Jan. 1, 2009
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*DeAndre McDaniel ran 28 yards for a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the second period for Clemson’s first score of the game. It was Clemson’s first fumble return of the year for any yards. It was the first Clemson fumble return for a score since the 2006 season when Gaines Adams raced 66 yards for a score at Wake Forest in a 27-17 Clemson win. It was the first fumble return or recovery for a score in the Gator Bowl since 1989 when Chester McGlockton recovered a Major Harris fumble in the endzone against West Virginia. McGlockton had caused that fumble, just as McDaniel did on today’s play. It was the first return for a touchdown by any Clemson player in a bowl game since Chad Speck raced 18 yards on a blocked punt return for a score against Auburn in the Chick fil-A Bowl at the end of the 1997 season.
*James Davis and Michael Hamlin both started their 43rd career games for Clemson today and established records in the process. Davis broke the record for games started by a running back with his 43rd start today. He and Raymond Priester held the previous record with 42. Hamlin broke the record for career starts by a defensive back. He and James Lott had started 42 prior to today.
*C.J. Spiller became Clemson’s career leader in all-purpose yards today. The junior broke the record of 4839 previously held by Derrick Hamilton, who played from 2001-03. Spiller finished the day with 182 all-purpose yards and finishes his junior year with 4908.
*DaQuan Bowers was named Clemson’s Most Valuable Player today by media. He had a career high three tackles for loss and was in on five total tackles. He is the first Clemson freshman to be named MVP of the bowl game since 2005 when James Davis was named MVP of the Champs Sports Bowl against Colorado. The only other freshman in Clemson history be MVP of a bowl game is Emory Smith, who was the offensive MVP for the Tigers in the 1993 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Kentucky
*Jacoby Ford had a career high 112 receiving yards today. His previous high was 106 earlier this year against NC State.
*Akeem Robinson, Chris Clemons and Aaron Kelly all played in their 51st career games today, a Clemson record for a career.
*Aaron Kelly became Clemson’s career leader in reception yards with his 25-yard touchdown reception from Cullen Harper in the second period. It gave him 2698 career receiving yards, ahead of the 2681 by Terry Smith, who played from 1990-93.
Smith’s last career catch was a touchdown reception in a bowl game in 1993 (vs. Kentucky, a game winning 21-yard reception from Patrick Sapp, who is at today’s game as Clemson’s sideline announcer for the Clemson radio network.
*Mark Buchholz had a field goal attempt blocked in the first half. He had gone 141 consecutive place kicks (extra points and field goals) without a blocked kick prior to that block by Nebraska in the second period. Buchholz had three extra points today and finishes his career a perfect 88-88 in that area. He concludes his career with 199 career points.
*With Crezdon Butler’s 63-yard interception return in the second period, the Clemson team established a school record for interception return yards in a season. That return gave the Tigers 368 for the year, five more than the 361 accumulated by the 1951 team.
Butler had four interceptions for 142 return yards this year. That is the third most interception return yards in Clemson history for a season and the most since Rex Varn had 148 in 1978. Butler’s interception return was the longest in Clemson history in a bowl game. The previous long was a 46-yard return by Dorian Mariable against Penn State at the 1988 Citrus Bowl.
*Cullen Harper had two touchdown passes today and finishes his career with 42, one more than Woody Dantzler, who had 41 touchdown passes between 1998-01. Only Charlie Whitehurst has more career touchdown passes than Harper (49). Harper had 206 passing yards today and moved into third place in school history in that category. He finishes his career with 5762. Charlie Whitehurst has the record with 9665.
*Entering this season, Clemson had 13 seasons since 1964 (start of the two platoon era) in which the Tigers had four new starters in the offensive line. Clemson was 79-66-4 in those 13 seasons combined, a 54.2 percent winning percentage. Clemson had to replace four starters in the offensive line in 2008 and finished with a 7-6 record, a 53.9 winning percentage.
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