Feb. 20, 2009
Clemson, SC – The TCU Horned Frogs will play at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 26, 2009 according to a schedule announcement by both schools on Friday afternoon. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1965, and will be the 50-year anniversary of the first meeting at the 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl.
TCU replaces Central Michigan, who had been previously announced as Clemson’s opponent on September 26. The game with TCU is a one-game contract.
This is just the second time in the last 20 years that a non-conference team ranked in the top 10 in the nation the previous year will play the Tigers in Death Valley. The only other time took place in 2003 when Georgia came to Clemson after finishing third in the final polls in 2002.
The Horned Frogs under Coach Gary Patterson finished seventh in both the AP and USA Today polls in 2008 after posting an 11-2 record. The two losses were to Oklahoma and Utah, teams that finished in the top five of both polls in 2008. TCU finished the season with a thrilling 17-16 victory over previously undefeated Boise State in its bowl game.
The number-seven final national ranking for TCU last year was the highest for the program since 1959 when it was also ranked seventh in the final AP poll. That year, Clemson defeated TCU in the first Bluebonnet Bowl by a 23-7 score. It was the highest ranked team Clemson head coach Frank Howard defeated in his 30 years with the Tigers.
TCU defeated Clemson in 1964 in Fort Worth, TX by a 14-10 score, then the next season the Tigers won the only previous meeting between the two teams at Clemson Memorial Stadium by a 3-0 score. Thus, Clemson leads the series 2-1.
TCU had its third 11-win season in the last four years in 2008 when it led the nation in total defense and rush defense, and ranked second in scoring defense and fourth in pass efficiency defense. Clemson and TCU were two of just nine schools nationally to rank in the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense last season. The 2009 TCU defense will be led by first-team All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes, who led the nation in sacks last year with 1.15 per game.
TCU returns 46 lettermen and 10 starters from the 2008 team that lost only to Oklahoma (35-10) and Utah (13-10). TCU ranked 12th in the nation in rushing offense and 21st in scoring offense last year. The program has won 41 games over the last four years, the most wins in any four-year period in TCU history.
Patterson has led TCU to five 10-win seasons in the last seven years, including four 11-win campaigns in the past six seasons. No other coach in TCU history has more than two 10-win campaigns. He has won four consecutive bowl games.
“Our schedule just got a lot tougher,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “TCU finished in the top 10 in the nation last year. This is a program that has been very good for some time under Gary Patterson. It is a game I know our fans will be excited about because this is one of the top programs in the nation, especially on defense.
“It will be a great opportunity for our program to evaluate how we stand against the best in the nation. When you look at our September schedule it is obvious we better be ready to play at the outset. “
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