Georgia 31, Clemson 28
A 46-yard field goal attempt by Aaron Hunt with just 1:43
left in the game was dead-on line, but one yard short, and Georgia
went on to defeat Clemson 31-28 in Athens, GA on August 31. It was
the season opener for both teams, the first meeting between the ACC
and SEC rivals since 1995.
The contest reminded many of the classic confrontations that
were combated between the two schools in the 1970s and 1980s. At one
juncture between 1977-87 nine of the 11 games were decided by a
touchdown or less. As it is, each of the last two meetings have now
been two points and three points, respectively. This game ended in
the same score as Clemson's 1986 victory in Athens that was claimed
on a David Treadwell 46-yard field goal at the horn.
Georgia jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first half and was
on the verge of putting the game out of reach. Georgia's first
score came on an 80-yard drive that included two sportsmanlike
conduct penalities against Clemson after the Tigers had held Georgia
on third down. Damien Gary scored from four yards out to complete
the 80-yard drive. Clemson tied the game on a Bernard Rambert
one-yard run that was set up by a Kelvin Morris interception.
The Bulldogs Fred Gibson ran back the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for
a score in the second period to give the home team a 14-7 lead, the
first kick return for a touchdown against Tommy Bowden as Clemson
head coach. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against
any Clemson team since 1990. D.J. Shockley scored at the 8:10 mark
of the second period to make it a two-touchdown game.
But, Clemson scored just eight seconds before halftime on touchdown
pass from Willie Simmons to Kevin Youngblood, who was making his
first appearance in a Clemson uniform since 2000.
Clemson had the momentum at halftime and it continued in the second
half when Bryant McNeal returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown to
tie the game at the 9:54 mark of the third period. It was the first
defensive touchdown of McNeal's career at any level and first
touchdown by a Clemson front four lineman since 1999.
Clemson took the lead for the only time in the game at the 2:25 mark
when Yusef Kelly scored on a two yard run to culminate a 10-play
76-yard drive. Clemson then held Georgia and got the ball back on
the Clemson 44 with a chance to take a commanding lead. But, the
Bulldog defense rose to the occasion and sacked Willie Simmons for
a 15-yard loss on third down.
D.J. Shockley then led Georgia to the tying score. He connected with
senior Terrence Edwards on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 12:35 to go.
The play had been set up by a 40-yard punt return to the Clemson 31
by Damian Gary.
Clemson stalled on its next possession and Georgia took the lead back
on a Billy Bennett field goal from 43 yards out with 5:19 to play. Simmons then drove the Tigers from the Tiger 38 to the Georgia 30,
but could get no closer, setting up Hunt's 46-yard attempt.
Bernard Rambert was Clemson's top rusher with 35 yards on 10
attempts, while Chad Jasmin added 5-30. Clemson running backs had
23-100 rushing in the game, but the Georgia defense sacked Simmons
for -29 yards rushing. Youngblood led Clemson's receivers with 6-66
and a touchdown. Simmons was 17-37 for 165 yards and a score in his
first college start.
The Clemson defense was led by Eric Sampson in terms of tackles with
nine, including a sack. John Leake added eight tackles and two
tackles for loss, while Rodney Thomas and Eric Meekins both had eight
stops. Khaleed Vaughn led the defensive line with seven tackles,
including a 13-yard sack and a pass deflection. McNeal had four
tackles to go with his fumble return for a score. Kelvin Morris
(interception) and Leroy Hill (fumble recover off a kickoff return)
had the other takeaways for the Clemson defense.
Who Played at Georgia
Clemson played 60 different players at Georgia. Only three
first-year players appeared in the game, including just one
first-year freshman. Justin Miller, a cornerback, was the only
first-year freshman to appear and he played just two snaps. He did
make a tackle. Miller will get more time as the season progresses as
starting cornerback Toure Francis suffered a knee injury and could be
lost for the season.
Kelvin Morris, a junior college transfer roverback, and
Brandon Jamison, a junior college linebacker, were two other
defensive first-year players who saw action in the game. Morris made
the most of his 16 snaps with three tackles, including a tackle for
loss, and an interception, which came on his third play as a Clemson
Clemson played 24 different players on defense, 19 different
players on offense and 17 Tigers played on special teams only.
