To say a lot has happened since Clemson and Wake Forest last met on the gridiron would be an understatement. Last November 1, Wake Forest defeated Clemson 45-17 in Winston-Salem, a game in which the Deacons held a 45-0 lead entering the fourth period.
Since that game, Wake Forest has lost three games by an average of 18.3 points per game. Clemson has not lost since that loss to Wake Forest, outscoring the opposition by 27 points per game.
Not only did Clemson close the season with four straight victories, but two of them were against a #3 Florida State team and a #6 Tennessee team, two of the top four highest ranked victories in terms of AP poll position in Clemson history.
Below are some items of interest about the Clemson vs. Wake Forest series:
* Clemson owns 53 wins over Wake Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 61 wins over South Carolina. Forty-two of those wins have taken place since the ACC was formed in 1953.
* Clemson has a 42-7-1 edge in the series since 1953. Clemson has played Wake Forest in football 50 consecutive years, as the last year the two schools did not play was 1952. The two schools will be in the same division when Boston College joins the ACC next year, so they will continue to play annually.
* Clemson leads the series 53-15-1 overall, including a 30-7 record in games played at Clemson and a 26-7 mark in games played in Death Valley. Clemson did not lose at home to Wake Forest between 1962-92. Wake Forest broke the streak in 1993 when Jim Caldwell's first team defeated Clemson 20-16 at Death Valley. Clemson went on to finish that season 9-3.
* Only one coach in history won as many as four games against Clemson without a loss in Death Valley and the coach was from Wake Forest. Frank Howard and Peahead Walker had a close friendship, but Peahead had a 4-0 record against Howard in Death Valley.
* Clemson has won eight out of 10 against Wake Forest dating to 1994. The Demon Deacons won back-to-back games in 1992-93, the only time Wake Forest has won consecutive contests against Clemson since 1946-47. Obviously the Demon Deacons could do that with a victory on Saturday.
* Jim Grobe could become the first Wake Forest coach to defeat Clemson in consecutive years since 1946-47 when Walker did it if he can beat the Tigers on Saturday. When Wake Forest defeated Clemson in 1992-93, Bill Dooley was the winning coach in 1992 and Jim Caldwell was winning Wake Forest coach in 1993.
* Clemson has a 17-8-1 lead in the series in games played at Wake Forest, including 10-4-1 in games played at Groves Stadium. Clemson had won four in a row at Wake Forest prior to the loss in 2003. Bill Dooley defeated the Tigers 18-15 in 1992 at Winston-Salem, and that was the last Wake Forest win on its home turf before last year.
* Clemson has a 4-1 record against Wake Forest under Tommy Bowden, but three of the four Clemson wins have been close. The Tigers won 12-3 in 1999, 21-14 in 2001 and 31-23 in 2002. Clemson's only blowout against Wake Forest took place in 2000 when Clemson won by a 55-9 score.
* The two teams have played at three neutral sites in history, including Tokyo, Japan. Clemson won that game in 1982 by a 21-17 score to close out an ACC Championship season.
* Clemson defeated a Wake Forest team coached by current Virginia coach Al Groh on Halloween Day 1981 by an 82-24 score. That is the highest scoring game in ACC history involving two league teams. Clemson was 12-12 on third down in that game, a school record. The Tigers went on to win the national championship.
Clemson enters the 2004 season on a four-game winning streak, the first time it has entered a season on that long a streak since the beginning of the 1991 season when Clemson was coming off a five-game streak to end the 1990 season. Clemson returns 14 starters and 56 lettermen from the 2004 season and as a result is ranked in the preseason top 20 of most polls.
One person responsible for a lot of the optimism is Charlie Whitehurst the 6-4 junior quarterback who established 33 Clemson records last year. USA Today is among the list of publications who list Whitehurst as a preseason Heisman candidate. He has a 12-6 record as a starter, including three wins over top 25 teams.
The running back position took a hit during the preseason when Duane Coleman suffered a broken foot on August 10, an injury that will force him to miss at least the first two home games. Coleman became just the second player in Clemson history (Travis Zachery is the other) to rush for 600 yards and receive passes for over 300 yards in the same season.
