Nov. 15, 2004
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Final Home Game for Clemson Seniors Some of Clemson’s top players in history will play their final game in Death Valley on Saturday against South Carolina. There are 17 seniors in this class, including Vontrell Jamison who has petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. When you look over the last four years of Clemson football it is apparent that this group of seniors has been a part of some of the program’s biggest wins in school history.
Over the last four seasons Clemson has four wins over top 10 teams. Clemson has had just 13 top 10 wins in its history, and this year’s senior group joins the seniors of 1983 as the only class to accumulate four top 10 wins. That 1983 group experienced three top 10 wins in 1981, Clemson’s national championship season, and a top 10 win at North Carolina in 1983.
This year’s seniors were a part of an overtime victory at ninth-ranked Georgia Tech in 2001, a 47-44 overtime affair that must rank as one of the most exciting victories in Clemson history. Of course, last year the class contributed to the win over #3 Florida State, the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history, and the victory over sixth-ranked Tennessee, the second highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in a bowl game.
Then, this year, they contributed to the 24-17 overtime triumph at 10th ranked Miami (FL). That might be the most significant road victory since the Tigers won in the Orange Bowl on January 2, 1982 when the Tigers beat Nebraska for the National Championship. It was the fourth overtime triumph (against no losses) for the class. No other senior class of 2004 at the Division I level can also make the claim of a perfect 4-0 overtime record.
This year’s senior class includes some of the program’s greatest players in history. LeRoy Hill ranks sixth in school history in tackles for loss with 47, an amazing accomplishment considering he has been a starter just two seasons. Wide receiver Airese Currie will lead the ACC in receptions and receiving yards this year, the first Tiger to do that in nearly a quarter of a century. He is in the top 10 in school history in both areas on a career basis.
Cedric Johnson has started 32 consecutive games on the offensive line and has teamed with Tommy Sharpe to be common denominators on some of Clemson’s most productive offenses in history. Ben Hall is the only tight end in Clemson history to catch at least one touchdown in four different seasons.
Mo Fountain has never missed a game and will be playing his 49th in a row on Saturday, his 19th straight start. Yusef Kelly is just three yards short of 1000 yards for his career, and who can forget his rushing performance over the last six minutes the last time South Carolina came to Clemson. Eric Coleman has become one of the top defensive linemen in the ACC and is a major reason Clemson ranks in the top 10 in the nation in yards per play allowed. Travis Pugh and Eric Sampson have been leaders in the secondary for four years.
Clemson Seniors in 2004
Clemson on Senior Day This will be the final home game for Clemson’s 17 seniors. Clemson has won six straight Senior Day games, its longest winning streak on such days since Clemson won six straight between 1978-83. South Carolina stopped that streak in 1984 with a 22-21 victory. Clemson’s last loss on Senior Day was in 1997 to a 10th ranked North Carolina team by a 17-10 score.
The Clemson record for consecutive years winning on Senior Day is seven, established between 1957-63. South Carolina also ended that streak with a victory in 1964 at Clemson. Clemson is 13-7-1 against South Carolina in games that are Clemson’s Senior Day games. Overall, Clemson is 67-33-3 on Senior Day over the years. Five seasons Clemson has not had a home game and thus didn’t have a Senior Day.
Clemson Needs One Win to be Bowl Eligible Clemson needs to defeat South Carolina to become bowl eligible. This is the sixth time in history that Clemson has come to the South Carolina game facing a “match-point” situation (win or stay home from the bowl season) in terms of becoming bowl eligible. The Tigers are 3-2 in the previous five situations, but Clemson has won each of the last two when faced with that situation against the Gamecocks.
In 1985, Clemson and South Carolina were both 5-5 entering the final game of the season in Columbia. It had been widely discussed prior to the game that the winner would go to the Independence Bowl. Clemson won that game 24-17 to advance against Minnesota, a team coached by Lou Holtz during the regular season. Holtz did not coach in the bowl game against Clemson, however, as he accepted the Notre Dame head coaching position after the conclusion of the regular season.
In 1992 at Death Valley, Clemson entered the South Carolina game with a 5-5 record and the Gamecocks were 4-6. But, behind freshman Steve Tanneyhill, the high school coach of current Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams, the Gamecocks defeated the Tigers 24-13. In 1994, Clemson and South Carolina entered the final game at Clemson with identical 5-5 records. Both Tommy West’s Clemson team and Brad Scott’s South Carolina team needed a victory to go to a bowl game. Scott’s Gamecocks were victorious 33-7, leading to a Carquest Bowl victory over West Virginia, the first bowl win in South Carolina history.