Sixteen of the players who participated were seniors, 19 were
juniors, 19 were sophomores and six were freshmen. Among the
starters, 10 were seniors, seven were juniors and five were
sophomores (classes by athletic eligibility).
Louisiana Tech Makes First Trip to Clemson
This will be the first trip for Louisiana Tech to Death
Valley. The Bulldogs will be the 43rd different team to come to the
facility. The Tigers are 29-12-1 against teams making their debuts
at Clemson. The last team to win its first game at Clemson was
Marshall, who defeated the Tigers 13-10 in Tommy Bowden's first game
as head coach in 1999. Notre Dame (1977) is the only other school
to win its debut game at Clemson since 1977.
Overall, this will be the 303rd game played in Death Valley,
which opened in 1942. Clemson has a record of 211-84-7 at Clemson
Memorial Stadium over the years a .710 winning percentage. Given a
minimum of three games played, the only schools with a winning record
against Clemson in Death Valley are Georgia (6-7-2), Auburn (2-4),
and Florida State (0-7). Clemson will have a chance to take Georgia
off that list next year when the Bulldogs come to Clemson to open the
2003 season on August 30th.
Clemson Defense Shows Promise
While Clemson did not gain victory at Georgia in the season
opener last week, there were many bright spots, especially on
defense. Clemson held the Bulldogs to 203 yards of total offense,
the fewest yards gained by the Bulldogs in a game since September of
2000, a stretch that covers over 20 games. It was also the fourth
best total defense figure by the Tigers under Tommy Bowden, a 37-game
Georgia entered the season ranked among the top offenses in
the nation according to many of the national media members, as Mark
Richt's team returns eight starters from last year's team that
averaged 432 yards per game of total offense, including 270 yards
a game through the air. Georgia averaged just 3.2 yards per play
on Saturday night, almost half of what they averaged for the 2001
season (6.1) on a per game basis.
The Bulldogs averaged 22.3 first downs per game last year and had
only 14 against the Tigers. Clemson gave up just one play over 10
yards the entire night and that was a 24-yard pass play. Clemson
held highly regarded quarterback David Greene and his corps of
receivers to just 117 yards through the air.
A comparison between Clemson's defense of 2001 and the performance at
Georgia also documents the improvement of the defense under
first-year coordinator John Lovett. Clemson allowed 394.9 yards per
game last year, but gave up just 203 last weekend. Clemson allowed
an average of 11 first downs per game last year through the air, but
Georgia had just four passing first downs against Clemson last week.
Clemson Defense Comparison
Category 2001 Avg. vs. Ga
First Downs/Game Allowed 21.9 14
Passing First Downs/Game 10.8 4
Rushing First Downs/Game 8.8 8
Total Yards/Game Allowed 394.9 203
Rushing Yards/Game Allowed 154.3 86
Passing Yards/Game Allowed 240.6 117
Yards/Play Allowed 5.3 3.2
Yards/Reception Allowed 13.4 7.8
Yards/rush Allowed 3.8 2.2
Turnovers Forced 1.58 3.0
McNeal Goes the Distance
Clemson senior defensive end Bryant McNeal realized the
dream of all linemen when he ran 55 yards for a touchdown with a
fumble at Georgia on August 31. That was the first time a Clemson
front four lineman had scored a touchdown since 1999 when Terry Jolly
ran 20 yards for a score with an interception of a Bobby Campbell
For McNeal, it was his first touchdown as a defensive player
in high school or college and his first touchdown of any kind since
he had a score as a tight end his senior year in high school. He
almost scored on defense in his final game of high school, but was
hauled down from behind at the seven-yard-line on an interception
McNeal has been a big play performer for the Tigers
throughout his career. The red-shirt senior from Swansea, SC was
third in the ACC in sacks in 2001 with eight. He had four caused
fumbles in 2001 to tie a Clemson single season record, and he also
had a fumble recovery. He was credited with four tackles at Georgia
and now needs just four against Louisiana Tech to reach an even 100
for his career. He has 13 career sacks and 21 career tackles for
loss in his 37 career games at Clemson.
