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Clemson vs. Central Michigan Football Game Notes

Oct. 15, 2007

Complete Clemson vs. Central Michigan Game NotesDownload Free Acrobat Reader

Successful on Homecoming Saturday will be Homecoming at Clemson when Central Michigan comes to town. It has historically been a celebration that has included a Clemson victory nearly 75 percent of the time since its first celebration in 1922. Clemson has an overall record of 61-19-3 for its previous 83 Homecoming games, a .753 winning percentage. That includes a 31-3-2 record (.889) on Homecoming games since the 1971 season.

The first homecoming game at Clemson was in 1922, a 21-0 loss to Centre. Clemson was actually 0-4-1 through its first five homecoming games, so it is surprising that the tradition continued. Clemson defeated Auburn in 1927 by a 3-0 score for its first homecoming victory.

There is no record of a homecoming game in 1930 or 1938, but the event has been held in conjunction with a football game every year since 1939, even through the war years.

Clemson has just three losses on Homecoming since 1971, and one of the three was against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets upset a 14th ranked Clemson team 30-14 in Danny Ford’s final year as Clemson head coach. That was the last loss for Ford as Clemson head coach and the only time he lost a homecoming game in 11 years as Clemson head coach. Georgia Tech went on to a fine 7-4 season in 1989, then won the national Championship the following year.

Clemson’s other two losses on homecoming since 1971 took place in 1997 to Virginia and in 2001 to North Carolina. Tommy Bowden is 7-1 in his previous eight Homecoming games, including five wins in a row. Clemson defeated a 24th ranked Virginia team on Homecoming by a 30-27 score in overtime in 2003. Clemson downed Utah State 35-6 in 2005. He then defeated a 13th ranked Georgia Tech team last year by a 31-7 score. That was also the first ever appearance for ESPN Gameday on the Clemson campus. Six of Tommy Bowden seven Homecoming wins have been against ACC foes.

Last year’s win over Georgia Tech was the highest ranked victory in Clemson history on homecoming. In fact, it was just the fourth time Clemson has played a top 25 team for homecoming. Clemson defeated a 22nd ranked Duke team 49-17 in 1988 and a 24th ranked Virginia team in 2003 by a 30-27 score in overtime on homecoming. The Tigers defeated a 22nd ranked Georgia Tech team in 1996 by a 28-25 score. Thus, Clemson is 4-0 vs. ranked teams on homecoming.

Tigers Face Non-BCS Division I Opponent Clemson will face Central Michigan, a member of the Mid-American Conference, on Saturday. Clemson has had success over the years against Division I teams not in BCS conferences. The Tigers are 17-1 against non-BCS Division I schools since 1975, including a 10-1 mark under Tommy Bowden. Earlier this year Clemson defeated non-BCS Division I team Louisiana Monroe.

Clemson’s only loss to a Division I non-BCS conference team since 1975 is a 13-10 loss to Marshall, then of the Mid-American Conference, in 1999. That was Tommy Bowden first game as Clemson coach. That Marshall team, led by current New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, went on to a 13-0 season and a #10 final national ranking in both polls. Marshall is now a member of Conference USA.

The last Division I team not in a BCS conference to defeat Clemson prior to the Marshall game in 1999 was Tulane, who gained a 17-13 win at Clemson in the 1975 season opener. Tulane was an independent then.

First time Winners at Death Valley Central Michigan will attempt to become just the third first-time visitor in the last 30 years to win at Death Valley. The only opponents since 1978 to win in their first visit to Clemson have been Marshall, a 13-10 winner in the season opener of the 1999 season, and Miami (FL), in 2005 in a 36-30 triple overtime game. Prior to that, the last first-appearance winner at Clemson was Notre Dame in 1977.

Central Michigan is the 49th different school to come to Clemson Memorial Stadium and the previous 48 have a record of 12-35-1 in their first game at Clemson. Three of the 12 first-time winners (Alabama, Kentucky, Marshall) have beaten the Tigers by the exact same score, 13-10.

A look to Clemson’s home record over the years shows why the Tigers enjoy playing in Death Valley. Clemson has a record of 314-117-15 at home over the years, a .721 winning percentage. Clemson is 245-260-23 away from home, a .486 winning percentage for those 528 games on an opponent’s home field. Clemson is 61-47-7 in neutral site games. You might notice that Clemson now has 620 all-time victories, 314 at home and 306 away from home.