In 1997, both teams again needed a win to become bowl eligible. Clemson was 6-4, but one of the wins was a Division I–AA win over Appalachian State, so Clemson still needed another victory. The Tigers won that game in Columbia 47-21 behind Tony Horne and Antwan Edwards, who both had returns for touchdowns. It was the seventh straight win for the road team in the series. In 1999, Tommy Bowden’s first year as Clemson coach, the 5-5 Tigers needed to defeat Lou Holtz’s first Gamecock team to go to the Peach Bowl. The Tigers came away with a 31-21 victory.
Under Tommy Bowden’s, Clemson has faced the last game of the season needing to win to go to a bowl game twice and the Tigers have come through each time. The aforementioned 1999 game vs. South Carolina was the first instance, and a December 1, 2001 game against Duke that ended in a 59-31 Clemson victory is the second. Clemson had games to spare when it clinched a bowl bid in 2000, 2002 and 2003 under Bowden.
Clemson When Needing a Victory in Final Game for a Bowl Bid
Five Games Decided on Last Play When Clemson lost at Duke 16-13 on a 53-yard field on the last playoff the game by Blue Devil kicker Matt Brooks, it marked the fifth time this year that a Clemson league game had been decided on the last play of the game. We don’t have every play-by-play on file in the Clemson SID office dating to the beginning of Tiger football in 1896, but it is safe to say this has been the all-time “Cliff-hanger” season in Clemson football history. The five last play games do not include the Maryland game, when Clemson scored a touchdown on a short run by Reggie Merriweather with 23 seconds left. Justin Miller then intercepted a Maryland pass on the next drive and Clemson ran out the final few seconds.
The madness all started with the season opener when the Tigers defeated Wake Forest 37-30 in overtime on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst to Kyle Browning. The next week, Georgia Tech defeated the Tigers 28-24 in Death Valley when Calvin Johnson caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Reggie Ball with 11 seconds left. Clemson had a pass into the endzone from the Tech 31 on the last play that fell incomplete.
Clemson then won the aforementioned Maryland game on October 23, followed by a 26-20 win over NC State. The Pack had a fourth-down play from the 11-yard line (same distance as the Tech game), with eight seconds left, but Charles Bennett intercepted at the goal line and his return ran out the clock. On November 6, Clemson won at 10th ranked Miami in overtime. An incomplete pass on a fourth-down play on Miami’s final snap in overtime that gave the Tigers the victory.
Clemson is now 4-2 this season in games decided by seven points or less. Each of the last four Tiger games have been decided by seven points or less, just the fourth time in school history that has happened, the first since 1993. Clemson’s four wins this season by seven points or less rank as the most in a season since the 1993 team won five (against just one loss). The overall record for wins in a season by seven points or less is six. The 1948 team had a perfect 6-0 record in close games on the way to an 11-0 record.
It is interesting to see how winning close games goes in cycles. Between the 1998 and 1999 seasons, Clemson was 0-9 in games decided by seven points or less. Clemson went 12-0-3 in games decided by seven points or less between 1948-51.
If we have another nail-biter Saturday, it would give Clemson seven games decided by seven points or less. That would be the most in a season since 1985 when Clemson also played seven games decided by a touchdown or less. The 1976, 1977 and 1980 teams also all had seven games decided by seven points or less.
Pair of Number-one Ranked Players on Display Two players in Saturday’s Clemson vs. South Carolina game are hoping to lead the nation in a statistical category in 2004. Clemson cornerback Justin Miller currently leads the nation in kickoff return average with a 33.1 figure on 20 returns. Miller did not have a return against Duke as the Blue Devils kicked away from Miller with short kickoffs.
So far this year Miller has two kickoff returns for touchdowns, both against Florida State when he had an NCAA record 282 kickoff return yards in six attempts. He had two returns for touchdown to tie an NCAA record for a single game and set an ACC record in Tallahassee. Miller is trying to become the second Clemson player in history to lead the nation in kickoff returns. Terrance Roulhac led the nation in that category in 1985 with a 33.1 average (the same average as Miller).
South Carolina’s Ko Simpson has six interceptions so far this year, including a 57-yard return for a touchdown. Simpson leads the nation in that category with 0.60 returns per game. Simpson, a first-year freshman free safety from Rock Hill, SC, also has a 57-yard fumble return for a score, giving him seven total takeaways and two touchdowns in 2004 for 151 return yards.
