Clemson vs. Alabama Postgame Notes


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Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden owns a 6-4 record in his 10 season openers. Overall,
Clemson is 83-22-8 in their first game of the season, regardless of site. In the nine previous
years Clemson has opened with a ranked opponent, the Tigers have gone on to a combined
record of 71-32-3, a .684 winning percentage. In contrast, Clemson has only a 58-percent
winning mark over the years in seasons it does not start the year against a ranked opponent.


Last time Clemson lost its season opener when ranked was in 1982. That year, Clemson was
ranked #11, and lost to then-#7 Georgia by a score of 13-7 in Athens, GA. Despite that loss,
Clemson went on to win the ACC with a 6-0 mark, and to finish the season ranked #8 in the AP
poll with a 9-1-1 overall record.


Tonight’s game marked the worst margin of defeat for the Tigers in a season opener since a 30-0
loss to Georgia in 2003, five years ago to the day. It is the overall worst margin of defeat for
Clemson since Wake Forest defeated the Tigers by a score of 45-17 in 2003.


Clemson’s zero rushing yards is the most dismal performance since 1947, when the Tigers had -
1 yards rushing in a 32-22 loss to Boston College. The only other negative rushing game was in
the Tigers’ 1942 loss, also to Boston College (14-7).


CJ Spiller’s 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, his career third, to start the second half tied
him with Justin Miller for most career kickoff returns for a touchdown. Miller still owns the record
for most career returns for a touchdown with five (3 KOR, 2 PR). In Clemson history, there have
only been eight other kickoff returns for more yards, with three of those being 100-yard returns.
That run marked the fifth 80+ yard play in Spiller’s career, and it was his 11th touchdown of more
than 50 yards. Prior to today, his longest kickoff return for touchdown was 90 yards against
Wake Forest in 2007. Spiller currently ranks sixth all-time for career kickoff return yards with 933.
He also ranks sixth in school history for all-purpose yards with 3306.


Mark Buccholz got the Tigers on the scoreboard with a 33-yard field goal at 14:17 in the second
quarter. Of the 14 games in which he has kicked for Clemson, Buccholz has made a field goal in
12.


Freshman Dawson Zimmerman recorded a 51-yard punt on his first attempt. The true freshman
finished the game with four punts for 160 yards, a 40.0 average. The Clemson record for a true
freshman punting average is 43.0 set by Dale Hatcher in 1981.


Aaron Kelly is Clemson’s career reception leader with 171 catches. He has 2039 yards on those
171 receptions, averaging 11.9 yards per catch. Kelly broke the record in the same facility in
which former record-holder Derrick Hamilton set the previous record of 167 receptions during the
Tigers’ 2003 Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over Tennessee.


Tyler Grisham caught his 100th career pass in the fourth quarter. He passed Mal Lawyer’s 99
career receptions to move into 14th on Clemson’s all-time list. Grisham has 1060 career yards,
averaging 10.6 yards per reception.


Cullen Harper moved into 15th on Clemson’s career list for total offense. He has a total of 3276
career yards on offense.


Kavell Conner led the Tiger defense with 16 tackles. The redshirt junior has played well in the
Georgia Dome. Last season, he recorded a then career-best 15 tackles against Auburn in the
Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

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