Clemson has a 239-93-7 record in Death Valley (since 1942), a .715 winning percentage for 339 games. Tommy Bowden has followed the lead of his predecessors when it comes to playing at home. He is 40-15 so far in his 55 home games, a .727 winning percentage. Clemson has won 23 of the last 29 at home with five of the six losses coming by six points or less. Five of the six have been decided in overtime or the last 10 seconds.

First-time Winners at Death ValleyYear – Opponent, Score 1942 – George Washington, 7-0 1943 – Wake Forest, 41-12 1946 – NC State, 14-7 1952 – Villanova, 14-7 1953 – Maryland, 20-0 1967 – Alabama, 13-10 1971 – Kentucky, 13-10 1973 – Texas A&M, 30-15 1975 – Florida State, 43-7 1977 – Notre Dame, 21-17 1999 – Marshall, 13-10 2005 – Miami (FL), !36-30 !3 OT

Tigers vs. the Mid American Conference Clemson has a 5-0 lifetime record against teams currently in the Mid American Conference. Clemson has a 3-0 mark against Temple and a 2-0 record against Ball State. Those are the only two previous MAC schools Clemson has played. The Tigers will play host to Central Michigan again in 2009.

Clemson’s last game against a MAC school took place last year when Clemson defeated Temple 63-9 in a game played in Charlotte. Clemson won its first two games against Temple by identical 37-7 scores, 14 years apart, 1991 and 2005. Clemson’s wins over Ball State took place 10 years apart 1992 and 2002.

Clemson has lost to a Mid-American conference team, however. In 1999, Tommy Bowden first game as head coach, the Tigers lost to Marshall, then a member of the Mid-American conference, by a 13-10 score.

Clemson and Central Michigan Both Have Hall of Famers Clemson and Central Michigan will both have representatives in the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame class this year. Former Clemson All-American Jeff Davis and former Central Michigan head Coach Herb Deromedi are both slated to be honored in New York City on the night of December 4 at the Waldorf Astoria.

Davis was the leading tackle and defensive captain of Clemson’s 1981 team that won the National Championship with a perfect 12-0 season. Davis had 175 tackles that year to go with eight caused or recovered fumbles. He led the Clemson defense to a number two national ranking in scoring defense, as the Tigers allowed just 8.2 points per game, and a number-seven rating in total defense. At the conclusion of the season, Davis was named the ACC Player of the Year and was first-team consensus All-American.

Deromedi is the winningest coach in Mid American Conference history with a record of 110-55-1. He led Central Michigan to MACC titles in 1979, 1980 and 1990 and was twice named the MAC Coach of the year (1980 and 1990). He had many outstanding victories, including back-to-back victories at Michigan State in 1991 and 1992. That 1991 season was one of the most unusual in NCAA history as the Chippewas final record was 6-1-4. All four ties were in MAC play.

Both Head Coaches with Ties to Rich Rodriquez Both Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden and Central Michigan Head Coach Butch Jones have ties to current West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriquez. Jones most recent coaching job prior to coming to Central Michigan for the 2007 season was as wide receivers coach under Rodriquez at West Virginia. Rodriquez last job before becoming the head coach at West Virginia in 2001 was as Clemson offensive coordinator under Bowden from 1999-2000. Rodriquez also served as offensive coordinator under Bowden at Tulane from 1997-98.

Jones served on Rodriquez staff at West Virginia in both 2005 and 2006. He helped West Virginia to 11 wins in 2005 and 2006. The Mountaineers finished the 2005 season with an 11-1 record and a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, a triumph that moved the Mountaineers to number five in the final poll. In 2006, West Virginia was third in the nation in scoring and fifth in total offense.

Rodriquez worked under Bowden at both Tulane and Clemson. He helped the Tigers to a 9-3 record and top 15 final ranking in 2000 before leaving for West Virginia.

Spence Has Coached vs. Central Michigan Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence has faced Central Michigan previously in his career as an offensive coordinator. The third year Clemson coach faced Central Michigan four times during his time as offensive coordinator at Toledo. The Rockets had a 4-0 record against Central Michigan during Spence’s time.

A productive offense was the key to the Toledo victories as the Rockets won by scores of 52-28, 44-17. 31-13 and 27-22. The 2003 victory by a 31-13 score featured a Spence offense that gained 643 yards of total offense in 98 offensive plays. That is the most plays Spence has called in a game in his career. For the four games combined, Toledo averaged 257 yards rushing, 274.5 yards passing and 531.3 yards of total offense.

