Tigers Set to Battle FSU

When Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Clemson's Tommy Bowden take the field Saturday to coach their respective teams at Doak-Campbell Stadium, it will be the sixth competition of father and son in NCAA Division I history.<BR>

Bowden Bowl VI
When Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Clemson's Tommy Bowden take the field Saturday to coach their respective teams at Doak-Campbell Stadium, it will be the sixth competition of father and son in NCAA Division I history. The previous five occasions have taken place the last five years when the two teams met. Father has beaten son four of the previous five, but Tommy won last year by a 26-10 score. The average margin of victory for Bobby over Tommy is 34-21. Only the first game has been a close contest, as Florida State defeated Clemson 17-14 in Bowden Bowl I. Since then the closest margin has been 14 points.

Clemson has moved the ball against Florida State the last three years. The current senior class has seen the Tigers average 28 points, 443 yards total offense and 294 yards passing over the last three contests vs. Florida State.

1999-- The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as a record 86,092 fans attended, a Death Valley record that still stands today. In addition to the hype concerning a father coaching against a son for the first time, Bobby Bowden was going for career victory number-300. He got it, but it was a struggle, as the Tigers fought the Seminoles to the wire before #1 ranked Florida State came away with a 17-14 victory. It was the closest victory for the Seminoles on the way to the 1999 National Championship. Clemson had two offensive touchdowns to Florida State's one and Florida State's 17 points were the fewest scored by the Seminoles that year.

2000-- Florida State won the second meeting in 2000 in Tallahassee by a 54-7 count. Clemson entered the game with an 8-1 record and #10 national ranking, while Florida State was ranked fourth in the nation. It was just the third meeting of top 10 ACC teams in league history. Clemson was coming off a heart-breaking 31-28 loss to Georgia Tech the previous week, a game that Georgia Tech had won with a touchdown pass with just seven seconds left. (Georgia Tech beat Clemson in similar fashion this year on a touchdown pass with 11 seconds left). Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against a Clemson team, including 521 passing, also a high against a Clemson team.

2001-- In a game at Death Valley, Clemson gained 463 yards of total offense against Florida State, its high total ever against the Seminoles, but still lost 41-27. The Tigers could not stop freshman quarterback Chris Rix and the Florida State passing game as the Seminoles threw for 369 yards and gained 557 overall. Woody Dantzler had 336 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as the Seminoles won for the sixth straight time in Death Valley.

2002--The last time the two teams met in Tallahassee, FSU came away with a 48-31 victory. It was the most points scored by Clemson in Tallahassee since its last victory in 1989. Clemson won the total offense war 441-386, as Willie Simmons had a career high 343 yards rushing and passing, the most total offense in history by a Clemson player against the Seminoles. J.J. McKelvey had five catches for 117 yards to key the Clemson offense. But, Florida State scored on a 97-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington and Greg Jones rushed for 165 yards and three scores to give Florida State its victory.

2003-- Clemson finally defeated Bobby Bowden in Death Valley with a convincing 26-10 victory. It was just the second of what would be three losses for the Seminole in the 2003 season. Florida State was ranked third in the nation entering the game and it was the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards to lead Clemson as Bobby Bowden suffered a loss on his birthday for the first time ever. It was the first loss for Bobby Bowden in Death Valley after six straight wins, the longest winning streak for any opposing coach in the facility. The Clemson vs. Florida State games the last five years are not the only times Bowdens have been on opposite sides of the field. In 1991, Auburn, with assistant coach Tommy Bowden, faced Southern Mississippi, with assistant coach Jeff Bowden. Southern Mississippi upset Auburn that day. Jeff Bowden will also be at the scene this year also as he is Florida State's offensive coordinator.

Clemson-Florida State Series
Florida State holds a 14-3 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Clemson has three wins in the series, but two took place in Tallahassee, in 1976 by a 15-12 score and in 1989 by a 34-23 score. Clemson's only win in Death Valley took place last year, a 26-10 victory.

Florida State is 7-1 at Clemson and 7-2 at Florida State against the Tigers. Florida State had won 11 in a row prior to last year and all 11 had taken place since Florida State joined the ACC in 1992. Florida State has been ranked in the top 15 in the nation heading into all 13 games in the series since the Seminoles joined the ACC (including this year . Clemson, Virginia, NC State (three times) and North Carolina are the only league schools to beat Florida State since they joined the league for the 1992 season, a total of six losses.