Yusef Kelly, Clemson's leading rusher in 2002, Reggie Merriweather, a sophomore, and Kyle Browning, who started two games in 2003, are the candidates to start for the Tigers against Wake Forest. All three have had strong moments in the preseason.
The offensive line will miss graduated tackles William Henry and Greg Walker, both of whom were getting strong looks in NFL camps during late August. Cedric Johnson is the most experienced of the returning starters at offensive guard. Tommy Sharpe is a former walk-on now on scholarship who has been the starting center for all 17 of Whitehurst's 18 starts.
The top returning receiver is fleet of foot senior Airese Currie. He had 43 catches for 560 yards in 10 games last year, including a Clemson record 12 catches against Middle Tennessee. Curtis Baham had 22 catches last year and should move into a starting role this year, while Kelvin Grant is a gifted sophomore. Chansi Stuckey, a quarterback much of last year who led the Tigers to 17 points at Wake Forest last year, is a gifted athlete who could fill the role provided by ACC all-purpose running leader Derrick Hamilton last year.
The defense is led by All-America candidate Leroy Hill. One of two ACC players on the Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski lists, Hill had 145 tackles last year, including 27 tackles for loss, second best in the nation. Helping out in the front seven will senior tackle Eric Coleman, who has never started a game, but has played 677 snaps in his career. Mo Fountain is another team leader at defensive end who started seven games last year.
According to the preseason magazines, the strength of the entire Clemson team might be in the secondary. The group of Tiger defensive backs was ranked second best in the nation in the 2004 Sporting News Preseason report.
Justin Miller and Tye Hill give the Tigers two outstanding cover corners. Like Currie, a sprinter on the Clemson track team, Hill was one of the most improved players in the ACC last year. Miller has 10 career interceptions and is ranked as one of the top five cornerbacks in the country by The Sporting News. Jamaal Fudge and Travis Pugh are under rated safeties who made over 100 tackles last year. Eric Sampson is a hybrid linebacker/defensive back who is capable of making a game saving tackle of game saving interception.
Whitehurst on Clemson Career Lists
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is just a junior, but he already holds 33 Clemson passing records. That list includes career marks for completion percentage (.605) and passing efficiency (133.3). Of course, holding those records can vary from week to week depending on his performance.
Whitehurst is already in the top four in seven major passing categories and could become the Clemson career leader in many of those areas by midseason. For instance, he needs just 50 completions to break Woody Dantzler's record of 460. He is 923 yards away from the passing yardage mark and 11 touchdown passes from that mark. Dantzler also holds those records.
Whitehurst has started just 18 games in his Clemson career (12-6 record) and has played 22 games overall. Last year he averaged 22 completions in 36 attempts for 274 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game.
Charlie Whitehurst on Clemson Career Records List
|Passing Yards||3rd||5115||6037, Woody Dantzler|
|Pass Attempts||4th||679||805, Nealon Greene|
|Completions||3rd||411||460, Woody Dantzler|
|Touchdown Passes||3rd||31||41, Woody Dantzler|
|Interception %||3rd||2.8%||2.55%, Chris Morocco|
The Fall Finish of 2003
Clemson won its last four games of the 2003 season, thanks to statistical excellence in just about every phase of the game. During the stretch, Tommy Bowden defeated three coaches who have won the national championship (Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Bowden and Lou Holtz). Holz and Bowden both have over 200 victories.
During the four-game winning streak quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 84-133 for 1,151 yards and eight touchdowns. That is a 63.2 completion percentage and 288 yards per game. He had 306 yards per game in terms of total offense during the four wins. Linebacker LeRoy Hill led the defense with 43 tackles to match the number on his uniform.
The biggest area where Clemson dominated might have been in rushing defense. Clemson held Florida State to 11 yards rushing, fewest by a Bobby Bowden coached Florida State team, and held Tennessee to a season low 38 yards rushing in 26 attempts.
Clemson enters this season as one of nine schools with a four-game winning streak. The others are Miami (OH) (14, including a victory this year), Boise State (11), Southern Cal (10, including win over Virginia Tech), LSU (8), UCONN (5), Maryland (5), Utah (5, plays Texas A&M Thursday), and Miami (FL) (4).
