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The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today officially extended a bid to the Clemson University Tigers inviting them to represent the ACC in the Bowl's 36th annual game Jan. 2 in Atlanta. Clemson Athletic Director Dr. Terry Don Phillips and Head Coach Tommy Bowden formally accepted the offer at a press conference in McFadden Auditorium.
"Clemson's resurgence and strong finish to the season has earned them respect and a place in our game," said William Pate, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl chairman. "We feel that Charlie Whitehurst and the Tigers' high-powered offense will make a formidable opponent for the SEC in our game January 2."
Clemson finished the regular season 8-4 (5-3 in ACC) and was third in the conference. The Tigers' offensive attack was among the best in the ACC finishing second in yards per game (422.3), passing yards (3,441), passing yards per game (286.8) and was third in total points (338). Clemson capped the season in overpowering fashion with consecutive wins against ACC champion Florida State, Duke and a lopsided victory against rival South Carolina.
"Clemson was the only team in the conference to beat Florida State. They won their last three games by a combined 95 points and are playing as well as anyone in the country right now," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president. "This bid is a direct reflection of the improved play and dedication of the Clemson players and coaching staff."
The Tigers have appeared in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl five times, most recently in 1999. Clemson is 1-4 in those games including a 14-13 thriller over Kentucky in 1993. Their four losses came at the hands of Baylor (1979), LSU (1996), Auburn (1997) and Mississippi State (1999).
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the only guaranteed ACC vs. SEC match-up in the bowl business. In 2002, the Bowl played its 35th anniversary game, recorded its sixth straight sellout, attained its highest-ever team payout at $2.1 million per team and contributed a record $382,750 in charitable and scholarship contributions. For more information visit www.Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com.
Peach Bowl President Gary Stokan
"It's a pleasure to be here today. Its always a pleasure to be at Clemson Univeristy. Great people, great staff, and as always passionate fans. Clemson always brings us their A-game and gives us a competitive game. I'm here to announce today that Clemson has played their way into this game. Clemson played their way with a tremendous end to their season, being the only team to be the conference champs in Florida State."
Tommy Bowden Comments
"My players could not be more excited about the selection. There's no doubt that what Atlanta has to offer for our fans makes them excited as well. We are very appreciative of the Peach Bowl, Gary, and the selection committee."
AD Terry Don Phillips
"We are delighted to have this great opportunity to go to a great bowl game. We all recogonize the job that Coach Bowden, the staff, and what the players did to close out the season. On behalf of President Barker, and the board of trustees, we are very, very appreciative."