In four straight meetings between 1988 and 1993 both Clemson and Florida State were ranked in the top 25. Both teams have been ranked in the top 25 of at least one poll in seven of the last 13 meetings, including 2001 when Clemson entered the game 24th in USA Today and Florida Sate was 14th in both polls. Clemson and Florida State were both ranked in the top 25 of the final AP and USA Today polls.

In 2000, in the game played in Tallahassee both were ranked in the top 10 of the AP, as Clemson was 10th and Florida State was fourth. That marked just the third time in ACC history that two league teams were ranked in the top 10 heading into a contest.

The three meetings between the two teams played between 1988 and 1992, were classics. In 1988, Florida State won at Clemson 24-21, thanks in part to the famous "puntrooskie play", a 78-yard run on a fake punt by Leroy Butler, and a 76-yard punt return by Deion Sanders, the only time a Chris Gardocki punt was returned for a touchdown in his Clemson career.

In 1989, Clemson defeated a Florida State team that ended the season ranked third in the final AP poll by a 34-23 score. That was the only loss by Florida State at home against a non-Florida team in a 17-year period. A pair of 73-yard plays were pivotal for Clemson in that game. The late Wayne Simmons ran 73 yards with an interception and Terry Allen ran 73 yards from scrimmage in the second period to give Clemson a 28-7 lead. Clemson was trying to run out the clock on Allen's run. Florida State scored in the last minute to close the gap to 11 points.

In 1992, before over 84,000 fans and a nationally televised audience at Clemson, fifth-ranked Florida State defeated 15th-ranked Clemson 24-20 in Death Valley. Florida State scored the winning TD in the final two minutes of the contest behind the passing of Charlie Ward. Clemson did pick off four passes in the game, including one that James Trapp returned for a touchdown. Trapp went on to play 10 years in the NFL and that play certainly made the NFL scouts take notice.

The 1997 game featured one of the greatest individual duals in the history of Death Valley. Tony Horne gained 267 all-purpose yards in the game, while Florida State's Peter Warrick had 372 for the Seminoles, including a 90-yard punt return and an 80-yard pass reception. Horne's all-purpose running total is the second highest in Clemson history, while Warrick's total is the most ever against Clemson.

The 1999 game was certainly a series highlight as it was the first father-son coaching matchup in NCAA history. Florida State claimed a 17-14 victory behind the passing of Chris Weinke and went on to win the national championship. It was the closest game the Seminoles had all season.

Past Bowden Bowl Stats

Year Site Score
Total Off
1999 CU 14-17 265-356 126-98 139-258 1-1
2000 FS 7-54 262-771 95-250 167-521 6-2
2001 CU 27-41 463-557 186-188 277-369 1-2
2002 FS 31-48 441-386 107-272 334-114 4-0
2003 CU 26-10 425-369 153-11 272-358 1-3
Totals 105-170 1856-2439 667-819 1189-1620 13-8
Averages 21-34 371-488 133-164 238-324 2.6-1.6

Last Year vs. Florida State
Clemson ended 14 years of frustration by defeating #3 Florida State 26-10 in front of 79,826 fans in Death Valley. The win over the third-ranked Seminoles was the highest-ranked victory in Clemson history. It also marked the first time since 1989 that Clemson defeated Florida State. The victory came just one week after Clemson had suffered a 45-17 loss at Wake Forest.

Several landmarks occurred in the 16-point victory for Clemson. For coach Tommy Bowden, it was his first win in five tries against father Bobby. He was doused with Gatorade by Kevin Youngblood and Khaleed Vaughn in the final moments of the win. Aaron Hunt became Clemson's all-time scoring leader with 302 points, breaking Nelson Welch's previous record of 301. Derrick Hamilton became the school's all-time all-purpose yardage leader with 4,412, breaking Travis Zachery's record. Charlie Whitehurst broke Woodrow Dantzler's single-season record for passing yards (2,682) with two regular season games remaining.

Clemson set the tone in the game's opening moments. On its first offensive possession, the Tigers moved 65 yards in 11 plays before Aaron Hunt connected on a 23-yard field goal. On Florida State's ensuing possession, Tye Hill notched his second interception of the season when he stepped in front of a long Chris Rix pass. The Tigers tacked on Hunt's second field goal minutes later, giving Clemson a 6-0 lead. Clemson got the ball back with less than three minutes to go in the first half. Whitehurst drove the Tigers from their own 35-yard line. The big play was a 51-yard hookup with Youngblood on third-and-10. Three plays later, Whitehurst rolled to the right and then scrambled back to the left for a one-yard touchdown run. His effort gave Clemson a 13-0 lead at halftime.