Youngblood posts career High
While he was disappointed in Clemson's loss at Georgia,
junior wide receiver Kevin Youngblood had to feel good last Saturday
night at Athens, GA. For the first time since January 1, 2001, he
was on the field playing for the Tigers. Youngblood missed the
entire 2001 season after suffering a broken leg in an August practice.
Not only did Youngblood play and start against Georgia, he
was Clemson's leading receiver with six catches for 66 yards and a
touchdown. The score was a 21-yard reception from quarterback
Willie Simmons. It marked the third time in his career that he had
caught a touchdown pass and all three have come from Simmons.
Youngblood had a promising freshman year (2000) as an
understudy to first-round draft choice and former high school
teammate Rod Gardner. Youngblood was to replace Gardner's big plays
last year until he suffered the injury.
Gardner was in attendance on the Clemson sideline in Athens
as he took a day off as he prepares for his second year with the
Washington Redskins. Perhaps his presence brought out the best in
Youngblood, whose previous career high was just two catches in a
game four times in 2000. Youngblood had 13 catches for 225 yards as
a freshman, a 17.3 average.
Two Tiger RBs had Career Highs vs. Louisiana Tech
Two Clemson upperclassman running backs have their career
highs in terms of rushing yardage against Louisiana Tech, Clemson's
opponent on Saturday at Death Valley. Bernard Rambert had 16-101
on the ground in the Humanitarian Bowl against the Bulldogs last
year, for his only career 100-yard game, while Chad Jasmin had 16-83
in a reserve role in the same game. Rambert also had 3-77
receiving and a touchdown in that game, the most receiving yards ever
for a Clemson player who had a 100-yard rushing performance in the
Both figure to play prominent roles for the Tigers on
Saturday. Rambert began the season with 35 yards on 10 carries
against Georgia, while Jasmin had 5-30 for a strong six-yard average.
Jasmin, an inside runner, has a 5.1 career average in three years for
Walk-ons Make Contribution
Clemson received a contribution from three walk-ons in the
Georgia game on August 31. Center Tommy Sharpe played 22 snaps at
center. It was the first career action for Sharpe, who was on the
roster as a snapper last year, but never appeared in a game. Sharpe
was on the field for two Clemson scoring drives.
Wide received Tony Elliott had the second catch of his
Clemson career, a 20-yard reception at an important juncture of the
second half. Elliott began his college career at the prep school
for the Air Force Academy, but decided to transfer to Clemson after
one year. The first place he visited when he came to the Clemson
campus was Death Valley, where he had always dreamed of playing.
A third walk-on started the game, Toure Francis. Francis was
a starting cornerback in the game, but suffered a knee injury just 12
plays into the contest. He could be out for the season. He was
trying to be the first Clemson walk-on since 1991 (Rob Bodine, MG) to
start for the course of the season. Francis is not exactly coming out
of nowhere. He started three games and played in all 12 last year at
cornerback. He had 37 tackles and two interceptions, plus three pass
deflections. For his career he has played in 24 games and has 47
An Unusual Night in Sanford Stadium
There were many unusual occurrences from a statistical
standpoint during Clemson's 31-28 loss at Georgia on August 31.
Here is a summary:
*Clemson won the turnover margin and the total offense war,
yet lost the game. It was only the fourth game since 1980 that
Clemson had the upper hand in those important categories, yet lost
*Clemson held Georgia to 203 yards of total offense. Clemson
had won 15 straight games when holding the opposition to 210 yards or
less and had not lost when allowing the opposition less than 210
yards since 1988 (NC State). Clemson had been 38-3 since 1978 when
holding the opposition under 210 yards of total offense.
*Clemson had been 20-3 under Tommy Bowden when it had the
upper hand in terms of total offense and had been 13-5 when it had
won the turnover margin battle.
*Clemson and Georgia combined to score 59 points, yet the
teams each failed to reach 250 yards. Clemson had 233 yards of total
offense and Georgia had just 203 for a total of just 436 between
them. The two teams averaged over 850 yards per game combined last
*Clemson had won 13 of 17 games under Tommy Bowden when
holding the ball for more than 30 minutes. Clemson had the ball for
over 30 minutes at Georgia, yet lost the game.