Clemson Statistics over Last Four Games of 2004
Clemson has Six Home Wins in a Row
Clemson enters the Wake Forest game on a six-game winning streak in Death Valley. This is a modest streak, but the first time Clemson has won six in a row at home since November 6, 1999 through October 14, 2000 when Clemson also won six straight in Death Valley. Clemson's last loss at home was the opening game of 2003, a 30-0 setback against Georgia.
A victory against Wake Forest would give the Tigers seven straight home wins. That has not happened since November 4, 1995 through November 16, 1996. Ironically, that seven-game home winning streak was broken by current Clemson assistant head coach Brad Scott, when he led South Carolina to a 34-31 victory in the final home game of 1996. The Clemson record for winning streak at home is 13, set between 1927-31. Clemson had a 25-game home unbeaten streak from 1980-84, but the Tigers had two ties during that streak.
Hill, Currie Seek Double ACC Championships
Clemson starting cornerback Tye Hill and starting wide receiver Airese Currie have already been on an ACC Championship team in 2004. Both were key members of Clemson's 2004 ACC Outdoor Track championship team. The Tigers won the event last April with 224 points, the most in the history of the meet by any school.
Hill could claim the title as the ACC's fastest athlete because he won the ACC Championship in the 60 meters indoors (6.73) and captured the 100 meters outdoors (10.29). He is the seventh Clemson track athlete to win both in the same academic year. Only one man has done it twice in a career and that is Shawn Crawford, who won the Gold Medal in the 200 meters in Athens this summer. Hill hopes to join Crawford with that distinction this coming year.
Currie ran a Clemson team season best 10.22 in the 100 meters outdoors and was a member of Clemson's ACC Championship 4X100 meter relay. He was the NCAA East Region champion in the 100 meters in 2003 and was a track All-American as a freshman in 2002 when he was a member of Clemson's national second place 4X100 meter relay team.
A third Clemson football player who is a two-sport athlete is reserve cornerback C.J. Gaddis. The native of North Carolina was a member of Clemson's baseball team in 2004.
Crawford Wins Gold
This is a bit of a stretch, but there was a tie to Clemson football and the Olympics this summer. Former Clemson track All-American Shawn Crawford won the Gold Medal in the 200 meters in Athens in a time of 19.79, the fastest time in the world in four years. He also was a member of the Silver Medal 4X100 meter relay. Crawford is the first athlete with ties to Clemson to win a Gold Medal for a United States team since 1996 when Kim Graham won a gold for the United States 4X100 meter relay team, and Gigi Fernandez won a Gold Medal in women's doubles in the tennis competition.
Crawford tried his hand at football as a running back in the fall of 1999, his senior year at Clemson and coach Bowden's first year. He stayed with the team for a month, from mid-August to mid-September and was actually in the program roster for the first three games. He had a 65-yard run in a preseason scrimmage that got everyone's attention. But, a knee injury made him reconsider his football career and he left the team just prior to the Virginia Tech game of September 23rd that year. He never did appear in a game.
Clemson Season Tickets Sold Out
The Clemson University Athletic Ticket office announced in July that full season tickets for the 2004 football season are sold out. This is the first time Clemson has announced a preseason sellout of season tickets.
"The excitement has carried over from the strong finish of the 2003 season resulting in a sell out of available seating for season tickets," said Ticket Manager, Bobby Skelton.
The addition of Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2004 season has also added to the excitement concerning the upcoming season. Clemson will play at Miami (FL) on November 6, the first meeting between the two schools since 1956.
Clemson season ticket sales are up 2000 from the previous year to nearly 57,000 and the sale of ticket packages has almost doubled from 2003, resulting in the Clemson-South Carolina game being a total sell out.
Tickets are still available for the five remaining home games at a cost of $32.00 each. The opponents for those games are Wake Forest (Sept. 4), Georgia Tech (Sept. 11), Utah State (Homecoming on Oct. 16), Maryland (Oct. 23) and NC State (Oct. 30).
Tickets may be purchased by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-CLEMSON or online at www.clemsontigers.com.
Clemson Fourth in ACC Preseason Poll
Clemson is picked fourth in the preseason ACC football poll. The Tigers received one vote for first place out of the 88 ballots that were cast. Florida State was first, followed by Miami (FL), Virginia, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech, NC State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke.
