Ranking Dabo's wins: 24

Terry Don Phillips was all in with Dabo Swinney and C.J. Spiller was ready to open his Heisman Trophy campaign when the 2009 season kicked off with Middle Tennessee.

24.) Sept. 5, 2009

Clemson 37 Middle Tennessee 14

What Happened
The C.J. Spiller for Heisman push began just moments after the first whistle. The senior running back returned the game's opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

After that, that game was hardly a resume builder for Spiller. He finished with four carries for 12 yards and two punt returns for 63.

Spiller injured his toe -- yes, that toe -- and was limited in the second half.

Making his first appearance on the football field, two-sport star Kyle Parker completed 9 of 20 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 44 yards.

Dabo Swinney went 4-3 as the interim head coach at Clemson.
He connected with Jacoby Ford and Marquan Jones for the two touchdown passes.

The Stakes
Swinney already had a few games under his belt with the interim head coach title. This game, his first as full-time head coach, had a little more at stake. And given what happened in the season opener just a year earlier, there was plenty of pressure on Swinney and company.

Joining Swinney on the sidelines that fall were several experienced assistant coaches.

On the defensive staff was coordinator Kevin Steele, tackles coach Dan Brooks and backs coach Charlie Harbison.

Tight ends/tackles coach Danny Pearman was the only new assistant on the offensive side of the ball.

Before and After
Clemson started with a 2-3 record, which included an embarrassing 24-21 pre-bye week loss at Maryland. The Tigers went on to win their next six games and clinched the ACC Atlantic Division title for the first-time in school history.

The 2009 campaign ended with a 34-17 loss to South Carolina and a 39-34 ACC title game defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech.

Fortunately, for Swinney, Clemson beat Kentucky 21-13 after a roller coaster of a first season.

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