Sept. 11, 2006
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Clemson vs. Florida State Series
Florida State has a 15-4 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970, but the Tigers have won two of the last three. Both wins have come at Clemson and this game will be played in Tallahassee, where Clemson has not won since 1989.
Clemson has four wins in the series, two in Tallahassee (1976 and 1989) and two in Clemson (2003 and 2005). Florida State has a 7-2 record at Clemson and an 8-2 record in Tallahassee.
Florida State had won 11 in a row in the series prior to Clemson’s win in 2003. Those were the first 11 games of the series when FSU joined the ACC (1992). The Seminoles have won seven in a row in Tallahassee and the average score has been 43-9 (299-63 overall score). Florida State has scored at least 41 points in each of the last four games between the two teams in Tallahassee. That includes 54 in a 54-7 Florida State victory in 2000, Bowden’s worst defeat as a head coach.
Florida State has been ranked in the top 20 in all 15 games the Seminoles have played against the Tigers since they joined the ACC. That includes this year as Florida State is ninth in AP and 10th by USA Today. Florida State has just 11 ACC losses since they joined the league and they are now within one ACC championship of tying Clemson’s record of 13.
Clemson will attempt to become just the second ACC school to defeat Florida State in consecutive years. NC State is the only school to do it, gaining victories in 2001 and 2002 behind Phillip Rivers, current starting quarterback of the San Diego Chargers. The only quarterback to defeat Florida State twice on his home turf is Clemson’s Charlie Whitehurst, who is now the backup quarterback of the San Diego Chargers.
This could have been a battle of top 25 teams had Clemson held on to defeat Boston College last week. But the Tigers are 26th in the latest Associated Press poll and 27th in the latest USA Today poll. Overall, there have been six meetings in the series in which both teams have been in the top 25 of at least one poll. Clemson is 1-5 in those meetings with the only win coming in 1989. Both Clemson wins in recent years (2003 and 2005), the Tigers have been unranked entering the game.
This is the eighth Bowden Bowl and Bobby Bowden has a 5-2 advantage over his son Tommy Bowden in the previous seven. But, as stated above, Tommy has won two of the last three. This is the only recorded series in Division I college football history in which father has coached against son.
Here is a short summary of each of the first seven Bowden Bowls:
1999 – The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as an all-time record crowd of 86,092 attended the game. That record will probably stand for many years due to existing fire codes at Clemson Memorial Stadium. In addition to the hype concerning the first coaching match-up of father vs. son, Bobby Bowden was going for his 300th career victory. He got the win with a struggle, 17-14. It was the closest the Seminoles came to losing in their 1999 National Championship season. Clemson had two offensive touchdowns to Florida State’s one and the Florida State 17 points were the fewest scored by the Seminoles in 1999. Clemson drove to the FSU 25 with two minutes left, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Tony Lazzara was tipped at the line of scrimmage and FSU ran out the clock from there.
2000 – Florida State won the second meeting in Tallahassee by a 54-7 score. Clemson entered the game with an 8-1 record and #10 national ranking, while FSU was fourth in the nation. It was just the third meeting of top 10 teams in ACC history. Clemson was coming off a 31-28 last second loss to Georgia Tech that had broken an eight-game winning streak, the longest for the Tigers under Tommy Bowden. Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against the Tigers, including an opponent record 521 through the air. Florida State running back Davy Ford, the brother of current Clemson receiver Tommy Bowden coached Clemson team.
2001 – In a game at Death Valley, Clemson gained 463 yards of total offense, its high total ever against Florida State, but still lost 41-27. The Tigers could not stop freshman quarterback Chris Rix, who threw for 369 yards, leading FSU to 557 yards of total offense. Woody Dantzler kept it interesting with 336 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as FSU won for the sixth straight time under Bobby Bowden in Death Valley. His six wins are the most by a Clemson opponent in the facility that dates to 1942. Clemson ran a fake punt for a touchdown, but the play was called back because Clemson only had 10 men on the field (not enough on the line of scrimmage).
2002 – Florida State came away with a 48-31 victory in a game that was televised on a Thursday night in Tallahassee by ESPN. Clemson’s 31 points were the most for the Tigers in Tallahassee since 1989. Clemson won the total offense battle, 441-386, as Willie Simmons had a career high 343 yards of offense. Simmons will be making the trip to the 2006 game as a video graduate assistant on the Clemson staff. J.J. McKelvey had five catches for 117 yards to help the offense. Florida State got a 97-yard kickoff return from Leon Washington and Greg Jones had 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Clemson did successfully execute an on-side kick, still the only on-side kick for the Tigers since 1979.