Top Receivers Do Battle Two of the top receivers in the nation will be on the field when Clemson faces South Carolina. In fact, both teams have the top receiver in their respective conference on a reception yards per game basis.
Clemson senior Airese Currie has had a breakout senior year and leads the ACC in receptions per game (6.0) with 60 catches in 10 games. The native of Columbia also has 852 receiving yards and thus needs just 148 receiving yards to reach 1000 for the season. He is trying to become just the third Clemson receiver in history to reach 1000 receiving yards in one season. Rod Gardner did it twice, 1999 and 2000 and Derrick Hamilton did it last year.
Currie is trying to become the first Tiger since 1980 to lead the ACC in receptions per game. Perry Tuttle did it in 1980 when he had 53 in 11 games. Jerry Butler, in 1978, is the only other Clemson receiver to lead the ACC.
Currie went over the 2,000-yard receiving mark for his career, just the sixth Tiger in history to do it, when he had 75 receiving yards on six catches at Duke. He now has 2014 receiving yards for his four-year career. With 137 total receptions, Currie is now eighth in Clemson history in total receptions and sixth in reception yards. His 6.00 receptions per game would be second best in Clemson history if the season ended today. The record is 6.75 by Rod Gardner, who had 80 catches in 12 games in 1999, Tommy Bowden’s first year at Clemson.
Troy Williamson will provide fans with just as many reception highlights when South Carolina is on offense. The junior from Jackson, SC leads the SEC in reception yards per game with 80.90 yards per game. Williamson, who played sparingly at Florida due to an ankle injury, has 40 catches for 809 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award a couple of weeks ago. Williamson is also effect as a kickoff returner with a team best 150 yards on seven returns.
Stockstill Back at Death Valley For the second consecutive Clemson home game, a longtime former Clemson assistant coach will return to Death Valley with the opposing team. Three weeks ago NC State defensive coordinator Reggie Herring returned to Death Valley. He had been a defensive assistant at Clemson from the 1993 Peach Bowl through the 2001 season, including five years as the Tigers defensive coordinator.
On Saturday, South Carolina assistant coach Rick Stockstill returns to Death Valley as the Gamecocks wide receivers coach. Stockstill coached at Clemson for 14 years serving the positions of wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach at recruiting coordinator over the course of that time. He recruited and coached some of Clemson’s greatest players ever, including Rod Gardner, a first-round draft choice, All-American and graduate during the 2000 season.
Stockstill was an assistant coach at Clemson between 1989 and 2002. He coached in 11 bowl games in his 14 years at Clemson. No Clemson coach, assistant or head, has been on the sidelines for more Clemson bowl games.
Stockstill is the ninth coach to serve on the staffs at both Clemson and South Carolina since 1989. The list includes current Clemson assistant head coach and offensive line coach Brad Scott’s, who served as South Carolina’s head coach from 1994-98. Former Clemson head coach Tommy West (1994-98), also served on the staff at South Carolina (1991-92).
Like Herring, Stockstill played for Bobby Bowden as a quarterback at Florida State and is a 1982 graduate of that school.
Knowing Both Sides of the Rivalry (Coached at Clemson and South Carolina since 1989)
Note: Scott was head coach at South Carolina, West head coach at Clemson, 94-98.
Defense Key to Four-Game Winning Streak Clemson has won four of its last five games to reach the .500-mark entering the regular season finale with South Carolina. Clemson has had a streaky season with a four-game losing streak followed by a four-game winning streak, the first time in Clemson history the Tigers have had one of each in the same season. Clemson needs one win to become bowl eligible. No team in ACC history has started 1-4 then gone to a bowl game.
The key to the comeback from a statistical standpoint has been the Tiger defense. As the chart below shows, Clemson allowed 31.2 points per game for the first five games of the year, but has allowed just 13.2 points a game over the last five games. In terms of total defense, Clemson allowed 421.8 yards per game over the first five games, but just 258.8 a game over the last five. The biggest improvement has been rushing defense, which was 223 yards a game over the first five games, compared to 62.2 over the last five.
Forcing turnovers has also been a key. Clemson forced just three turnovers, last in the nation, over the first five games, but has forced 11 over the last five games. The Tiger defense has also improved in terms of third-down defense. Clemson allowed 46.6 percent third-down conversions over the first five games, but has allowed just 31 percent (26-84) over the last five games.
What might be the most impressive statistic is yards per play allowed. Clemson allowed 5.2 yards per play over the first five games of the season, but just 3.56 over the last five games. How good is 3.56 yards per play allowed? Clemson’s 1990 defense that featured eight starters who went on to the NFL, allowed 3.52 yards per play over the course of that season.
