Clemson spanked the South Carolina Gamecocks up, down, and all around Saturday night to the tune of 63-17. Surprisingly, the score was not even that close. One of South Carolina's touchdowns was a six-yard drive after a fumbled punt in which the Gamecocks successfully converted a 4th down play. The other touchdown was set up by a terrible pass interference call on a 3rd down that allowed the Gamecock drive to continue.
Coach Tommy Bowden completed this near miraculous turnaround by defeating his arch nemesis for the 4th time in 5 years. This Clemson football team was at its lowest point in the Tommy Bowden era after the Wake Forest debacle, but the team has rebounded magnificently to become one of the hottest teams in the country.
This is the best Clemson has played over a three game stretch in the Tommy Bowden era, especially when you consider the opponents in 2 of those 3 games.
Terry Don Phillips now is forced to play his hand and extend Tommy Bowden's contract at Clemson, and rightfully so.
Bad coaches don't win 8 games. Bad coaches don't hang 63 points on your rival. Bad coaches don't beat the #3 team in the country.
And, most importantly, bad coaches don't have their players rally around them when it would have been just as easy to tank. Ask the South Carolina players about quitting and throwing the towel in on the season. The Clemson players could have done just that after Wake Forest and nobody would have been shocked.
Instead, with great senior leadership and great guidance by Tommy Bowden, this team resurrected itself for 3 wins (2 of which will go down in history as some of the most satisfying wins in the program).
Will you and I really ever know for sure if Terry Don Phillips wanted Tommy back at Clemson prior to this 3 game winning streak? Probably not, although we can all have our hunches.
But Terry Don Phillips now needs secure Bowden at Clemson with a contract extension. This will help shore up the questions in the minds of the recruits and it will take Tommy Bowden off the "hot seat" with the media and fans. And I'm not talking a simple one-year rollover extension, I'm talking long term. Something that will secure Bowden at Clemson through the year 2010.
We have a tremendous opportunity to turn the corner with this football team that remains almost completely intact next year. Eliminating the questions about Coach Tommy Bowden is the first step in turning that corner.
And a genuine thanks goes out to the coaches and players for giving us a wonderful night to remember in Columbia. There are times, as fans, we don't deserve such inspired play…but we are grateful nonetheless!
It is great to be a Clemson Tiger!
A Night To Remember
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