*Clemson had a 22-2 record when leading heading into the
fourth period under Tommy Bowden.
*A key score for Georgia was a kickoff return for a touchdown
by sophomore Fred Gibson. No team coached by Tommy Bowden had ever
allowed a kickoff or punt return for a touchdown, a streak of 59
Louisiana Tech Wins Opener
Virtually at the same hour Clemson was facing Georgia in
Athens, Louisiana Tech was opening its season with a come-from-behind
victory over Oklahoma State in a game played at Independence Stadium
in Shreveport, LA.
Luke McCown led Louisiana Tech on a 21-0 run to close the
game and lead the Bulldogs to a 39-36 victory. McCown, a junior who
threw for 3665 yards a year ago, got his junior year off to quite a
start by completing 38-66 passes for 448 yards and three scores. He
lost 14 yards rushing, but was sacked just twice in 66 pass attempts.
McCown accounted for all three touchdowns in the comeback that took
place over the last 15:22 of the game, as he rushed for one and threw
for two scores during that time.
McCown completed passes to nine different receivers,
including 11 completed passes to running back Joe Smith and 6-103 to
receiver Erick Franklin. Smith was also the top rusher in the game
with 17-53 and one score.
Just as Clemson had an unusual game in many respects at
Georgia, the same goes for the Louisiana Tech vs. Oklahoma State
game. When was the last time you saw a game where the two teams
combined for 75 points, but there were 21 punts between the two
teams? With the fast paced offense employed by both teams, and 107
combined pass attempts vs. just 53 rushing plays, there were a lot of
possessions. The two teams combined for just one turnover and each
club scored five touchdowns.
Michael Johnson, led the Tech defense with nine tackles, but
Curtis Randall had a pair of tackles for loss and a sack for nine
yards. Carlin Thomas also contributed five tackles and two tackles
for loss to lead the defense
The two teams combined for just 23 points in the first half,
then Oklahoma State won the third period 22-16. Louisiana Tech won
the fourth period, 14-0. State had a 36-18 lead with 2:18 left in
the third period before Louisiana Tech, and McCown got in high gear.
The winning score came on a 23-yard pass from McCown to Franklin of
23 yards with exactly one minute left. The play culminated an
eight-play, 73-yard drive.
Ball Could be In the Air Often on Saturday
Although this Saturday's game is a 1:00 PM kickoff with no
live TV (no TV timeouts), you might not want to make plans for
dinner. That was the case for both teams last weekend, as the
Clemson vs. Georgia game lasted 3:27 and the Oklahoma State vs.
Louisiana Tech game lasted 3:45.
Clemson threw 37 passes at Georgia, while Louisiana Tech
threw 66 passes in its victory over Oklahoma State. Louisiana Tech
threw it 59 times against Clemson last year in the Humanitarian Bowl,
the most passes ever attempted against Clemson.
In the first meeting between the two teams last December the
two teams combined for 998 yards of total offense. That is the
seventh highest total offense game for both teams combined in Clemson
history. The two teams combined for 675 yards passing in that game,
the fourth highest total for both teams combined in Clemson history.
Both teams have outstanding quarterbacks so you can see why
both head coaches might put the ball in the air. Luke McCown is an
All-America candidate for Louisiana Tech. A candidate to be the
Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, McCown has already
thrown for 6657 yards and 53 touchdowns in his 21-game career. Let's put that in perspective. Woodrow Dantzler is Clemson's career
leader in passing yards (6037) and touchdown passes (41), figures he
achieved in four years. McCown basically still has two years to play
and he already has numbers ahead of what Dantzler did at Clemson.
Dantzler's replacement, Willie Simmons, has not had nearly
the playing time at Clemson that McCown has had at Louisiana Tech,
but, he is gaining in experience and threw his 11th career touchdown
pass last Saturday in Athens. He has 11 career touchdown passes on
184 attempts, a touchdown every 16.7 attempts. McCown averages a
touchdown pass every 18.0 attempts, as he has 53 touchdown passes on
956 career attempts.
