing combination that has strong football genes. Both Whitehurst and Baham are offspring of NFL players. Baham’s father Curtis played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1987. He was a star player at Tulane prior to his year in the NFL. Whitehurst is the son of former Green Bay Packers quarterback David Whitehurst. The elder Whitehurst played seven years in the NFL. During that time he played in 54 games, completed 51.4 percent of his passes for 6205 yards and 28 scores. He was the Green Bay starter for most of the 1978 and 1979 seasons when he passed for over 2000 yards each season.

Fourteen Freshmen Made Debut vs. Texas A&MClemson played 57 men against Texas A&M in the season opener and 14 of them were first-year or red-shirt freshmen. The list included eight first-year freshmen, the most first-year freshmen to play in the opening game for the Tigers since 1995 when Tommy West played nine in the opening game of the season against Western Carolina. The same freshmen list also played at Maryland.

The first-year freshmen who played against Texas A&M included starting running back James Davis, wide receivers Rendrick Taylor and Tyler Grisham, defensive end Philip Merling, linebackers Antonio Clay and Josh Miller, defensive end Jock McKissic and defensive back Haydrian Lewis. The red-shirt freshmen who played for the first time for Clemson included wide receiver Aaron Kelly, defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson, defensive back Chris Clemons, safety Michael Hamlin, special teams players Cortney Vincent, and Akeem Robinson.

Clemson’s 2005 freshman class was regarded as among the best at Clemson in many years and among the best in the nation according to many services. In the 24 years of the red-shirt rule (including this season), Clemson has now played 132 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.50 per season. Fifty-six of the first-year freshmen have been offensive players, while 72 were defensive players and four have been kickers. Clemson played three offensive first-year freshmen and five defensive first-year freshmen against Texas A&M.

Since Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 34 first-year freshmen, 12 on offense, 20 on defense and two special teams. That is an average of 4.86 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden is a bit below the Clemson average for the last 24 years. The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985. That year Danny Ford played six first-year freshmen on offense and five on defense. The 1994 Clemson team under Tommy West played 10 first-year freshmen, including a record nine on offense.

The most successful Clemson team to play a lot of freshmen is the 1995 Tiger team. That year Clemson played nine first-year freshmen on the way to an 8-4 season. The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson tam that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season. The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is nine, in 2001, just one more than what he played against Texas A&M. That year Bowden played three on offense and six on defense on the way to a 7-5 season.

Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 24 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller). Bowden already has had two first-year freshmen earn All-America honors. Justin Miller (2002) and Barry Richardson (2004) were both named to the Football Writers first-team Freshman All-American team since Bowden has been the head coach.

Bowden First-Year Freshman Participants 1999: (5)–David Ellis (LB), Rodney Feaster (LB), Brian Mance (DB), Bernard Rambert (RB), Rodney Thomas (LB) 2000: (4)–Aaron Hunt (PK), Yusef Kelly (RB), John Leake (LB), Ronnie Thomas (WR) 2001: (9)–Eric Coleman (DT), Roscoe Crosby (WR), Airese Currie (WR), Moe Fountain (DE), Ben Hall (TE), Leroy Hill (LB), Tavaghn Monts (DB), Travis Pugh (FS), Eric Sampson (LB) 2002: (1)–Justin Miller (CB) 2003: (5)–Tramaine Billie (SS), Jad Dean (PK), Marion Dukes (OT), Sergio Gilliam (DB), Brandon Pilgrim (OG) 2004: (2)–La’Donte Harris (WR), Barry Richardson (OT) 2005: (8)–James Davis (RB), Rendrick Taylor (WR), Tyler Grisham (WR), Philip Merling (DE), Antonio Clay (LB), Josh Miller (LB), Jock McKissic

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