Clemson Defense Comparison
Clemson Ninth in Nation in Defensive Yards Per Play Clemson has made great strides defensively over the second half of the season. But, the Tigers have done an outstanding job in terms of yards per play allowed over the course of the entire season. Clemson ranks 40th in the nation in terms of total defense (total yards allowed per game), but is ninth in the nation on a yards per play basis. Clemson has given up just 4.42 yards per play for the season, including just 3.56 yards per play over the last five games.
The list of the top 12 teams nationally in terms of yards per play allowed features four ACC teams. NC State leads the nation in total defense and leads the nation in yards per play allowed. The Pack has the lead by a wide margin, allowing just 3.61 yards per play for the season, compared to second ranked Alabama at 3.99. Florida State stands fourth nationally in the category, allowing 4.06 yards per play. Virginia Tech is a fourth ACC team on the list, ranking #12.
National Leaders in Yards/Play Allowed
Whitehurst Has been Outstanding vs. South Carolina Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has played some of his best football against South Carolina. The junior is 2-0 against South Carolina in his career, a 27-20 victory at Clemson in 2002 and a 63-17 win at South Carolina last year. Whitehurst was 27-38 for 287 yards in the 2002 game. The 27 completions were the most ever by a Clemson player against South Carolina. Last year he was 18-26 for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He also had six rushes for 43 yards, giving him 345 yards of total offense. The 302 passing yards were the most ever by a Clemson quarterback against South Carolina.
In two games against South Carolina, Whitehurst is 45-64 for 589 yards and four touchdowns. That is a 70.3 percent completion mark, the best by Whitehurst against any opposing team. He also has 40 yards rushing in 12 carries against South Carolina, giving him 629 yards of total offense on 76 plays. He has a 165.1 efficiency rating, which is also his best against any opponent.
Whitehurst will be looking for a third victory as the starting quarterback against South Carolina. The last and believed to be only Clemson quarterback in history to be the starter in three wins over South Carolina was Homer Jordan who led the Tigers to victory in 1980-81 and 82.
Whitehurst Has Defeated Nine ACC Teams Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has now defeated every ACC team he has faced in his 28 games as Clemson’s starting quarterback. Due to conference expansion, he is the first ACC quarterback in league history to defeat nine different ACC teams over his career. The ninth different team he defeated was Miami (FL), a 24-17 overtime victory on November 6. Whitehurst completed 21 of 37 passes for 258 yards against the Hurricanes.
Whitehurst now has a 17-11 record as a starting quarterback. Just a junior, Whitehurst is tied for ninth in Clemson history in total wins as a starting quarterback. The record is 32 held by Rodney Williams, who was 32-10-2 between 1985-88. Whitehurst is 2-0 as a starter against South Carolina. Saturday he will attempt to be the first Clemson quarterback since Homer Jordan (1980-82) to start three Clemson wins over South Carolina.
Clemson’s Winningest Starting Quarterbacks
Bowden, Clemson Second in ACC Wins Since 1999 Clemson finished its ACC schedule with a 4-4 record, the sixth straight year Clemson has had at least a break even conference mark. Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech are the only ACC schools with at least a break even conference mark every year since 1999.