Simmons made his first career start at Georgia last weekend,
and had a solid game in a hostile environment, completing 17 passes
for 165 yards and a touchdown to Kevin Youngblood, who had a career
high six receptions. This will be Simmons's first career start in
Death Valley. He has had some memorable moments as a reserve,
however. He threw for four touchdown passes at North Carolina in
2000, as he led Clemson from a 17-point deficit to a 38-24 victory.
He also threw a clutch touchdown pass to Rod Gardner in 2000 against
The Yellow Jackets came back to win in the final seconds, but it was
still a positive experience for Simmons, who was a freshman at the
time. Last year, Simmons threw a touchdown pass of 57 yards to
Derrick Hamilton against Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Clemson vs. The WAC
This will be Clemson's 10th game against teams currently in
the Western Athletic Conference. Louisiana Tech is the defending
WAC Champion. Clemson is 6-3 against WAC teams in the previous nine
contests. All three losses have come to Rice, as the Tigers are 4-3
lifetime against the Owls. All of those games took place when Rice
was in the Southwest Conference.
Clemson is 1-0 lifetime against Louisiana Tech and UTEP.
Clemson is 3-0 against WAC teams in games played in Death Valley.
Bussey Common Denominator in Both Schools
Charley Bussey, Clemson's first academic All-American in any
sport, served as Louisiana Tech's Athletic Director from December of
1980 until the June of 1983.
Bussey was the starting quarterback on Clemson's 1956 team that won
the ACC championship and played Colorado in the 1957 Orange Bowl. He
was a two-time Academic All-ACC selection and was voted a third-team
Academic All-American for the 1956 season. An all-purpose player, he
led Clemson in interceptions in 1955, and in passing and punting in
In 1967, he was working for the Laurens Glass company and was sent
to Ruston, LA to serve as plant manager, a position he held until
1970. During that time, he watched a lot of college football games
at the nearby school, Louisiana Tech, which was gaining national
acclaim at the time behind a quarterback named Terry Bradshaw. In 1980, he returned to Louisiana Tech to serve as athletic director.
During his tenure with the Bulldog program, the team posted a 10-3
season in 1982, including the championship of the Southland
Conference and a victory in the I-AA playoffs over South Carolina
State. Louisiana Tech also won two national championships in
women's basketball and was runnerup in his third year as the athletic
Today, Bussey is back at Clemson where he serves as director of the
Clemson Lettermen's Association.
Coaching Sons Do Battle in Death Valley
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Jack Bicknell is the second member
of his family to coach against the Tigers in Death Valley. Bicknell
is the son of Jack Bicknell, who coached at Boston College against
Clemson in 1982 and 1983. Most recently, the older Bicknell has been
coaching NFL Europe with the Barcelona Dragons. Of course, Clemson
Head Coach Tommy Bowden is the son of Florida State Head Coach Bobby
The older Bicknell was 1-0-1 against Clemson during the
1982-83 seasons. That is saying something, considering Clemson was
18-2-2 combined in those two years. Bicknell's Boston College
Eagles tied the Tigers 17-17 during the 1982 season at Clemson in a
game that was televised nationally by CBS. The next year, at Boston,
Clemson took a 16-3 lead. But, Boston College went on a 28-0 run
behind quarterback Doug Flutie to come away with a 31-16 victory.
That was Clemson's only loss in the 1983 season.
The starting center for Boston College in the 1983 contest
was Jack Bicknell, the current head coach of Louisiana Tech. He was
the starting center for Boston College in 1983 and 1984 and was a
member of the 1982 team that played in Death Valley.
Bicknell became the head coach at Louisiana Tech in 1999, the
same year Bowden became the head coach at Clemson. Bicknell was the
offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech in 1997-98 prior to become
Clemson Downs Louisiana Tech in 2001 Humanitarian Bowl
Clemson finished its 2001 season on a high note, defeating
Louisiana Tech, 49-24 in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, ID on New
Year's Eve. It was the most points Clemson has ever scored in a bowl
game and it ended a five-game bowl losing streak for the Tigers.