Clemson was picked fifth in the preseason poll by the ACC media last year, but finished third in the final standings, a contributing factor to Tommy Bowden selection as ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in his five years at Clemson. In his five years at Clemson, Bowden has finished worse than predicted in the ACC preseason poll, just once. In 2001 Clemson was picked third and finished fourth. His first year, 1999, Clemson was picked sixth in the preseason and finished second, one of only two times since 1976 that Clemson has finished four spots better than the preseason pick.
Since 1976 when the ACC preseason poll started, Clemson has finished better than predicted nine times, finished the same eight times and finished worse nine times.
Clemson has been picked in the top 20 for many preseason polls for 2004. Bill Curry of ESPN, picked Clemson to win the ACC in an August 26 article on ESPN.com. Individually, three Clemson players were ranked among the top 100 in the nation by Bruce Feldman of EPSN The Magazine. Those players were Charlie Whitehurst (#23), Leroy Hill (#29), and Justin Miller (#79).
Whitehurst was ranked eighth among candidates for the Heisman Trophy during the summer by Nationalchamps.net and was among 15 candidates for the award listed by USA Today in its preseason issue, and one of 20 candidates for the award by CBS Sportsline. Whitehurst is also on the preseason candidate list for the Davey O'Brien Award and the Walter Camp Award.
Clemson linebacker LeRoy Hill is a preseason candidate for the Lombardi Award, the Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award. Hill is one of 16 players who are on all three lists. Hill and NC State linebacker Pat Thomas are the only ACC players on all three lists.
Here is a rundown of Clemson's top 20 preseason rankings:
#13--Sporting News, Athlon
#15--Football Writers Association, Associated Press
#16--Sports Illustrated, USA Today
#19--College Football News
Clemson 32nd in US News and World Report Poll
Clemson University President Jim Barker stated publicly when he took his current position in1999 that he had a goal of making Clemson one of the top 20 national public universities in the nation. On August 20, the latest rankings were released and Clemson was listed at #32, a seven position jump in the last two years and up from #35 last year. Clemson was named Time Magazine's Public College of the Year in 2001.
Pickens, Richardson, Downer Receive Scholarships
Three former walk-ons were given scholarships for the 2004 season. The list includes Jesse Pickens, who could be Clemson's starting left tackle against Wake Forest, Lionel Richardson, a reserve WHIP linebacker, and Cole Downer, another offensive lineman.
Richardson, a junior from Huger, SC, started four games last year and had 24 tackles in 205 plays from scrimmage. He had seven tackles each in victories over Virginia and North Carolina. He is the only electrical engineering major on the team.
Pickens has come from obscurity to the starting position at left tackle. In fact, when he starts against Wake Forest it will be the first time he has ever played in a game. He came to Clemson in the fall of 2001 after spending his first year out of school at Spartanburg Tech in nearby Spartanburg, SC.
Pickens could be the first original walk-on to start on the offensive line for Clemson since way back in ......2003. Tommy Sharpe, Clemson's starting center, is also an original walk-on.
50 Years of Cannon Fire
This will be the 50-year anniversary of a cannon sounding after each Clemson score. A Clemson cheerleader has fired the cannon for every score, home and away since the season opener of 1954.
The tradition began in 1954 when George Bennett, then the head cheerleader, got the idea from his father, who had seen Army do it after each score at a game he had attended at West Point in 1953. Prior to the 1954 season Bennett approached Clemson Head Coach Frank Howard and asked him permission to fire the cannon. Permission was granted and just prior to the 1954 season, Bennett's father purchased the small cannon. The tradition has been handed down to each head cheerleader ever since.
Bennett just retired from full time duty as Clemson's Executive Secretary of IPTAY. He served Clemson in that capacity during two stints for nearly 20 total years. He still has an office in the Jervey Athletic Center and will serve as the master of ceremonies for Friday evening's Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. This past year he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors.
Tigers First Rubbed Howards Rock vs. Wake Forest
Another anniversary of sorts will take place when Clemson rubs Howard's Rock and runs down the hill this Saturday. The first time Clemson rubbed Howard's Rock prior to running down the hill was the season opener of 1967 for a game with Wake Forest. Howard's Rock was first placed on a pedestal at the top of the hill at the East end of the stadium prior to the opener in 1966, but the tradition of rubbing the rock didn't start until the opener the next year.
