Oct. 18, 2000
By Bernie Merritt Clemson Sports InformationThe Maryland Game Program – October 14, 2000
What ACC school has Clemson played the most consecutive games against? The first team that probably comes to mind was N.C. State. The Tigers have played the Wolfpack 69 times, more than any other school in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the second most out of any school behind South Carolina (97). Then there is Wake Forest, which the Tigers have met 65 times. But still, neither of those series has been played consecutively for a record amount of time. Run out of guesses?
Well, let me give you just one more hint.
The team’s colors are red, white, black and gold and one of the most famous people to play football at the school is Boomer Esiason.
That’s right, today’s opponent: the University of Maryland Terrapins. Clemson and the Terps have gone at it on the gridiron consecutively since 1952, with today’s game making the 49th time the two have hooked up on the playing field. Clemson leads the series 26-20-2 overall and leads 14-10 at Clemson (Memorial Stadium) and 11-9-1 at Maryland (Byrd Stadium). The two schools have also played in Baltimore three times (1-1-1). However, until recently, the Terps have dominated the series.
Before 1985, Maryland held a 19-14-1 series advantage, with winning streaks of six, four and three games as well as three two-game winning streaks. But since that time, has won 12 of 14 meetings including the last seven games to take the overall lead in the series. During that time the Tigers have shutout the Terrapins three straight games and did not allow a Maryland touchdown until last season’s 42-30 victory. But it hasn’t always been that easy.
Maryland started the series in 1952 by winning the first four games including the first three by shutout and always led the series from 1971 to 1993. Clemson gained its first victory of the series with a 26-7 win at home in the 1957 season. The Tigers won again the next season 8-0 though Maryland would win five of the next seven. From 1966 to 1977, the two teams split the series evenly with each team winning six in a row. Clemson started its six-game streak in 1966 with a 14-10 victory at Maryland. Over the next three years, the Terps only scored one touchdown with the last two games ending in a shutout. Maryland started its own six-game streak in 1972 and pretty much dominated the 1970s winning eight of the 11 meetings. The Terrapins shutout the Tigers 41-0, 20-0 and 19-0 in the ’70s. Maryland averaged 27 points a game in the eight wins while holding the Tigers to only 7.5 points in those eight games.
The 1980s saw the series grow in terms of rivalry, as both teams were constantly ranked in the top 25. Each team finished the season with a winning record almost every year. During the ’80s Clemson entered the contests with Maryland with a winning record every season with an average of 6.4 wins. The Tigers entered the game with fewer than six victories only three times. Maryland, on the other hand, averaged almost five wins before entering the game with Clemson. The Terps entered the game with fewer than six wins five times and entered the contest with a losing record in only three of the 10 games.
Since the 1980 season, the series has been also been known as an offensive showcase of sorts. In 1983, Clemson scored 52 points in a game at Death Valley which stood as the series record until 1992 when the Terps scored 53 in a one-point win at Byrd Stadium. In the 10-game stretch from ’83 to ’92, the winning team scored more than 30 points in every game but one, which was an 18-17 Clemson win in 1990. The victorious squad scored 40 points four times and 50 points twice.
The trend has continued somewhat with Clemson winning the last seven by margins of 30 points or more once, twenty points or more twice and ten points or more four times. Last years 42-30 win was the closest the Terrapins have been since a 20-9 Clemson victory at Maryland in the 1997 season. That 11-point margin of victory was the smallest for the series since the 18-17 Clemson win in 1990.
Clemson’s recent overwhelming success in the Maryland series is something the Tigers have always enjoyed in Homecoming games. Yes, today is Homecoming and Parents Day and the Tigers will look to improve on their overall record of 25-2-2 in those games against the Terps. The only Tiger loses in a Homecoming game have been to Georgia Tech in 1989 and Virginia in 1995. But the Tigers will need to stop the Terrapins most potent offensive machine, running back LaMont Jordan. The senior tailback scored four touchdowns in last year’s loss to the Tigers. The Terps will also look to improve on their past performances in Death Valley. Maryland has scored only two touchdowns in the last 13 games at Death Valley, with their last touchdown coming in a 40-7 Clemson victory in 1991.
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