Music City Bowl Notes

Kentucky holds a 7-4 advantage in the series with Clemson, but the Tigers have won two of the last three. Kentucky won the last regular-season meeting 26-7 in 1985, but Clemson won the meeting in the Peach Bowl 14-13 in Atlanta in 1993. Clemson won the regular-season meetings in 1981 and 1982, a two-year home-and-home series.

The Series: Clemson vs. Kentucky
Kentucky holds a 7-4 advantage in the series with Clemson, but the Tigers have won two of the last three. Kentucky won the last regular-season meeting 26-7 in 1985, but Clemson won the meeting in the Peach Bowl 14-13 in Atlanta in 1993. Clemson won the regular-season meetings in 1981 and 1982, a two-year home-and-home series.

The first meeting took place in 1925 and the Wildcats won in Lexington 19-6. The first six games of the series were played in Lexington, and Kentucky won five of the six. The greatest upset in the series took place in 1929 when Kentucky defeated a 6-0 Tiger squad 44-6 in Lexington.

In the 1985 game, Clemson had seven turnovers, including four fumbles and three interceptions. It tied for the most turnovers by a Danny Ford-coached Clemson team in his 11 years as head coach. The Tigers gained just 230 yards of total offense that October 5 night in Lexington, while Kentucky had 309 yards. Reserve quarterback Kevin Dooley completed 15-23 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown to place the Wildcat offense, while Joe Worley kicked four field goals. Brian Williams returned a punt 57 yards for a score as well. Ray Williams provided the only spark for Clemson on offense with a 25-yard run for a third quarter touchdown. Randy Anderson and Rodney Williams, Clemson's young quarterbacks, completed just 10-24 passes for 92 yards. Clemson dropped to 1-3 with the loss, then Ford moved Williams, a freshman, into the starting lineup the next week against Virginia. Williams went on to win 32 games as the starting quarterback, most in ACC history.

Clemson defeated Kentucky in 1982 at Clemson by a 24-6 score and in 1981, Clemson's National Championship season, by a 21-3 score. Cliff Austin scored three touchdowns and ran for 116 yards on the ground to pace the offense to the 1982 win. Mike Eppley made his first career start and completed 9-13 passes for 95 yards. Kentucky stymied the Clemson offense for the first half in 1981 and led 3-0 at halftime. But the Tigers stormed back for 21 second-half points behind touchdowns by Kevin Mack, Homer Jordan, and Chuck McSwain. Clemson held Kentucky to 97 second-half yards. The Tigers ran their record to 4- 0 with the win and moved into the top 10 in the polls for the first time since 1959 after the victory.

Last Meeting in Peach Bowl
Heading into the 1993 Peach Bowl against Kentucky, Clemson owned the seventh-best bowl winning percentage in history (61.1). The Tigers upped that percentage in an exciting way, with a 14- 13 victory over the Wildcats. Tommy West also became the first coach in NCAA history to win his first game for a school in a bowl game without serving as a coach in that program during the regular season.

A tandem of running backs who hailed from Pensacola, FL led the Tiger rushing attack, as starting tailback Rodney Blunt rushed for a season-high 58 yards on 15 carries to lead the team. But, it was redshirt freshman fullback Emory Smith who was named the Tigers' Offensive MVP, as he rushed for 45 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run.

After taking over at its own two, quarterback Dexter McCleon engineered a 98-yard scoring drive that culminated in a one-yard run by Smith. The Wildcats drove back down the field on their next possession, this time reaching the Clemson one again, where they decided to go for it on fourth down. The Clemson defense held once again, as defensive tackle Brentson Buckner stopped the ball carrier for no gain. Buckner was named Defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl after tallying 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss, in his final game at Clemson. Buckner became just the fourth Tiger defensive lineman in the last eight years to total at least 12 tackles in a game.

The Tigers were forced to punt after taking over at the one, and Kentucky got on the scoreboard with a 34-yard field goal by Nicky Nickles. The score heading into the half stood at 7-3.

Neither squad scored in the third quarter, and barely into the fourth quarter, Kentucky took the lead with a 46-yard touchdown drive. After an interception, the Wildcats upped their lead to 13-7 on a 43-yard scoring drive, culminating in another field goal. With time running down in the fourth quarter, quarterback Patrick Sapp came off the bench. The two teams exchanged punts before the Tigers got the ball at their own 18 with 3:50 left. On the first play of the drive, Sapp threw a screen pass to Emory Smith, who rumbled for 57 yards.

With under a minute left, Kentucky linebacker Marty Moore intercepted Sapp's pass. But on the return, Stacy Seegars jarred the ball loose and Brent LeJeune recovered for Clemson. With 20 seconds left, Sapp connected with Terry Smith on a 21-yard score and Nelson Welch kicked the PAT for the win. Smith finished with four receptions for 56 yards and that final touchdown of his career.

Clemson's Bowl History
Clemson has a rich bowl tradition. The Tigers have a 15-13 record in bowl games, and the 15 bowl victories are in a tie for 17th-most in NCAA history with Florida and Washington. Clemson's first bowl game was the 1940 Cotton Bowl when the Tigers defeated Frank Leahy and Boston College 6-3. Clemson's appearance in the Music City Bowl will be the 12th different bowl game the Tigers have played in. Clemson has a 7-4 record the first time it appears in a bowl.