In his pregame speech for the 1967 Wake Forest game (played on September 23, 1967), Howard told his team that ,"If you are going to give 110 percent today rub that rock before you run down the hill because it will give you mystical powers. But, if you aren't going to give 110 percent, keep your hands off that rock." He told of the story on his television show the next day and a tradition was born.
With the exception of the 1970, 1971 and the first four home games of the 1972 season, Clemson has rubbed the rock prior to running down the hill for every game. The Wake Forest game on Saturday will be the 302nd time Clemson has run down the hill, the 298th time they have rubbed the rock before running down the hill.
Clemson Looks for 17th Bowl Trip in 20 Years
Clemson has been to 16 bowl games in the last 19 years and certainly hopes to make it 17 out of 20 years with an invitation at the conclusion of the 2004 season. Clemson ranks in a tie for sixth among Division I schools in bowl game appearances since 1985 (19 seasons). The only schools ahead of Clemson is this category are Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska, who all been to 19 in a row, Tennessee with 18, and Miami (FL) with 17. Clemson is just ahead of Georgia (15) Southern Cal (14), Notre Dame (13), Arkansas 913), Auburn (13), Virginia (13), Syracuse (13) and NC State (13).
Clemson is one of 21 schools to go to a bowl game at least five years in a row and is one of 19 schools to win at least two bowl games over the last three seasons.
If the Monday morning depth chart holds, Clemson will have seven first-time starters for its opener against Wake Forest, three on offense and four on defense. The first-team starters on offense include starting tackles Jesse Pickens and Marion Dukes, and wide receiver Chansi Stuckey. The first-time starters on defense including defensive tackles Eric Coleman and Trey Tate, defensive end Charles Bennett and linebacker Anthony Waters. Coleman has played 34 games and nearly 700 plays, but has never started.
Clemson's starting 22 features 11 seniors, seven juniors and four sophomores. The top 44 feature 11 seniors, 12 juniors, 14 sophomores and seven freshmen. The only first-year freshmen on the two-deep are tackle Barry Richardson and wide receiver La' Donte Harris.
Clemson 7-2-1 in Openers vs. ACC Teams
Clemson has a 7-2-1 record in season opening games when it plays against ACC teams. This will be the fourth time Clemson has played Wake Forest for its season opener since the league started in 1953,but the first since 1968. While Clemson has a 7-2-1 record in season openers against ACC opponents, the Tigers have lost two in a row, to Maryland in 1977 and to North Carolina in 1996. As you can see by the chart below, this is just the second time since 1977 that Clemson has opened the season against a conference foe.
In fact, Clemson has its first two games this season against ACC competition, as Georgia Tech will come to Death Valley on September 11. This is just the fourth season that Clemson has opened a campaign with at least its first two games against ACC teams, the first since 1965. Clemson played its first three games of 1958 and its first two games of 1959 against ACC teams.
It is interesting to note that Clemson swept its ACC opponents in each year to start the season. Clemson opened the 1958 season with wins over Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland, then started the 1959 season with wins over North Carolina and Virginia. The Tigers opened the 1965 season with victories over NC State and Virginia.
Clemson in Openers vs. ACC Teams (7-2-1)
Tigers Will Do Plenty of Traveling in 2004
Clemson will have a difficult road schedule this year in terms of competition and in terms of distance. Three of Clemson's five road games (Florida State, Virginia, Miami (FL) are against teams currently in the top 20 in the nation according to both polls. The Tigers also travel to Texas A&M and Duke. If Florida State, Virginia and Miami (FL) hold their rankings it would mark the first time since 1966 that Clemson has played three top 20 teams on the road in the same year. That year Frank Howard's team played Georgia Tech, Alabama and Southern Cal, all top 10 teams,on the road.
It will also be a tough schedule in terms of travel distance. Clemson will travel 2,857 miles for its five road games this year, an average of 571 miles per game. This is the third longest average road trip season, excluding the two years Clemson played in Tokyo (1982 and 1991). The record was set in 1951 when Frank Howard's team traveled 3990 miles for five games, 798 miles per game.