Florida State missed a field goal on its opening possession of the second half. Clemson took advantage by marching 63 yards in 11 plays. Hunt kicked his third field goal of the game from 32 yards away, giving Clemson a 16-0 cushion. The drive was set up by Whitehurst, who zipped a pass between three defenders as he was getting hit and found Curtis Baham for a 23-yard gain on third down.

The Seminoles responded with three points, as Xavier Beitia made a 46-yard field goal. However, Clemson put the game away on the next two drives. First, Whitehurst executed a beautiful pump-fake to the right before throwing left to a streaking Hamilton. His 58-yard touchdown catch gave Clemson a commanding 23-3 lead. Clemson kept the intensity up, as LeRoy Hill intercepted a Rix pass four plays later. The ball was tipped by Khaleed Vaughn. On the next Seminole drive, David Dunham sacked Rix 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble. It was recovered by DeJuan Polk of Clemson. Hunt came on to nail his fourth field goal of the night, giving Clemson the 26-3 lead.

Florida State finally scored a touchdown in the final three minutes of the contest. Chauncey Stovall was able to get behind the Tiger secondary for a 71-yard touchdown, but it mattered little at that point of the game.

Whitehurst was outstanding in his first career start against Florida State. He finished 17-27 for 272 yards and one touchdown pass and he also rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target was Hamilton, who grabbed six balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. Hunt came into the game needing 14 points to set the school scoring record, and he did just that. He was 4-4 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points.

Defensively, the Tigers held Florida State to 11 rushing yards the entire game, the fewest total by Florida State in the Bobby Bowden era. LeRoy Hill had 10 tackles and was named ACC Lineman-of-the-Week. Clemson also blitzed more than normal, and the result was 15 quarterback hurries in the contest. Five Tigers recorded tackles for loss, including two by freshman Gaines Adams. John Leake and David Dunham each recorded their first sacks of the year as well.

Tye Hill played well for Clemson, as he grabbed his second career interception and also had another pass breakup in earning ACC Defensive Back-of-the-Week honors. Travis Pugh tied for the team lead in tackles with 10 from his free safety position.

Last Meeting at Tallahassee (2002)
Florida State 48, Clemson 31
Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden defeated his son and Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden for the fourth consecutive game as the Seminoles rolled to a 48-31 victory in front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPN on October 3rd, 2002 The 11th ranked Seminoles handed the Tigers their second defeat of the season and also their second defeat against a nationally ranked opponent.

Despite the loss, the Tigers made a significant improvement on their recent performances at Doak Campbell Stadium. Clemson had scored only one touchdown in five previous appearances in Tallahassee and averaged just two points per game in those contests. The Tigers dominated the game statistically in the first half and finished with 334 passing yards, more than 200 yards greater than the total reached by the Seminoles (114). Clemson averaged 7.2 yards per play, highest average in history in a Clemson loss.

In the end, however, the play of Florida State running back Greg Jones proved to be the difference in the game. The South Carolina native gained 165 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored three times. He also had a 64-yard run just before halftime that swayed the momentum in favor of the Seminoles. The run set up a with six seconds remaining that gave Florida State the lead for good. Clemson would close the gap to 35-31 in the third period, but could get no closer.

A host of Tigers led the team offensively in the losing effort. Willie Simmons had a tremendous performance, gaining 50 yards rushing while completing 17 of his 27 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. It was his ability to run and pass in the first half that helped keep the Tigers in front for much of the first half. Derrick Hamilton had another all-around stellar performance as he racked up 248 all-purpose yards. J.J. McKelvey had over 100 yards receiving for the second straight game as he tallied 117 yards on five receptions.

Clemson suffered in the kicking game. The Tigers fumbled a kickoff return and a punt return and dropped the snap from center in a punt situation that gave Florida State the ball at the Clemson 18. Florida State drove from its territory for a touchdown just one time in the game. The Seminoles had 155 kickoff return yards in the game and won the turnover stat 4-0.

It was Rix who gave the Seminoles the lead on their first possession of the game. Following the fumbled punt snap by Wynn Kopp, Florida State took over at the Clemson 18. Three plays later, Rix took a one-yard plunge over the goal line that gave the Seminoles the lead. Two possessions later, Simmons and the Tiger offense capitalized on a big play by special teams.