2003 – Clemson finally defeated Bobby Bowden in Death Valley with a 26-10 victory. He had been 6-0 at Clemson prior to this game. It was the second of what would be just three losses for Florida State in 2003. They were coming off a 38-0 win at Notre Dame, and Clemson was coming off a 45-17 loss at Wake Forest. Florida State was ranked third in the nation entering the game and that is still the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards to lead Clemson as Bobby Bowden suffered the lost on his birthday.
2004 – Justin Miller set an NCAA record with 282 kickoff return yards, but the eighth ranked Seminoles defeated Clemson 41-22 in Tallahassee. Clemson had five turnovers on offense and gained just 173 yards. The Seminoles had 33 more plays that Clemson. However, it was still a 24-22 game with four minutes left in the third period. But, FSU scored the last 17 points of the game. Leon Washington’s 35-yard touchdown run in the third period was the key.
2005 – Clemson won for the second time in three years with a 35-14 victory at Death Valley. Clemson scored 21 points in the third period to blow the game open. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 269 yards on his senior day and Tommy Bowden in his Clemson career.
Last Year vs. Florida StateClemson 35, Florida State 14
Clemson scored 21 third-quarter points to break open a tie game at halftime on its way to a 35-14 win over #16 Florida State. It was the Tigers’ second straight win over the Seminoles in Death Valley. It was Senior Day for Clemson’s senior class, including quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who had also had quarterback Clemson to the win over the Seminoles in 2003.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown. Whitehurst completed 6-7 passes on the drive, with his final attempt a touchdown strike to Chansi Stuckey from 22 yards.
Florida State picked up a first down on its opening possession before being forced to punt. Stuckey raced up to catch the short punt by Chris Hall, but muffed the punt before falling on his own fumble.
The Tiger offense went right back to work with James Davis beginning the next drive with an 11-yard run. After Whitehurst hit Stuckey for a 36-yard pass, Davis scored on a one-yard plunge.
Florida State responded with a scoring drive of its own, moving 47 yards in eight plays, with Gary Cismesia connecting on a 31-yard field goal to get the Seminoles on the scoreboard.
The Seminole defense forced Clemson into a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and regained possession at its own 48. On first down, Weatherford hit tight end Matt Henshaw for 26 yards. Three more plays produced only one yard, and Cismesia came on and drilled another field goal, this time from 47 yards.
The two teams traded punts before Clemson began its next drive at its own 33. The Tigers could not pick up a first down, and Cole Chason’s punt was blocked by Lawrence Timmons and recovered in the endzone for a touchdown by Geno Hayes. Weatherford hit De’Cody Fagg over the middle for the two-point conversion, tying the score 14-14.
The Seminoles appeared to be on their way to take their first lead of the day to open the third quarter, but a nine-play drive was ended when Michael Hamlin picked off Weatherford.
On third-and-eight, Whitehurst hit Stuckey for 20 yards to the Seminole 34. Two plays later, Whitehurst found Stuckey again for 32 yards on a screen pass for a score. It was his fourth receiving touchdown in two games, after going the first 71 catches of his career without a touchdown catch.
Two penalties helped move the Seminoles backwards on their next drive, and Stuckey returned Hall’s punt nine yards to the Clemson 48.
The Tigers followed with an eight-play, 52-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by Davis. Seven of the eight plays on the drive gained at least six yards.
After an exchange of punts, Florida State began its next drive at its own 20. Weatherford’s pass on first down was intercepted by C.J. Gaddis, and he returned it 23 yards to the Seminole 11.
On third down from the four, Whitehurst lofted a pass to the back pylon and Aaron Kelly made a diving grab. Initially, Kelly was ruled out of bounds. But after a replay review, he was ruled to have been in bounds for a touchdown. Dean’s extra point gave Clemson a 35-14 lead. The 21 third-quarter points were the most by Clemson against the Seminoles since they scored 21 in a quarter in 1989.
There were no more scoring threats in the game and Clemson came away with a 35-14 victory. The Tigers allowed only 226 yards of total offense to Florida State, who came into the game leading the ACC in that category.
Whitehurst had a day to remember in his final game at Death Valley, completing 21 of 32 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Stuckey caught 11 passes for 156 yards and two scores. Stuckey became the first wideout in Clemson history to have at least two touchdown receptions in consecutive games. Davis added 65 yards on the ground on 17 carries to earn ACC Rookie-of-the-Week honors.
Clemson was led defensively by Duane Coleman’s nine tackles. Charles Bennett had three tackles for loss, and Gaines Adams added 2.5 tackles for loss. Also, Brandon Cannon had two sacks to help give the Tigers six total sacks and 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
It was the fourth win over a ranked team for Clemson’s senior class at home, as they finished their careers with a 20-6 mark at Death Valley.
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