Clemson Secondary Ranked Among the Best
Clemson's secondary returns all four starters from last year. The foursome of Justin Miller, Travis Pugh, Jamaal Fudge and Tye Hill all started together for 11 of the 13 games. Miller, Pugh and Fudge started all 13 games. In its preseason college football issue, the Sporting News ranked the unit as the second best secondary in the nation.
Miller, Fudge and Hill are all juniors, so three quarters of the group could be together for a long time. They combined to play 3168 snaps, make 309 tackles, 10 interceptions and 45 passes defensed during the 2003 season. Clemson ranked second in the ACC in pass defense based on yards allowed, and second in interceptions.
Kelly Back in Starting Position
Fortunately for Tommy Bowden, he has two running backs on his roster who have led his club in rushing over the course of a season. Duane Coleman led the way in 2003 and Yusef Kelly paced the club in 2002.
On August 10, Coleman suffered a broken foot and he will not play against Wake Forest. Coleman had over 600 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving in 2003, just the second Clemson player in history to reach at least those levels in the same year.
Kelly had an injury plagued 2003 season, as he played in just seven games for 77 snaps. Forty-five of those plays were against Virginia on October 11 when he had 25 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown, a significant reason Clemson came away with a 30-27 overtime victory.
Also in the mix at running back will be Reggie Merriweather and Kyle Browning. Merriweather is a sophomore who had 56 yards in 16 carries last year, while Browning is a 5-7 junior from Union, SC who started two games last year and had 152 yards in 29 attempts, a 5.2 average. He scored a touchdown in the Peach Bowl win over Tennessee on a "Panther Play". Clemson scored 75 points in the two games (Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech) he started last year.
Clemson in Openers
Clemson has won 15 of its last 20 season openers. The only opening losses since 1983 took place in 1986 at Clemson when Virginia Tech and Coach Bill Dooley upset the Tigers, 20-14, at North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1996, in 1999 at home against Marshall, Tommy Bowden's first game as Clemson head coach, and the last two years against Georgia. Thus, coach Tommy Bowden has lost his opener three of his five years, yet gone on to got a bowl game each year.
That 1986 game with Virginia Tech was a battle of eventual bowl teams, as the Tigers ended the year 8-2-2 and ranked 17th in the nation, while Virginia Tech was 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final poll. The 1999 13-10 loss to Marshall was also a battle of bowl teams.
The Tigers are 79-21-8 (.781), regardless of site, in their first game of the season in its previous 108 seasons. Even though this is the 109th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 103 home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 103 home openers Clemson has a 78-17-8 record against 29 different opponents. This will be the first time Clemson has met Wake Forest in its home opener. The two teams played to a 20-20 tie in the opener in 1968, a game played at Winston-Salem.
Notes on Clemson's 2004 Schedule
* Clemson will then face Georgia Tech in week two, September 11, also at Death Valley. This is the first time since the 1965 season that Clemson has played two ACC games to open the schedule. That year Clemson played NC State at home and at Virginia to open the season. The 2004 schedule will be the first time Clemson has played two home games against league opponents to open the season since 1958 when Frank Howard's team opened the season with home victories at Death Valley over Virginia and North Carolina.
* Clemson has beaten Georgia Tech each of the last three seasons, including a 39-3 victory in Atlanta last year, Clemson's largest victory margin over the Yellow Jackets in 100 years. Each of the last four meetings between the two schools at Clemson have been decided by five points or less.
* The Tigers will travel to College Station, TX to face Texas A&M on September 18. It will be Clemson's first game with the Aggies since 1974 when Clemson lost to a 20th ranked Texas A&M team on the road, 24-0 in the season opener. It is the first of a two-game series between Texas A&M and Clemson. The Aggies are scheduled to play at Clemson on September 3, 2005.
* Clemson's fourth game of the year will be at Florida State. The Tigers defeated a sixth ranked Seminoles team at Clemson last season by a 26-10 score. Clemson has not won in Tallahassee since 1989.
* The Tigers will have October 2 open, then face Virginia in Charlottesville for a Thursday night game. It will be Clemson's third straight road game, the first time Clemson has played three straight road games since 1994. The contest will be televised nationally by ESPN. Clemson defeated Virginia 30-27 in overtime last year and each of the last three meetings between the two schools have been decided by five points or less, including two on plays within the last five seconds.
