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Clemson vs. Georgia Tech 2009 ACC Football Championship Game Notes

Nov. 30, 2009

Complete Game Notes

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship Clemson and Georgia Tech will play for the ACC Championship in Tampa, FL on December 5. It is the first ACC championship game appearance for Clemson and the second for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets lost to Wake Forest by a 9-6 score in the 2006 championship game in Jacksonville.

This will be a matchup of the two teams picked to finish second in their respective Divisions during the preseason. The official ACC preseason poll by the ACC media attending the preseason kickoff picked Georgia Tech to finish second in the Coastal Division behind Virginia Tech. Clemson was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Division behind Florida State. Seven members of the media picked Georgia Tech to win the ACC Championship and just two picked Clemson. Virginia Tech got 69 votes and Florida State seven.

This will be the third meeting between Clemson and Georgia Tech since October 18, 2008, or the third time in the 20 games for the Tigers under Dabo Swinney. So Swinney will face Georgia Tech for third time before he ever faces North Carolina or Virginia Tech. North Carolina comes on the schedule next season.

This will be the most preparation time Swinney has had for Georgia Tech. Last year he was named interim head coach on Monday and had much to do in taking over the program as he attempted to prepare for Georgia Tech. This year Clemson played Tech just five days after the season opener in a Thursday night game.

This will also be a matchup of: • Two teams that have not won the ACC Championship in at least a decade. Tech was co-champion with Florida State in 1998 and Clemson has not won the title since 1991. Tech was last outright champion in 1990, the year they won the national championship.

• The only two teams in the ACC to finish with a 4-0 home conference record in 2009.

• The top two scoring offenses in the ACC. Tech leads at 35.0 per game and Clemson is second at 31.8 points per game.

• Two of the top three rushing offenses in the ACC. Tech is first at 305 yards per game (second in the nation) and Clemson is third at 156.8 yards per game.

• Two of the top three teams in the ACC in terms of turnover margin. Clemson is second at +0.58 turnovers per game and Georgia Tech is third at +0.42 turnovers per game.

• Two of the top three teams in the ACC in not allowing sacks. Georgia Tech is first, having allowed just nine sacks all year. Clemson is third, having allowed 19 sacks.

• Three of the top five rushers in the ACC will play in this game. Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer is third with 103 yards per game, Clemson’s CJ Spiller is fourth at 76 yards per game and Josh Nesbitt of Georgia Tech is fifth at 74 yards per game.

• Three of the top 10 interception leaders in the ACC will play in this game. Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel is first with eight, followed by Clemson’s Rashard Hall with six. Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett is seventh with four picks.

• Three of the top five touchdown scorers in the ACC will be in the ACC Championship game. Josh Nesbitt of Georgia Tech has 17, Clemson’s CJ Spiller has 16 and Tech’s Dwyer has 12. Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech leads the league with 20.

• Two of the top four defensive players in the ACC in terms of tackles for loss will be in this game. Tech’s Derrick Morgan has 17 for 95 yards lost to rank second, and Clemson’s Ricky Sapp has 13 for 52 yards to rank fourth.

Milestones in Range, Streaks • C.J. Spiller needs one punt or kickoff return for a touchdown to establish the NCAA record for kick returns for touchdowns. He has seven kickoff returns for score (already the NCAA record) and one punt return for a total of eight. He has tied a record held by many.

• C.J. Spiller needs three touchdowns to set the Clemson single season record. He has 16 and record is 18 by Travis Zachery in 2000.

• Spiller needs just one touchdown to tie the Clemson record for consecutive games with a touchdown. He has scored a touchdown in every game this year, the only player in the nation to do that, for a 12-game streak. The record is 13 in a row by Travis Zachery who accomplished this between 2000-01.

• Spiller needs 88 yards rushing and 60 receiving to become the first player in ACC history to reach 1000 yards rushing and 500 receiving in the same season. He would also be the first player in the nation to do it this year.

• Spiller has 1352 yards from scrimmage this year (912 rushing and 440 receiving) and needs 109 to break Raymond Priester’s record for a season. Priester had 1460 running and receiving in 1996.

• Spiller needs 58 kickoff return yards to reach 2000 for his career. When he does he will become the first player in NCAA history with 3000 yards rushing, 2000 yards in kickoff returns, 1000 receiving and 500 on punt returns.

• Michael Palmer needs three receptions to become the Clemson record holder for receptions by a tight end in a season. He has 38 and the record is 40 by John McMakin in 1970. He has at least one catch in 10 straight games, which is already the Clemson record for a tight end.

• DeAndre McDaniel needs one interception to establish the Clemson season record for interceptions. He has eight and is the co-holder of the record at the moment.

• Jacoby Ford has caught at least one pass in 26 consecutive games he has played. Ford needs just 22 all-purpose yards to become the sixth player in Clemson history with 4000 all-purpose yards.

• Saturday will mark Chris Chancellor’s 39th consecutive start at cornerback. It will be Crezdon Butler’s 37th consecutive start at the opposite cornerback.

• Crezdon Butler’s needs 33 interception return yards to become Clemson’s career leader.

• Thomas Austin has started 34 straight games in the offensive line.

• Chris Chancellor’s, and Kavell Connor will play their 52nd career games this weekend in the ACC Championship game and set the Clemson record for most games played in a career. These seniors have never missed a game.

• Clemson team has seven returns for touchdowns this year, tied for the single season record with the 1990 team. Another return for a touchdown will establish a school record for one season.