Clemson has a 28-20 ACC record since 1999, Tommy Bowden’s first year as Clemson’s head coach. The Tigers trail on Florida State and Tommy’s father, Bobby Bowden, in ACC wins over that time. The Seminoles are 42-6 during that six-year span, including 6-2 this year. Clemson has been to a bowl game each of the first five years Bowden has been Clemson’s head coach, the first time in ACC history a coach has taken an ACC program to a bowl game in each of his first five years with a league program. Of course, he could extend that streak with a victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
ACC Wins Since 1999
Clemson Veterans versus South Carolina Gaines Adams (DE) — Had four tackles in 20 snaps in last year’s 63-17 win. Curtis Baham (WR) — Caught one pass for 17 yards last season. Charles Bennett (DE) — Made four tackles in only eight snaps a year ago. Nathan Bennett (OG) — Had a film grade of 82 percent in the game last season. Cole Chason (P) — Punted four times for a 43.8 yard average with three punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season. Duane Coleman (TB) — Ran eight times for 54 yards and caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown in last year’s game. Eric Coleman (DT) — Made four tackles including a tackle for loss last season. Has four tackles and a tackle for loss in two other career games against the Gamecocks. Airese Currie (WR) — Caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown last season. Had two catches against the Gamecocks in 2002. Caught three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in 2001. David Dunham (LB) — Had three tackles including a tackle for loss in only 10 snaps last season. Maurice Fountain (DE) — Made three tackles including a tackle for loss in last year’s win. Has four tackles in two other career games. Dustin Fry (C ) — Had a film grade of 80 percent in the win a year ago. Roman Fry (OT) — Graded out at 81 percent against the Gamecocks last season. Jamaal Fudge (ROV) — Had five tackles including two tackles for loss and two interceptions in last year’s game. Made four tackles in 2002. Ben Hall (TE) — Caught one pass for 39 yards and a touchdown last year. LeRoy Hill (LB) — Had 15 total tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception last year. Tye Hill (CB) — Had three tackles and a pass break up last year. Cedric Johnson (OG) — Had a film grade of 86 in the game last season. Yusef Kelly (RB) — Carried 10 times for 64 yards in 2002. Justin Miller (CB) — Had three tackles and a pass break up last season. Totaled three tackles in 2002. Travis Pugh (FS) — Had six tackles, one pass break up, and a blocked field goal last season. Eric Sampson (WHIP) — Has 15 tackles in three career games against the Gamecocks. Tommy Sharpe (C ) — Played every offensive snap in the 2002 game. Led the team with an 88 percent film grade last season. Chansi Stuckey (WR) — Had career highs in both carries (six) and yards (77) and a rushing touchdown in last year’s game. Anthony Waters (LB) — Had four tackles in only 20 snaps in last year’s game. Charlie Whitehurst (QB) — Has a 2-0 career record against the Gamecocks completing 45 of 64 passes for 589 yards and four touchdowns in the two games. Also has a rushing touchdown and a career efficiency rating of 165.1. Bobby Williamson (TE) — Caught two passes for 22 yards in 2002.
Last MeetingClemson 63, South Carolina 17 At Columbia, SC 2003 Clemson ended the 2003 regular season on a three-game winning streak in decisive fashion, as the Tigers defeated South Carolina 63-17 in Columbia. The 63 points were the most in the history of the series by either team. It also marked the most points scored by Clemson against any team since Clemson defeated Wake Forest 82-24 in the 1981 National Championship season. The 46-point victory margin was the highest in the series since Clemson won 51-0 in 1900.
Clemson came out firing in the first quarter and never looked back. On the first play of the game, LeRoy Hill and Khaleed Vaughn sacked Dondrial Pinkins. The play set the tone for a physical evening for the defense. Clemson got the ball after a three-and-out to open the game, and responded with the first touchdown. Charlie Whitehurst. For Hamilton, it marked the fifth consecutive game in which he caught at least one touchdown, setting a school record.
Following another three-and-out, Clemson again went to the air. This time, Whitehurst connected with Columbia native Airese Currie for a 28-yard touchdown. It was Currie’s first touchdown catch since the Georgia Tech game on September 20 and second of his career in his hometown.
The Tigers extended their lead to 21-0 on their third offensive possession after Whitehurst again threw a touchdown pass. After an audible at the line, he found Ben Hall wide open over the middle for a 39-yard score, his first of the season. In the first quarter alone, Whitehurst was 7-7 for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
The Gamecocks responded with 10 points in the second quarter, but Clemson put the game out of reach in the final five minutes of the quarter. Chad Jasmin scored on a one-yard run to extend the lead to 28-10. He then added his second touchdown minutes later from the same distance. The Tigers’ 35 points at halftime were the most scored by Clemson against South Carolina in one half.
On South Carolina’s first possession of the second half, Pinkins had a pass tipped and then intercepted by LeRoy Hill. It was his third interception of the season. Jasmin scored again from one yard out to put the Tigers ahead, 42-10. South Carolina pulled to within 42-17 after a muffed punt by Hamilton at the Clemson six. Brian Brownlee caught his second touchdown for the Gamecocks. Clemson came back quickly and Whitehurst hooked up with Duane Coleman on a throw to the left sideline. Coleman scored easily from 27 yards out to give Clemson a 49-17 lead.
Clemson pushed the lead to 56-17 late in the third after Jasmin scored his fourth touchdown run of the game. He became the first Tiger since Boo Armstrong in 1918 to score four touchdowns against the Gamecocks. The play was set up by Jamaal Fudge second interception of the game. Fudge appeared to be well on his way to score before tripping inside the five-yard line. The Tigers added a touchdown when Chansi Stuckey gave everyone a glimpse of his potential. He scored on a 33-yard quarterback draw in which he drug defenders into the endzone.