After Hamilton returned Chance Gwaltney's punt 46 yards to the Seminoles' 39-yard line, Simmons took just two plays to connect with Airese Currie for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Stephen Furr's ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Tigers just inside Florida State territory, and five plays later, Yusef Kelly found the end zone on a two-yard touchdown run that gave Clemson a lead it would hold until the end of the first quarter. It marked the first time since 1979 that Clemson has successfully executed an onside kick.

Florida State retaliated in the first 10 seconds of the second quarter. Greg Jones rushed for a 20-yard touchdown run on the first play of the period that tied the game at 14. Clemson re-gained the lead 17-14 on Aaron Hunt's 20-yard field goal with 6:20 remaining before halftime, but immediately relinquished it when Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers gained their final lead of the game with less than one minute remaining before halftime. Following a 59-yard completion to McKelvey, Simmons capped off a six-play, 86-yard drive when he found Hamilton in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown pass. On the Seminoles' first play of the ensuing possession, Jones took the handoff from Rix and rumbled 64 yards down the left sideline before being knocked out of bounds at the five-yard line. Rix's touchdown pass to Talman Gardner two plays later sealed the momentum-swinging effort.

Clemson-Florida State Connections
There are many connections between Clemson and Florida State in terms of coaching and administrative personnel:

Clemson Assistant Head Coach and offensive line coach Brad Scott served as offensive coordinator of Florida State's National Championship team of 1993. He served as an assistant with the Florida State program from 1983-93, including the 1990-93 era when he was offensive coordinator. He has a master's degree from Florida State in athletic administration, a degree he earned in 1984. He was on the Florida State sideline in 1988 when the Seminoles executed the "Puntrooskie play". Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews served in the same capacity for Clemson between 1976-80 and held the assistant head coach title under Danny Ford in 1980.

Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden was a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1978 and 1979, then served as tight ends coach of the Seminoles in 1981 and 1982.

Clemson defensive backs coach Jack Hines was a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1985-86. He is married to Robyn Bowden, one of Bobby Bowden's daughters. Hines played for Bowden at West Virginia.

Tommy Bowden's brother Jeff Bowden is the offensive coordinator for Florida State. Hootie Ingram, now retired and living in Alabama, was Clemson's head football coach from 1970-72, then served as Florida State's Athletic Director in the 1980s.

Tigers Face Top 15 Teams Next Two Weeks Clemson could face a pair of top 12 teams over its next two games. In the Associated Press poll of September 19, Florida State is ranked 8th and Virginia, Clemson's opponent on October 7, is 12th. Florida State is 11th in USA Today and Virginia is 12th.

Clemson has not had to play consecutive games against top 12 opponents since the 1983 season when the Tigers defeated a 10th ranked North Carolina team 16-3 and an 11th ranked Maryland team, 52-27, in November. It could be the first time Clemson has played consecutive games against top 12 teams on the road since 1966 when Clemson played at #9 Georgia Tech and at #4 Alabama in consecutive non-conference games.

Clemson has had to play consecutive games against teams ranked in the top dozen in the nation just four times in its history. In addition to the 1983 listing, the other seasons were in 1966 (vs. #9 Georgia Tech and #4 Alabama), 1963 (vs. #4 Oklahoma and #9 Georgia Tech), and 1955 (vs. #2 Maryland and #12 Auburn). Clemson did not win any of those games.

Clemson's Highest Ranked Wins
When Clemson defeated third-ranked Florida State last year at Clemson it was the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in its history. Clemson has 12 wins over top 10 teams in its history and three have been recorded by head coach Tommy Bowden. In addition to the win over Florida State, Clemson's win over sixth-ranked Tennessee in the 2004 Gator Bowl was the fourth highest ranked team Clemson has beaten. Bowden and the Tigers also won over a ninth-ranked Georgia Tech team in 2001. Thus, a win over #8 Florida State would be the sixth highest ranked team Clemson has defeated.

Prior to last year, the highest ranked teams Clemson had beaten were #4 ranked Georgia and #4 Nebraska, both in the 1981 season. Regardless of site, Clemson has 12 wins over top 10 teams in its history, four in Death Valley four on an opponent's home field and four at a neutral site (bowl game).