Clemson was outstanding on offense and defense in the game
that was played in snow and 32 degree temperatures. It was the first
time Clemson had played in the snow since 1936 and the game time
temperature was the coldest in Clemson history.
The elements did not stop quarterback Woodrow Dantzler, who
concluded his career with a game MVP performance. The graduate
student completed 15 of 23 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns.
The touchdown pass total tied his own Clemson record. He also added
15 rushes for 57 yards in leading Clemson to an almost perfectly
balanced 273 yards rushing and 275 yards passing. The Tigers
averaged 6.5 yards per play and totaled 548 yards of total offense.
Bernard Rambert led the running backs with 16 carries for 101
yards and a score. He also had 3-77 receiving and a touchdown,
giving him a career high 178 all-purpose running yards. That was
also a record for any Clemson player in a bowl game.
The touchdown reception was a 62-yard catch that gave the Tigers a
28-10 lead in the third period. It was one of four touchdowns for
Clemson in the 28-point third period, the highest scoring quarter in
Clemson bowl history. Derrick Hamilton had four receptions for 94
yards, including a 57-yard scoring pass from Willie Simmons, while
freshman Roscoe Crosby had 4-69 and a score.
Clemson scored seven touchdowns in the game, including a
record five touchdowns through the air. Four different Clemson
freshmen scored touchdowns, a first in school history. In addition
to the scores by Hamilton and Crosby, Airese Currie scored on a
19-yard run on a "Panther Play", and tight end Ben Hall scored on a
five-yard touchdown reception.
The defense was not far behind. Clemson's defense held
Louisiana Tech to just 10 points over the first 53 minutes of the
game. John Leake led the tacklers with 13, while Braxton K.Williams
concluded his career in grand style with 10 tackles, two tackles for
loss, a pass deflection and a sack.
Eric Meekins, Charles Hafley and Brian Mance all had interceptions of
Louisiana Tech quarterback Luke McCown, who completed 25 of 52
passes. Clemson had six sacks on defense, one by six different
players. Clemson held Louisiana Tech to just 49 yards rushing.
Bowden Has Faced Louisiana Tech Twice
This will not be the first time Jack Bicknell and Tommy
Bowden have been across the field from one another. In fact it will
be the third time it has happened. The most recent contest took
place last year in the Humanitarian Bowl, a 49-24 Clemson win.
In 1998, when Bowden was head coach at Tulane and Bicknell was
offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech, Tulane defeated Louisiana
Tech, 63-30. That was Bowden's last game prior to coming to Clemson.
Tulane used a balanced attack to gain the victory. Tulane
had 303 yards rushing and 330 passing in what was Tommy Bowden's
final game as Tulane Head Coach. The Greene Wave scored nine
touchdowns on its first 10 possessions behind quarterback Shaun King.
King completed 19-26 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns on
the night. He also rushed for 92 yards. Tulane scored 21 points in
the second quarter and the third period to put the game out of reach
and clinch and undefeated regular season.
Louisiana Tech, with Bicknell serving as offensive line
coach, was productive offensively also, gaining 525 yards of total
offense, including 471 passing. Tech threw 57 passes in the contest.
Tigers from Louisiana
Clemson has just two players on its roster from Louisiana,
fullback Chad Jasmin and defensive back Curtis Baham. Jasmin is the
team's top fullback, while Baham is a red-shirt freshman receiver.
Jasmin had an outstanding performance against Louisiana Tech
last year in the Humanitarian Bowl, rushing for a career high 83
yards on 16 carries in 30 plays of action. Jasmin got his junior
season off on the right foot at Georgia with 30 yards in just five
carries. For his career, Jasmin now has 294 yards on just 58
attempts, a 5.1 average.
Jasmin came to Clemson from St. James High School in
Vacherie, LA. He rushed for 2018 yards in 210 attempts his senior
year, a 9.6 average, and scored 33 touchdowns. He was an all-state
performer in high school.
Baham red-shirted last year and obviously did not play
against Louisiana Tech last year. He did not make the travel squad
for the Georgia game. A defensive back from Christian High School in
New Orleans, Baham was a 4A All-State player as a junior and senior.