* Clemson will return home on October 16 to face Utah State for the first time in history. It will be Clemson's first home game in 35 days. This is the longest stretch without a home game during the regular season since 1984. Utah State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference, the same league as 2003 Clemson opponent Middle Tennessee.
* Clemson concludes a three-game home stand with conference games against Maryland (October 23) and NC State (October 30), two teams that defeated the Tigers in 2003.
* The Tigers then will go back on the road to face first-year ACC school Miami (FL) in the Orange Bowl. Clemson has not played Miami (FL) since 1956, but the Tigers have played in their stadium. Clemson won the 1982 Orange Bowl, by a 22-15 score over Nebraska to win the 1981 National Championship at the Orange Bowl. It will be Clemson's first game in that facility since that triumph.
* Clemson and Miami (FL) have played five times in history, including two games in bowl games. All five games were played in the Frank Howard era at Clemson and all five were played in the state of Florida. Clemson defeated Miami (FL) 15-14 in the 1951 Orange Bowl. The following year Miami (FL) defeated Clemson 14-0 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.
* Miami (FL) defeated Clemson 21-0 in a regular season game at the Orange Bowl in 1956, the last time Clemson has played the Hurricanes. That game was a match-up of a 12th ranked Clemson team against an eighth ranked Miami (FL) team. Clemson finishes its road schedule at Duke. The Tigers have defeated the Blue Devils all five years Tommy Bowden has been the head coach at Clemson, but the last meeting in Durham was a close 34-31 Tiger victory.
* Clemson concludes the season against archrival South Carolina on November 20. The game will be played at Clemson. The Tigers have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams overall and each of the last three played at Death Valley. The last South Carolina coach to win at Death Valley is current Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott, who led the Gamecocks to a 34-31 win at Clemson in 1996.
Clemson 15th in Associated Press Preseason Poll
Clemson is ranked 15th in the nation in the Associated Press preseason college football poll. Clemson is one of five ACC teams ranked in the top 25 by the poll. Florida State is the highest ranked ACC team with a number-five rating, while new ACC member Miami (FL) is sixth. Clemson must play both of those teams on the road this year. Clemson is the third highest rated ACC team with its #15 rating, and is followed by Virginia at 16 and Maryland at 22. In July, Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coach's poll.
This is the 19th season Clemson has been ranked in the AP preseason poll, the first time since 2001 when the Tigers were 18th. The number-15 ranking is Clemson's highest in a preseason poll since 1992 when the Tigers were 13th. Clemson's highest preseason ranking in history is #4 in 1988 and 1984.
Clemson has been ranked in the preseason 18 times prior to this year and has gone on to finish in the top 25 in 11 of those seasons. Once, in 1989, Clemson was ranked the same in the preseason and in the final poll (12th).
This is the third time under Tommy Bowden that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason of the Associated Press poll. The other years were 2000 (17th) and 2001 (18th). Clemson finished the 2003 season ranked 22nd in the final poll after it was unranked in the preseason. Clemson was not ranked in the top 25 in the preseason of 1981, the year Clemson went on to win the national championship.
Whitehurst, Hill on Preseason Lists
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and linebacker LeRoy Hill were both named to preseason Watch Lists for major 2004 awards. Whitehurst is one of 40 "Players to Watch" for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award, while Hill is one of 65 preseason candidates for the Butkus Award. The Butkus Award is given to the nation's top linebacker.
Hill is one of seven ACC players on the Butkus Watch List. He is joined by Darryl Blackstock and Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, D'Qwell Jackson of Maryland, A.J. Nicholson of Florida State, Pat Thomas of NC State and Leon Williams of Miami (FL).
Last year, Hill led the Tigers in tackles with 145, including 27 tackles for loss. He ranked second in the nation in tackles for loss and was a first-team All-ACC selection. Earlier this summer he was named a preseason candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given to the top defensive player in the nation and the Lombardi Award, which goes to the top lineman in college football.
Whitehurst is one of five ACC Players on the Walter Camp list. He is joined by P.J. Daniels of Georgia Tech, Tramain Hall of NC State, Chris Rix of Florida State, and Antrel Rolle of Miam (FL). Earlier this summer he was named to the preseason list for the O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's top quarterback.
