Tigers and Irish looking forward to playing in Jerry's World


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AT&T Stadium will host the College Football Playoff Semifinal
AT&T Stadium will host the College Football Playoff Semifinal

Dabo Swinney has been in college football for a long time and he’s never been to the Cotton Bowl, while Clemson hasn’t played in one of the sport’s most iconic bowl games in 79 years. For both Swinney and the Tigers, it promises to be a trip to remember.

No. 2 Clemson will take on No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinals. The game will kick off at 4 pm on Dec. 29 and will be televised by ESPN. Instead of being played in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium, the game will be played at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL.

The stadium hosted the first national championship game in the CFP era four years ago and a semifinal game three years ago when Alabama beat Michigan State, 38-0. The Fighting Irish have played at AT&T Stadium once, beating Arizona State 37-34 in October 2013.

This will be only the fourth meeting between Clemson and Notre Dame, the first in a bowl game. The Irish won the first meeting in 1977, while the Tigers won matchups in 1979 and 2015.

“Me personally, I'm super excited to come to the Cotton Bowl,” Swinney said. “I've been in college football for a long time, and I've never had the opportunity to experience the Cotton Bowl, but know a lot of people who had and said what a great experience it is. And just to be a part of this Playoff, the players work so hard to achieve something. So we're thrilled to be in the final four.”

Clemson won the 2015 game against the Irish in a driving rainstorm, and Swinney said he is looking forward to once again matching up against a traditional football power in Notre Dame.

“To play one of the undefeateds in Notre Dame, one of the best programs in college football history, it's a special opportunity,” Swinney said. “And I know it will be a great week for both teams, an incredible challenge, but I know one that both teams will be excited about. I don't have any doubt it will be an unbelievable game. So looking forward to spending some time in Dallas and meeting everyone there. We just appreciate all the hospitality and all the hard work that goes into making it such a great event for our players.”

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said the Irish are excited about the opportunity of facing a Clemson team making its fourth consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff.

“They've been a model of consistency. We'll have a great challenge but one that we're excited about,” Kelly said. “We've been on a journey here the last couple years to put our football team back in this position. So we're certainly excited for the challenge that's in front of us.”

Swinney said he was looking forward to coaching in the stadium known as Jerry’s World, a nod to Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

“Well, just, first of all, that stadium. What a great venue. I've never been there,” Swinney said. “I've obviously seen it on TV. So I'm looking forward to playing a game in such an incredible environment and spending some extended time in Dallas. When I've been to Dallas, it's been kind of in and out. But just all the things I've heard about the Cotton Bowl in general, the hospitality and the wonderful committee folks that they have there.

“But just having a chance to compete against a great team and again on a great stage and representing Clemson the very best we can. That's what I'm looking forward to, and seeing our players just continue to enjoy their journey.”


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