He is the son of Curtis Baham, who played collegiately at Tulane and
with Seattle in the NFL.
Clemson Faces Tough Schedule in 2002
In many ways this will be Clemson's most difficult schedule.
The 2002 Tigers have nine games against teams who had winning records
last year and eight of the 2002 opponents played in bowl games last
Nationally, Clemson is tied for third in number of games
against teams who had winning records in 2001 and tied for fourth in
number of 2001 bowl opponents on the 2002 schedule.
Clemson has had some difficult schedules under Tommy Bowden.
The 1999 schedule is listed as the 10th toughest in the nation
according to the 2002 NCAA Record Book. In 2001, Clemson had five
wins over teams with winning records, one off the Clemson single
Clemson in Home Openers
Even though this is the 107th season of Clemson football, Clemson
has had just 101 home openers in its history because five seasons
Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 101 previous home
openers, Clemson has a 77-16-8 record against 28 different opponents.
Clemson opens its home schedule September 7 vs. Louisiana Tech.
Clemson is 2-1 in home openers under Tommy Bowden. Clemson lost to
Marshall in Bowden's first game as Clemson coach in 1999, then
defeated The Citadel and Central Florida in its last two season
openers, which were played at home.
Four Appearances on ESPN for Tigers
The Clemson vs. Georgia game was the first of four
appearances for the Tigers on ESPN during the regular season. This
will be the most live regular season appearances on ESPN for Clemson.
Clemson has been on ESPN four times in a season in 1989, 1997
and 1999, but each of those seasons included a bowl game appearance
on the world's top sports network. Clemson was 4-0 in games on ESPN
in 1989, 1-3 in 1997 and 0-4 in 1999.
Clemson is 13-21 in live broadcasts on ESPN over the years,
but won its last outing on the network, the 49-24 win over Louisiana
Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. Clemson has played 24 games on a
tape delayed basis on ESPN, all between 1979 and 1984. Clemson was
15-8-1 in those games. Thus, Clemson's all-time record on ESPN is
In addition to the Georgia game, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
game will be shown on ESPN-2 on September 14th. The Clemson vs.
Florida State game (Oct. 3) and Clemson vs. NC State game (Oct. 24)
will be part of the ESPN Thursday night package.
Leake Leads Defense
The top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior
John Leake. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an
increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a
snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he
ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated
Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The
Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the
ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five
of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over
Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Leake has football in his blood. His father played for
Wyoming as a wide receiver in the 1960s. He opened the 2002 season
with a strong game, as he had eight tackles to rank second on the
team. He also led the team with a pair of tackles for loss and had
much to do with Clemson's ability to hold Georgia to but 203 yards of
Bowden Offenses Among Best in Clemson History
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden came to Clemson with the
reputation of producing big numbers on offense. His Tulane team of
1998 averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game and was the
only squad in the nation to average at least 300 yards passing and
His offensive numbers have not been quite as striking at
Clemson, but they have been noteworthy. Here is a list of the Bowden
offensive stats as they relate to Clemson history in his three years
*3 of the top 4 completion totals in Clemson history
*The top 3 passing yardage single season figures
*The top three seasons in terms of passing yards/game
*3 of the top four completion percentage figures
*2 of the top 3 yards per play figures, and top two since 1950
*3 of the top 5 total offense per game figures
*3 of the top 4 first downs/game figures
* 2 of the top 7 scoring teams in school history
Clemson Offense Averages 419 Yards Under Bowden
Clemson has a 22-15 record under Tommy Bowden and a
consistent balanced offense has been a big reason. Over the his four
years he has been the head coach the Tigers have averaged 419 yards
per game in total offense.
Clemson has gained an average of 186 rushing and 233 passing over the
37 games. In an average game under Bowden the Tigers have averaged
30.7 points a game and scored four touchdowns. On average, the
Tigers run the ball 44.3 times and throw it 32.3 times under Bowden.
Clemson has scored 150 touchdowns in the 37 games, over four per
game. Twenty-one of the 37 games Clemson has had at least 400 yards
of total offense.