Senior Class Hopes To Keep Trend Alive


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Saturday will be the final home game for Clemson's 20 seniors.
Saturday will be the final home game for Clemson's 20 seniors.

CLEMSON - Clemson's strong finishes each of the last two years have been a larger example of a recent trend.


In the last seven seasons the Tigers have won their home finale each year. The last two campaigns, those wins were part of a stretch that saw Clemson finish 4-0 in 2003 and 5-1 in 2004.


The final home game is always Senior Day, and there's something to be said about a storybook finish to a college football career. Seniors, playing before the home crowd for the last time, want to go out on a high note; underclassmen do their best to support teammates who have been, perhaps, great role models for them as younger players.


And there could be something to all that. However, the opponent counts for something, too.


Of those seven straight home finale victories, four have come vs. South Carolina (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004) and the other three vs. Duke (1999, 2001, 2003). This year's final game at Death Valley is Saturday against Florida State, who has already clinched the ACC's Atlantic Division title and will play in the inaugural conference championship game Dec. 3 in Jacksonville.


Clemson Seniors in 2005
Name Pos. Hometown
Curtis Baham WR New Orleans, LA
Charles Bennett DE Camden, SC
Kyle Browning RB Union, SC
Cole Downer TE Chantilly, VA
David Dunham LB Lake City, FL
Matt Forbush S Kingsport, TN
Jamaal Fudge S Jacksonville, FL
Stephen Furr PK Lakeland, FL
Cory Groover DT Johnsonville, SC
Cliff Harrell FB Tallahassee, FL
Tye Hill CB Saint George, SC
Steven Jackson FB Columbia, SC
Rush Lowther QB Darlington, SC
Duncan McLaurin WR Dillon, SC
Chip Myrick OG Atlanta, GA
Lionel Richardson LB Huger, SC
David Schlink DT Katy, TX
Trey Tate DT Gaffney, SC
Charlie Whitehurst QB Duluth, GA
Bobby Williamson TE Tarpon Springs, FL


Winning this week will be more impressive than any of the others, not only because of caliber of competition but due to the circumstances involved. At 5-4, Clemson needs one win in its final two games to become bowl eligible. And with a road game at a suddenly Spurrier-inspired USC the following week, the usual victory Tiger fans expect vs. the Gamecocks may not be so automatic.


One thing remains certain.


There are a group of seniors on this 2005 team who don't want the stigma of being known as the first Tommy Bowden team not to finish a regular season bowl eligible. It would behoove them, then, to follow in the steps of the previous seven Clemson teams and take care of business at home one last time.


Pull that off, and they'll cement a place in Tiger lore for years to come.


***


Bowden made no new proclamations surrounding his quarterback situation following Thursday's practice. He said Charlie Whitehurst and Will Proctor again split snaps evenly, and Whitehurst's shoulder would be evaluated over the next two mornings.


***


The Clemson Athletic Department is urging fans to arrive in Clemson early on Saturday for the football game against Florida State. Over 80,000 fans are expected for the game as it has already sold out.


In 2001, the Homecoming game with North Carolina was also a 12:00 noon start and many fans missed the first quarter, never mind kickoff, because of the large attendance for the early game. With an early kickoff this week, fans tend to arrive at the same time. The Clemson Athletic Department is urging everyone to adjust their departure time so they can get to Clemson in time for kickoff.

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