Whitehurst ended the game 18-26 for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards. He tied the Clemson single-season record with 21 touchdowns, first established in 2001 by Woodrow Dantzler.
Offensively, the Tigers gained 542 total yards, a season high for 2003. Clemson had 240 rushing yards, also a season high. The Tigers averaged 8.1 yards per play over the course of the game. Defensively, the Gamecocks were held below their season average with only 153 rushing yards. Part of the reason was the play of several Tiger defenders. Hill had four tackles for loss, the second time he had four in a game. Fudge had two interceptions for Clemson on the night. It was the first time all season a Tiger defender had multiple thefts in a game. Travis Pugh, the other starting safety for Clemson, had six tackles, a pass breakup, and a blocked field goal.
Top 10 Unusual Facts about the Clemson vs. South Carolina Series 10. Both coaches who have won bowl games for South Carolina will be on the field Saturday on opposing sidelines. Brad Scott’s was the first South Carolina head coach to win a bowl game when he took the Gamecocks to victory in the 1994 Carquest Bowl over West Virginia. Current South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz has taken South Carolina to bowl victories in 2000 and 2001, both times against Ohio State. 9. The visiting team won seven consecutive years in games played between 1991-97. 8. Josh Cody had a 4-0 record for Clemson against South Carolina between 1927-30. He is the only coach in the series to have a perfect record, given a minimum of three games coached. 7. Paul Williams is the last player to letter for both schools. He lettered for Clemson in 1978 and for South Carolina in 1980. 6. A Clemson captain actually played for South Carolina. Cary Cox lettered for the Gamecocks in 1943. After the war, he enrolled at Clemson and served as captain for the Tigers in 1947. 5. O.K. Pressley had four tackles for loss on four consecutive plays in Clemson’s 32-0 win over South Carolina in Columbia in 1928. Pressley went on to become Clemson’s first All-American at season’s end. 4. In 1948 and 1981 a blocked punt returned for a touchdown proved to be the pivotal play in a Clemson victory, victories that allowed Clemson to go on to an undefeated season. In both instances, the original line of scrimmage was the South Carolina 28-yard-line. 3. Willie Underwood had two interceptions to lead Clemson to victory over South Carolina in 1980. A starter for four years, the strong safety never had recorded an interception in any of his first 46 games as a Tiger, then had two against the Gamecocks in his 47th and final game. 2. In a placekicking career that spanned five years, Bob Paulling made 107 of 109 extra points. Both of his misses were at South Carolina, one in 1981 and one in 1983. He had a streak of 70 consecutive made extra points (second longest in Clemson history) in between the two miscues. 1. In the 30 games that Frank Howard coached at Clemson against South Carolina, Clemson scored 411 points and South Carolina scored 411 points.
The 102nd Meeting Between Clemson and South Carolina This will be meeting 102 between Clemson and South Carolina. The series dates to 1896 and the first year of football at Clemson, the fourth season for South Carolina. Clemson holds the advantage 61-36-4 since that first meeting in Columbia. Clemson has more wins over South Carolina than any other school and those victories represent nearly 10 percent of Clemson’s all-time total.
Clemson won the 100th meeting last year at Clemson by a 27-20 score in 2002, the last time the game was played at Death Valley. Clemson won last year at Clemson 63-17. The point total was Clemson’s highest ever against the Gamecocks and it was the largest victory margin in the series for Clemson since a 51-0 victory in 1900.
The Gamecocks last won in 2001 in Columbia by a 20-15 score. That South Carolina victory ended a four-game winning streak for the Tigers, who have now won six of the last seven, including four of five since Tommy Bowden’s became the Clemson head coach. South Carolina has not beaten Clemson in consecutive years since the 1968-70 era.
The Clemson vs. South Carolina series ranks in a tie for 14th in college football history in terms of most played rivalries. The most played rivalry is the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin series, which will be played for the 113th time on the same day as the Clemson vs. South Carolina game. Earlier this year Kansas and Kansas State played for the 101st time, so the Clemson vs. South Carolina series will tie it for 14th on the all-time list.
This will be the 96th consecutive year that Clemson and South Carolina have met on the gridiron, every year since 1909. It will tie for the third longest uninterrupted rivalry in college football history when the two schools meet on Saturday. The only active rivalries that are longer are the Kansas vs. Nebraska rivalry (active since 1906) and the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin rivalry (active since 1907). The Kansas vs. Oklahoma rivalry ran 96 consecutive games before it was interrupted after the 1997 game.