Clemson has beaten some of the top programs in college football history in bowl games. The list of schools Clemson has beaten in a bowl game includes prominent programs Colorado, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Clemson won its first three bowl games, wins over Boston College, Missouri, and Miami (FL). The three coaches Clemson defeated in those games were Leahy, Don Faurot, and Andy Gustafson, and all three are in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Clemson has a football program that has been steady over the years in bowl games, no matter who has been head coach. No less than six different head coaches (Jess Neely, Frank Howard, Danny Ford, Ken Hatfield, Tommy West, and Tommy Bowden) have won bowl games for the Tigers. Overall, eight of Clemson's 15 bowl victories have come against coaches who are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Clemson has four bowl victories over coaches who are in the 200-victory club. Woody Hayes of Ohio State, Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Joe Paterno of Penn State, and Don Nehlen of West Virginia are all coaches with at least 200 wins who lost bowl games to Clemson.

Clemson in Nashville for First Time Since 1960
This will be Clemson's first appearance in Nashville since the 1960 season. The Tigers have played four games at Vanderbilt over the years (1905, 1908, 1958, 1960). Clemson's only win in Nashville came in 1958, an exciting 12-7 victory over the Commodores. Harvey White scored the gamewinning touchdown with just three seconds left for the win. It is still the latest game-winning touchdown in Clemson history in a game decided in regulation. James Davis' score with eight seconds left to beat No. 9 Florida State this year is the second latest.

Bullet Notes on the 2006 Tigers
• Clemson is the only ACC team and one of just 11 teams nationally to record two wins over top-15 teams (at time of the game) in 2006. Tigers defeated #9 Florida State on the road and #13 Georgia Tech at home. Clemson was ranked #10 in the nation with a 7-1 record after a 31-7 win over Georgia Tech on October 21.

• Rated #24 in the Sagarin computer ratings entering the bowl season, including second among ACC teams (behind Virginia Tech).

• Only ACC team to defeat both teams that played in the 2006 ACC Championship game. Clemson handed Wake Forest and Georgia Tech two of their combined three league losses this year.

• Scored has 52 touchdowns (including six on returns), the second-highest total in school history.

• First ACC team to defeat Florida State three out of four years.

• Clemson and Ohio State are only teams in the nation in the top 15 in total offense, total defense, scoring offense, and scoring defense. It is the first Clemson team since 1978 to be in the top 15 in all four categories in the same season.

• Clemson and Louisiana State are only teams in the nation to be in the top 10 in the nation in fewest yards per play allowed on defense and most yards per play on offense.

• Has 14 touchdowns of 50 yards or more (offense and returns), a Clemson single-season record.

• Suffered just one loss by more than six points in 2006. Clemson has had just one loss by more than six points in the last 30 games. This 29-of-30 stretch is the best by Clemson since the 1980-84 era. Clemson had a streak of 26 ended by Virginia Tech. That was the best streak in 100 years.

• Clemson lost two games by one point, the only team in school history to lose two one-point games.

• Achieved an 8-4 record this year despite having seven starters injured for a total of 40 missed games. Eleven players missed 57 total games.

• Clemson has 38 players on its current roster who have played in a bowl game, including 15 who have started a bowl game.

• Clemson played the most difficult ACC schedule among conference teams. The Tigers' ACC opponents were a combined 33-23 in conference games (excluding games against Clemson).

• Clemson's 20-man senior class will include 12 players with their degrees when the Tigers meet Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

• Clemson's senior class has eight wins over top-20 teams in their careers, tied for the school record in a four-year period.

• Clemson has outgained the opposition by an average of 141.6 yards per game this year, seventh-best in the nation and third-best in Clemson history for a season.

• The 2006 season marked the first time Clemson has won eight games in consecutive seasons since the 1990-91 era.

• Fifth among top-25 teams in graduation rate at the time the ratings were released in October.

• Clemson had five First-Team All-ACC players, the most since 2000. Clemson tied Wake Forest for the most First-Team All-ACC players.

• With this year's winning season, Tommy Bowden became the first coach in school history to lead the Tigers to seven consecutive winning seasons.

Individual Notes
• James Davis has tied the Clemson single-season record for rushing touchdowns (17).

• Davis was named National Player-of-the-Week by Walter Camp Foundation for his 216-yard game against Georgia Tech. That is the most rushing yards in a game by an ACC player this year.

• C.J. Spiller set the Clemson record for touchdown plays of 50 yards or more in a season with six and is just one short of the career record of seven held by Derrick Hamilton.

• Spiller has established Clemson freshman records for touchdowns, 100-yard rushing games, and allpurpose running yards. He needs 86 yards in the bowl game to give Clemson a second running back with 1,000 yards in 2006.

• Spiller has averaged 7.37 yards per rush in 2006, the highest average by an ACC running back since Warrick Dunn had a 7.48-yard average in 1995.

• Thomas Hunter had 305 reception yards, most by a Tiger tight end since Bennie Cunningham in 1975.

• Freshman defensive end Ricky Sapp has four sacks, tying the record for a Clemson first-year freshman (William Perry in 1981).

• Will Proctor is first in Clemson history in career passing efficiency, and his 135.0 figure for this year is sixth-best in a single season in Clemson history.

• Chansi Stuckey is second to Calvin Johnson in receptions and reception yards per game in the ACC. He earned First-Team All-ACC honors for the second straight year, the first Tiger wideout to make the team in consecutive years in 25 seasons.

• Gaines Adams leads the ACC and is 10th in the nation in sacks. His 10.5 sacks are tied for second in Tiger history in a season. Adams is a unanimous first-team All-American, just the second one in school history (Terry Kinard in 1982 was the other)

• Adams was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Hendricks Award, and he was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. He was also named ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

• Jad Dean has 51 career field goals, fifth-most in Tiger history. He is sixth in Clemson scoring (250) and fourth in ACC history in field-goal percentage. Top Stories