Both Programs Had First-round Pick in 2007 Both Clemson and Central Michigan had first round draft choices last year. Clemson’s Gaines Adams was the number-four selection of the entire draft as the defensive end was taken in the first round by Tampa Bay. Central Michigan offensive tackle Joe Staley was also a first-round draft choice. Staley was taken with the 28th pick of the first round by San Francisco. Adams tied for the highest selection in Clemson history and Staley is the highest selection in Central Michigan history.

Tiger Defense Best in the ACC While Clemson has lost its last two games, the Tigers defense has been very strong. Clemson has allowed the opposition just 475 total yards over the last two games combined and has held the opposition under 300 yards total offense in four of the six games so far this season. Over the last two games the opposition has had 17 possessions that have started in their own territory and the Clemson defense has not allowed the opposition to drive for a touchdown a single time. The streak actually is 18 consecutive possessions dating to the NC State game.

Clemson ranks first in the ACC in total defense, allowing just 289.3 yards per game, a figure that is 12th best in the nation. Clemson also leads the nation in pass defense, allowing just 135.2 yards per game, and leads he league in pass efficiency defense with a 92.0 rating. Clemson is seventh in pass efficiency defense. Clemson allowed Virginia Tech just 65 yards passing, the best pass defense by an ACC team this year.

It has been a team effort in allowing just 11 touchdowns by the opposing offense so far this year, but there have been some standout efforts worth mentioning. Nick Watkins leads the team in tackles with 62, including a team best 38 first hits. Phillip Merling has led the defensive line with 41 tackles, second on the Clemson team. He also leads the team in tackles for loss with nine, a figure that ranks second in the ACC.

Michael Hamlin has been a leader in the secondary with three interceptions and 35 total tackles. He leads the team in takeaways with four, three thefts and one fumble recovery. Chris Clemons, his fellow safety, has 37 tackles and two interceptions. Tramaine Billie also deserves some attention with 37 total tackles. Ricky Sapp leads the team in sacks with three and has seven total tackles for loss to go with his 24 total tackles.

Harper Sets Clemson Passing Records Cullen Harper continues to establish Clemson passing quarterbacks. In the loss to Virginia Tech on October 6, the junior completed 38 of 66 passes for 372 yards and two touchdowns. The completion total and pass attempt total were Clemson single game records, while the passing yardage total was the second best in school history, trailing only the 420 yards Charlie Whitehurst had at Duke in 2002.

Harper has now set or tied 16 records this season. He is second in the ACC in total offense, passing yards per game and passing efficiency. He is a big reason Clemson is second in the ACC in total offense at the midway point of the year, and second in scoring.

Harper’s pass efficiency game vs. Furman was the best in the ACC this year, as was his completion percentage against Furman (.842). His 38 completions, 66 attempts and 77 total offense plays were also highs for an ACC player this year.

For the season, Harper has complete 61 percent of his passes for 1,530 yards and 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He is on pace to set a Clemson record for passing yards per game and touchdown passes. He is just seven scoring passes shy of the school record 21 thrown by Charlie Whitehurst in 2003 and Woody Dantzler in 2001.

Harper Establishing Records and Firsts Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper has been the starter for just five games, but he has already established or tied 16 Clemson records and some other remarkable firsts. Here is a list:

Clemson Records Set by Cullen Harper *Most TD Passes in a game: 5 vs. Louisiana Monroe *Most TD passes in a half: 4 vs. Louisiana Monroe *Most Completions in a game: 38 vs. Virginia Tech *Most Pass attempts in a game: 66 vs. Virginia Tech *Most total offense plays in a game: 77 vs. Virginia Tech *Most Completions over Consecutive Games: 55 vs. Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech *Most Completions over 3 Games: 80, Furman, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech *Highest Pass Efficiency in a game (Min 15 att): 253.92 vs. Furman *Most Passes without Interception start of career: 165 *Most passes without an interception: 165 *Most TD passes within first 100 Career Attempts: 13 *Most Touchdown Passes in Consecutive Games: #8 *Most TD passes over three consecutive games: #10 *Most TD Passes over Four Consecutive Games: 12 *Most Consecutive Games Multiple TD Passes: 4 *Most Consecutive Games with TD Pass: #6 #tied record

Cullen Harper Firsts *First QB with consecutive Pass efficiency games of at least 200 (vs. LM and Furman) *First Clemson QB to beat a ranked team in first start: vs. #19 Florida State *First Clemson QB to Win first four games as starter since Chris Morocco, 1988-89