Longest Uninterrupted Series in College Football History (Entering 2004 season)
Most Played Rivalries in Division I College Football History (Entering this season)
Throw out the Record Books? We always here the phrase, “You can throw out he record books when these two teams get together.” While there have been some upsets in this series, usually the team with the better record comes away with the victory. The team entering the game with the better overall record has a 17-2-1 record in the series since 1981. That computes to 87.5 percent over a 23-year period. Three times during that era both teams had the same record.
The team with the better record entering this game has won every year since and including 1997. The last time that did not happen was 1996 when Clemson was 7-3 and South Carolina was 5-5 and the Gamecocks won at Clemson, 34-31. Current Clemson offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Brad Scott’s was the head coach for South Carolina in that game.
For the history of the series, Clemson has a 39-14-3 record when it enters the contest with the better record, a 72.3 winning percentage. Clemson has had the better record in 56 of the 101 previous meetings. The teams have had the same winning percentage entering the game nine times and Clemson has a 7-2 record in those situations. Thus, Clemson is 46-16-3 (.731) against South Carolina over the years when the Tigers enter the game with at least the same record as South Carolina.
Clemson has a 61-36-4 advantage in the series overall, so the Gamecocks have a 20-15-1 record in the series when they enter the game with the better record. Of course, South Carolina has the better record entering the game this year, 6-4 vs. Clemson’s 5-5.
Memorable Clemson Plays in the Series with South Carolina1948 –Phil Prince blocked punt and Oscar Thompson returned the ball for a touchdown that gave Clemson 13-7 win in Columbia and allowed Clemson to keep an undefeated season. Play took place with 4:15 left in the game.
1959–Harvey White connected with future Super Bowl Champion Bill Mathis for a 26-yard touchdown pass in the third period to put Clemson up 19-0 in the final Big Thursday game in Columbia. White completed 9-10 passes on the day and led the Tigers to the 27-0 victory.
1962–Don Chuy and Billy Weaver combined to sack Dan Reeves for a 13-yard loss with just 33 seconds left, preserving Clemson’s 20-17 victory. South Carolina had driven to the Clemson 25 for that last play.
1966–Harry Olszewski, an All-America offensive guard, picked off a fumbled snap in mid-air and ran 12-yards for a touchdown. The 35-10 victory allowed Clemson to win the ACC title. No Clemson offensive lineman has scored a touchdown since.
1967–Buddy Gore’s 43-yard run in the third period that led to a Tiger touchdown was a momentum swaying play in Clemson’s victory over the Gamecocks, a win that allowed Clemson to clinch a tie for the ACC championship. That was the key run on this day that saw Gore become the first Clemson back in history to go over 1000 yards in a season and break Brian Piccolo’s ACC single season rushing record.
1971–Eddie Seigler kicked a 52-yard field goal to lead Clemson to a 17-7 win over the Gamecocks. It was the first field goal of at least 50 yards in Clemson history.
1972–With Clemson leading 7-6 in the fourth period, Jimmy Williamson batted down a Dobby Grossman two-point conversion pass to preserve the victory for the Tigers.
1977–Jerry Butler made a 20-yard catch of a Steve Fuller pass with 49 seconds left to give Clemson 31-27 win in Columbia. It clinched Gator Bowl bid for the Tigers, Clemson’s first bowl bid in 18 years. It was a backwards diving reception.
1980–Willie Underwood had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown that clinched Clemson’s upset of South Carolina in 1980. Underwood was named Sports Illustrated Player of the Week for his performance in that game.
1981–Just as it had happed 33 years previously, a blocked punt played a big part in a Clemson victory over South Carolina that allowed the Tigers to have an undefeated season. Rod McSwain blocked a South Carolina punt and Johnny Rembert recovered in the endzone for the touchdown. Just as it had been 33 years previous, the line of scrimmage was the South Carolina 28.
1990–Chris Gardocki made his final punt in Death Valley memorable when he had a 78-yard boot in the fourth quarter to give South Carolina bad field position and clinch Clemson’s 24-15 victory over the Gamecocks. It remains the second longest punt in Clemson history.
1995–Emory Smith carried South Carolina tacklers 20 yards on the way to a 54-yard run that led to the game clinching touchdown in Columbia. Smith ended the game with 101 yards rushing.
1999–Rod Gardner’s 29-yard scoring catch on a fourth-down play from Woody Dantzler clinched Clemson’s 31-20 victory in Columbia.