Whitehurst holds 33 Clemson school records, including passing efficiency in a career and passing yardage in a season. He quarterbacked the Tigers to a 9-4 record as a sophomore when he threw for 3561 yards and 21 touchdowns. Among the victories were triumphs over #3 Florida State and #6 Tennessee. He joined Homer Jordan as the only Clemson quarterback to lead the Tigers to two wins over top 10 teams in the same season.
Hall of Fame Weekend at Clemson
Seven prominent former athletes in six different sports will be inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 4. The 2004 class includes Brian Barnes (Baseball), Nicole Stafford (Women's Tennis), Randy Scott (Football), Coy Cobb (Swimming), Sara Burkett (Women's Soccer), Stacy Long (Football), and Clarence Rose (Golf). Five of the six were named to their respective ACC 50-Year Anniversary teams in 2002 and Six of the seven honorees earned All-America honors at least one year.
Barnes played baseball at Clemson in 1986-89, and enjoyed a major league career in the 1990s with the Montreal Expos, Cleveland Indians, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He still holds the Clemson and ACC career records for most wins (44) most strikeouts (513), and most innings pitched (475.1). Barnes led Bill Wilhelm's teams to three straight NCAA appearances (1987-89) and finished his career with a 44-10 record. He was named All-American and All-ACC in 1988 and 1989 and was a first-team All-ACC selection. He was the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP in 1989.
Stafford was a student-athlete at Clemson from 1985-99. The native of Florida was a 1985 singles all-American and a 1987 doubles All-American. She was the 1985 ACC flight champion at number-three singles and won the 1987 conference title at flight one doubles. Stafford still ranks sixth on Clemson's all-time list in singles with 101 and also ranks ninth in doubles victories with 73 wins. She was also named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team last year.
Rose was Clemson's first All-American in golf, as he was second-team selection in 1980. A junior college transfer, Rose was first team All-ACC in 1979 and 1980. The native of Goldsboro, NC had one of the best individual seasons in Clemson history when he had seven top 10 finishes in 14 events as a senior in 1979-80. He led Clemson to the NCAA Tournament in 1980, Clemson's first ever team invitation, and was named to the ACC's 50 year anniversary team in the fall of 2002. Rose is a veteran of 16 years on the PGA tour where he has had 26 career top 10 finishes and is a veteran of nearly 500 PGA Tour events.
Cobb was a swimmer at Clemson in 1981-84. A five-time Clemson All-American, Cobb was the ACC Champion in the 100 & 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly, and the 400 medley relay in 1985. The victim of a brain cancer that claimed his life on October 26, 2000 , Cobb still holds two Clemson record in the 100 back and 100 fly. He was named to the ACC's 50-year Anniversary Men's Swimming team in 2003.
Long was a two-time All-American as an offensive tackle during his Clemson career (1986-90). Clemson finished with a 10-2 record and top 15 national ranking all four years he played on the offensive line. He was a consensus first-team All-American as s senior and first-team Sporting News All-American as a junior. Long was an Outland Trophy finalist in 1990, joining Michael Dean Perry as the only two football players in Clemson history to be named a finalist for that National Lineman of the Year award. Now residing outside Chicago, Long was also named to Clemson's Centennial team in 1996.
Scott played linebacker from 1975-78. He was first-team All-ACC in 1977 and 1978, and led the team in tackles in 1976 (130) and in 1977 (133) He had 41 tackles for loss in 1976-78, then a record for a Clemson linebacker.. He is still sixth on the Clemson career list for most tackles with 382. Scott is now a secondary educator in the state of Florida and was named Teacher of the Year for that state in 2002.
Burkett played women's soccer at Clemson in 1995-98 and earned All-America in 1997 and 1998. She was a first-team All-ACC performer in all four years of her career, one of just 16 student-athletes in school history to make first-team all-conference four straight years, the first to do it in women's soccer. Burkett was also named All-Southeast Region in 1995, 1997 and 1998. One of Clemson's most productive soccer players in history, she finished her career with 39 goals and 36 assists for a Clemson career record 114 points. She was named to the ACC 50 Year Anniversary Team in the fall of 2002.