Jan. 15, 2008
Overall Team Finished the year ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll and 22nd in ESPN/USA Today Coach’s poll. It marked the third time in the last five years Clemson ranked in the final top 25. Clemson accomplished the top 25 ranking with a team that started just five seniors among the 24 starting positions. Clemson played 11 first-year freshmen tied for the most since freshman eligibility began in 1972. Won nine games, the most for the program since 2003. It gave Clemson at least eight wins for the third straight year, the first time Clemson has done that since the 1986-91 era. Clemson joins Virginia Tech and Boston College as only ACC schools to win at least eight games each of the last three years. Clemson team ranked ninth in the nation in turnover margin with +1.0 per game, a figure that also led the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson had a 4-1 record on the road this year, the best road record for the program since 1997. Clemson won at NC State by its largest margin in 29 years, at Maryland by its largest margin in 12 years and at Duke by its largest margin in history. The program broke the school season ticket record by selling 58,005 for the year. Clemson finished 14th in the nation in total attendance and 16th in per game attendance. Clemson’s Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Auburn had a 5.1 rating on ESPN, the highest rating for the networks bowl games this year. The Clemson vs. Florida State game on Labor Day evening had a 5.03 rating, the highest for all college games on that weekend. The win over Florida State gave Clemson three straight wins and four of five over the Seminoles. Clemson was the first ACC School to beat Florida State three consecutive years.
Clemson Offense Clemson led the ACC in scoring offense, passing efficiency offense, total touchdowns fewest turnovers and ranked second in rushing offense and total offense. Clemson was the most balanced offense in the ACC. It was the only school to rank in the top three in the ACC in rushing offense and passing offense. Clemson committed just 12 turnovers in the 13 games. Clemson was second in the nation in fewest turnovers committed. Clemson’s 0.92 turnovers per game figure was second best in school history and best since 1940. Clemson finished the season with a school record 430 points. Clemson had four of the 11 first-team All-ACC players on offense. The list included wide receiver Aaron Kelly, running back James Davis and offensive linemen Barry Richardson and Chris McDuffie. Clemson finished the season with a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1000-yard receiver. Aaron Kelly had 1081 yards receiving. It marked just the second season in Clemson history that the Tigers had a 1000-yard rusher and a 1000-yard receiver in the same year. Davis moved to second in Clemson history in career rushing and now has 3130 yards. He also moved to second in school history in total touchdowns with 38. Kelly now has 165 career receptions, third in school history, but just three away from the career record. He led the ACC in reception yards per game and ranked 19th in the nation in receptions per game. Kelly established a Clemson single season record with 88 receptions, a total that is tied for the second most in ACC history. His 1081 receiving yards were just four short of the Clemson single season record. Cullen Harper established 22 Clemson records during the year and led the ACC in passing efficiency. He became just the fourth quarterback in school history to lead the ACC in passing. He finished 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency. He defeated #19 Florida State in the opener, the first Clemson quarterback to beat a top 25 team in is first start. He was fourth in the nation in interception avoidance. C.J. Spiller set a Chick-fil-A Bowl record for the longest scoring play when he ran 83 yards for a touchdown against Auburn. It was also the longest touchdown play in Clemson bowl history. He established a Clemson career record for touchdowns of 50 yards or more and now has 10 entering his junior season. Spiller finished the year with 1723 all-purpose yards, fourth most in Clemson history. Clemson had two different offensive linemen earn All-America honors, a first in the school’s history. Barry Richardson was a first-team selection and Chris McDuffie was a second-team selection.
Clemson Defense Clemson ranked in the top 10 in the nation in total defense (9th, 306.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (10th at 18.7 points per game). Clemson was also 13th in pass defense, allowing 188.5 yards per game and 13th in pass efficiency defense. Clemson was also 23rd in rushing defense, meaning the Tigers ranked in the top 25 in the nation in all four major defensive categories. Clemson was one of just five schools to rank in the top 25 in the nation in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass defense. The others were Ohio State, LSU, Southern California and West Virginia. This season marked just the fifth year in Clemson history that the Tiger defense finished the season in the top 25 in all four major defensive categories. Safety Michael Hamlin was a second-team All-ACC selection and led the Tigers in takeaways with six. He now has 12 for his career, tied for eighth in Clemson history. Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times in 2007, more than any other ACC player. He became the first Clemson player in six years to win ACC Player of the Week honors three times in the same year.
Clemson Special Teams Clemson ranked 15th in the nation in kickoff returns with a 23.9 average. Clemson had three special teams players rank in the top 20 in the nation. Mark Buchholz was 12th in the nation in field goals per game with 22 in 13 games. Punter Jimmy Maners was 20th in punting average with a 42.8 average. Mark Buchholz led the ACC in scoring and his 114 total points established a Clemson season record. He was a perfect 48-48 on extra points, the most extra points without a miss in Clemson history. C.J. Spiller returned a kickoff for a touchdown in consecutive wins over Duke and Wake Forest. He became the first player in Clemson history to return a kickoff for a touchdown in consecutive games. Clemson averaged 55.3 yards per kickoff return against Duke, an all-time school record for a single game. Clemson had two blocked punts in its win over South Carolina, including one that was returned for a touchdown. It marked the first time in 10 years that Clemson blocked at least two punts in the same game.
Academic Excellence The Clemson team had a 2.53 GPA for the first semester, the highest on record for the program for a fall semester. Clemson had 37 players named to the Academic honor roll (3.0 or better). The list included starting cornerback Chris Chancellor, who made the Dean’s List. Clemson had the third best graduation success rate in the nation among teams ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today coaches poll in September. Clemson’s graduation success rate for African Americans of 75 percent was 9th best in the nation among the 64 teams who went to bowl games this year. It was 11th best for all football student-athlete. Clemson’s graduation rate was fourth among the top 27 public national universities listed in this year’s US News & World Report rakings.
Facts on Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden Tommy Bowden has had Clemson bowl eligible all nine seasons he has been at Clemson. His streak of consecutive bowl eligible seasons is fourth longest among active Division I coaches. It is topped only by Bobby Bowden, his father at Florida State, Mack Brown at Texas and Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Bowden has coached Clemson in eight bowl games, now tied for the third most in ACC history. Bowden has led Clemson to eight consecutive winning seasons. That is the third longest streak of its kind in ACC history. Only his father, Bobby Bowden, and George Welsh, the former Virginia coach, have a longer streak. Bowden defeated former national championship coaches Bobby Bowden of Florida State and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina during the 2007 season. He has now beaten a coach that has won the national championship 14 times in his career at Clemson. Bowden completed the regular season with a 23-21 win over South Carolina on a field goal by Mark Buchholz on the last play of the game. It gave Bowden a 7-2 record against South Carolina for his career.
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