Clemson has had 25 wins over top 25 teams since 1986 and has had at least one ranked win in 15 of the last 17 seasons. That includes last year's three wins. Clemson enters this Florida State game with a three-game winning streak against top 25 teams.. This is the longest winning streak against ranked teams since the Tigers won three in a row between 1990-91. The record is five straight wins over ranked teams from 1988-89.

Prior to last year's win over Florida State, Clemson was 0-9 all-time in games against teams ranked in the top three in the nation.

Clemson's Highest Ranked Wins

Year Opponent Site Rk Score
2003 Florida State Clemson, SC 3 26-10
1981 Georgia Clemson, SC 4 13-3
1981 Nebraska Miami, FL 4 22-15
2003 Tennessee Atlanta, GA 6 27-14
1959 Texas Christian Houston, TX 7 23-7
1981 North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 8 10-8
2001 Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 9 #47-44
1967 NC State Clemson, SC 10 14-6
1991 NC State Clemson, SC 10 29-19
1983 North Carolina Clemson, SC 10 16-3
1988 Oklahoma Orlando, FL 10 13-6
1992 Virginia Charlottesville, VA 10 29-28
1983 Maryland Clemson, SC 11 52-27
1978 Maryland College Park, MD 11 28-24
Ranked Wins on the Road
Clemson has 53 wins over Associated Press top 25 teams over the years and 16 of them have taken place on an opponent's home field. The highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on its home field is a victory over an eighth-ranked North Carolina team in Chapel Hill in 1981, Clemson's national championship season. Thus, a victory on Saturday over #8 Florida State would tie for the highest ranked road win in Clemson history.

The second highest ranked road win is the 47-44 overtime victory against #9 Georgia Tech in 2001, a victory that was recorded under current head coach Tommy Bowden. To document such victories, Clemson has constructed a Graveyard at the entrance to the practice field and a tombstone has been erected for each victory over a ranked team on the road.

One of the 16 road wins over ranked teams took place at Florida State, a 34-23 win over a 16th ranked Seminole team in 1989. It was Florida State's last loss that season and the Seminoles ended the year third in the final AP poll. The win over Miami (FL) on January 1, 1951 was in the Orange Bowl, but it was still played on Miami's home field.

Clemson Ranked Road Wins

Date Score Opp Rk Opponent
11-13-48 21-14 19 Wake Forest
10-28-50 13-12 17 Wake Forest
1-1-51 15-14 15 Miami (FL)
9-19-59 20-18 12 North Carolina
9-17-77 7-6 17 Georgia
11-18-78 28-24 11 Maryland
11-8-81 10-8 8 North Carolina
11-13-82 24-22 18 Maryland
11-5-83 16-3 10 North Carolina
9-20-86 31-28 14 Georgia
9-9-89 34-23 16 Florida State
10-10-92 29-28 10 Virginia
11-5-94 28-17 19 North Carolina
11-8-96 24-16 15 Virginia
9-13-97 19-17 25 NC State
9-29-01 47-44 9 Georgia Tech

Currie Three Catches from 100
If Reggie Jackson was known as Mr. October then Clemson wide receiver Airese Currie could be known as Mr. September. For the second year in a row the Clemson senior is off to a great start. A year ago, Currie had 26 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns before the end of that month. He then suffered some injuries and had just 17 catches the rest of the season.

So far this year, Currie has 20 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown. Currie ranks 15th in the nation in receptions per game with a 6.67 figure, the highest average in the ACC, and is 17th in reception yards per game at 98.6, also first in the ACC. Currie had nine catches for 152 yards in the season opener against Wake Forest. The 152 receiving yards in that game rank in a tie for sixth best in school history and the 15th best single game performance in the nation so far this year. He continued his fine performance at Texas A&M with five catches for 64 yards.

In addition to his receiving accomplishments, Currie has been outstanding in terms of kickoff returns, averaging 37.3 yards per return. He is not ranked nationally because he does not have enough attempts.. He has 136.3 all-purpose yards per game, 30th best in the nation. Currie's strong start has him closing in on 100 career receptions and 1500 yards. He could eclipse both at Florida State, as he enters that game with 97 receptions for 1458 yards.When he reaches the 100 receptions mark he will become just the 11th Tiger in history to do so. When he reaches 1500 reception yards he will also be the 11th Tiger to reach that plateau.

The effect Tommy Bowden has had on the Clemson passing game is shown by the list of players below. Even though he is in just his sixth year as Clemson head coach, seven of the top 12 receivers in Clemson history have played under Bowden at some point in their career.

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