2000–Rod Gardner’s 50-yard reception from Dantzler with 10 seconds left led to Aaron Hunt’s game winning field goal with three seconds left.
Last Meeting at ClemsonClemson vs. South Carolina, 2002 Clemson 27, South Carolina 20 Clemson concluded its 2002 regular season campaign with a thrilling 27-20 victory over archrival South Carolina and made a more convincing case for a postseason bowl berth. The Tigers earned their seventh victory of the season in the 100th all-time meeting between these schools and avenged a 20-15 defeat to the Gamecocks in 2001. The Tigers won their first night game of the season and did so in front of 84,000 fans at Death Valley, Clemson’s largest home crowd of the season.
Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst improved his record to 3-1 as Clemson’s starter and helped guide the offense to 432 total yards of offense, the highest total against South Carolina in the last 15 games. He completed 27 of his 38 passes for 287 yards, which marked the highest totals in school history for completions and passing yards by a Clemson quarterback against South Carolina. Clemson controlled the ball for over 33 minutes, his high total of the year and had a season best 27 first downs to just 12 for the Gamecocks.
He also made the key play of the game early in the fourth quarter, when he scampered into the end zone on an 11-yard touchdown run with 13:42 remaining. That score tied the game 20-20 and gave the Tigers the momentum they eventually carried to victory. Running backs Yusef Kelly provided a balanced rushing attack to compliment Whitehurst’s performance. Rambert rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns; and Kelly had 64 yards on 10 carries, which included 48 yards on seven carries in on a game clinching drive when Clemson ran out the last 6:32 of the game.
The Tigers held South Carolina to 180 yards passing and did not allow the Gamecocks to score in the final period, which proved to be critical in Clemson’s come-from behind victory. Cornerback Brian Mance had his sixth interception of the season and helped lead Clemson’s efforts on defense. Linebacker Rodney Thomas led the team with 12 tackles; and Bryant McNeal recorded a sack, the 21st of his career.
After South Carolina kicker Daniel Weaver made a 25-yard field goal, Clemson responded on its next drive and took its first lead of the game. Whitehurst completed all four of his passes on the drive, which lasted 10 plays, covered 80 yards, and was capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by Rambert. Weaver added a 33-yard field goal early in the second period to reduce Clemson’s lead to one, but Aaron Hunt’s added field goals of 26 yards and 28 yards respectively, including the latter with 32 seconds remaining before intermission. The boot, his 12th consecutive made field goal, gave Clemson the lead 13-6 at halftime.
South Carolina’s offense exploded very early in the second half. On the second play of the third quarter, quarterback Dondrial Pinkins connected with Troy Williamson for a 70-yard touchdown reception that quickly tied the score 13-13. On Clemson’s ensuing drive, the offense came up short after Hunt missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
South Carolina scored again on its next possession. During a nine-play, 70-yard drive that included a 43-yard completion from Pinkins to Williamson, the Gamecocks took the lead for the first time when Andrew Pinnock punched the ball across the goal line from two yards out. His run score gave South Carolina a 20-13 lead with just over thee minutes remaining in the third period.
Whitehurst’s game-tying 11-yard touchdown run came on third down and capped off a 10-play, 63-yard effort by the offense. After the defense forced South Carolina to punt, Rambert drove again for a score. A Whitehurst to Jackie Robinson 30-yard completion set up Rambert’s touchdown with 9:38 left in regulation.
South Carolina’s offense drove to Clemson’s 30-yard line on its next possession, but failed to convert on fourth down when a fake field goal was broken up by linebacker Eric Sampson. Clemson’s offense ran out the remainder of the game, thanks to the blocking of Clemson’s offensive line and the running of Kelly.
Clemson Overcomes 14-Point Deficit at Miami Clemson overcame a 14-point deficit at Miami (FL) to defeat the 10th ranked Hurricanes 24-17 in overtime on November 6. It marked just the eighth time in history that Clemson has overcome a deficit of 14 points or more then won the game. It was the third time Clemson has done this under Tommy Bowden’s.
Clemson trailed the Hurricanes 17-3 at halftime and 17-10 entering the fourth quarter. But the Tigers tied the game in regulation, then won the game in overtime on a two-yard run by Reggie Merriweather. The Tigers then stopped Miami on downs in the overtime. The Clemson record for deficit overcome to gain victory is 28 points, at Virginia in 1992. The Cavaliers were also ranked 10th in the nation entering that game.
Clemson’s Greatest Comebacks
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February 6, 2019