Florida State - Clemson Game Notes

Clemson will open its 2007 football schedule against Florida State on Labor Day Night (September 3) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

This will be the first time Clemson has played a regular season game on a Monday night since 1982 when the Tigers opened the season at Georgia in a nationally televised game on ABC.

"This will bring tremendous exposure to our program," said Head Coach Tommy Bowden. "The Clemson-Florida State game is always one of the most watched college games of the year and now it will be in a time slot on a holiday evening with no other college game broadcast at the same time.

"As we saw last year when ESPN's College GameDay came to Clemson for the Georgia Tech game, this Labor Day evening game will be a great opportunity to showcase Clemson University," said Clemson Athletic Director Dr. Terry Don Phillips. "It will bring great exposure for the University as we strive to become a Top 20 national public university."

Clemson was recently ranked 27th in the nation among Public Institutions by US News & World Report.

This is the first time Clemson has played on Labor Day in 25 years. The opening game of the 1982 season matched Clemson, the 1981 National Champion, against Georgia, the 1980 National Champion. The game was played in Athens and was shown on ABC in prime time. The Bulldogs won the game, 13-7 and went on to an 11-1 season, losing the national championship game against Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. The quarterback for Penn State that year and in that game was Todd Blackledge, who will broadcast Monday night's game for ESPN.

Clemson went on to a 9-1-1 record and number-eight final ranking by AP in 1982. That opening game was the only contest Georgia lost that year. It is the only season since 1898 that Clemson has lost its opening game, then never lost the rest of the year.

Clemson vs. Florida State Series
Florida State has a 15-5 advantage in the series with Clemson, but the Tigers have won three of the last four meetings. Clemson became the first ACC school to defeat the Seminoles three of four years with the 27-20 win in Tallahassee last year. The Tigers won that game in dramatic fashion on a one-yard touchdown run by James Davis with eight seconds remaining.

Clemson won the last meeting between the two teams in Clemson by a 35-14 score in Charlie Whitehurst's final home game as a Tiger quarterback. It was his second career win over the Seminoles as he also gained victory by a 26-10 score in 2003.

Clemson's other two wins in the series took place at Florida State, in 1976 and in 1989. The 1989 victory came in Danny Ford's last year as Clemson coach, a 34-23 victory. The Tigers used a 73-yard scoring run by Terry Allen and a 73-yard interception return by Wayne Simmons, to jump to a 28-10 halftime lead. (Allen will dot the I in Tigers during the pre-game ceremonies Monday evening.) That was Florida State's last loss that year and the Seminoles went on to a 10-2 record and number-three final ranking in the AP poll. Clemson also concluded the season 10-2 and ranked 12th in the final AP poll.

Florida State won 11 consecutive games in the series prior to Clemson's victory in 2003. All the wins were recorded by Bobby Bowden, who has a 14-5 all-time record against Clemson. Bobby Bowden has lost his last two appearances at Clemson's Death Valley, but his 6-2 record is still the most victories by an opposing head coach in the facility. Vince Dooley (Georgia) is second with five.

This will be the ninth Bowden Bowl. Bobby has the 5-3 lead, but Tommy is coming on strong with three wins in the last four. The first Bowden Bowl came in 1999, a 17-14 victory for Florida State. That FSU team went on to win the national championship and the 17 points and three-point victory margin were the smallest for Florida State in that championship season.

Florida State Game Review 2006
James Davis' one-yard touchdown run with eight seconds left propelled Clemson to a 27-20 victory at #9 Florida State in Bowden Bowl VIII on September 16. It was the Tigers' first win in Tallahassee since 1989, ending Clemson's seven-game losing streak at Doak S. Campbell Stadium.

The Tiger senior class became the first in ACC history to defeat the Seminoles three times. The loss also was only Florida State's third loss in its first 57 ACC home games.

Clemson had three touchdown-scoring drives of 80 yards or more, totaling 345 yards (5.9 yards per play), while the Seminoles amassed only 204 yards.

Davis, who only had 20 yards rushing on 13 carries until Clemson's final drive, ran six times for 67 yards on the last drive. He rushed for 87 yards in all. Aaron Kelly was the leading receiver with five catches for 51 yards.

Will Proctor stood tall against a stingy Seminole defense. The Winter Park, FL native was 16-30 for 194 yards and a touchdown. He was a big reason the Tigers did not commit a turnover. His offensive line did not allow a sack as well.

In the first quarter, Jacoby Ford took a reverse 38 yards to the eight, and Davis rushed into the endzone on the next play to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead. However, Lawrence Timmons blocked the extra-point attempt, and Tony Carter picked up the ball and went the distance for two points.

After a 55-yard punt (60-yard net), the Tigers took over at their own 20 in the second quarter. Rendrick Taylor pulled down a 32-yard catch to move the ball into Seminole territory. Clemson moved the ball to the 15, but the drive stalled.

Dean came on the field to attempt a 32-yard field goal. But Patrick Robinson blocked another field-goal attempt, and Carter once again was in the right place. He scooped the ball up and sprinted 69 yards for the touchdown.

Clemson came right back and regained the lead just before halftime. The Tigers drove 80 yards in 10 plays, capped by Chansi Stuckey's 19- yard touchdown catch with only 23 seconds left in the first half. Proctor found Stuckey again in the back of the endzone for two points.

The Tigers received the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 80 yards in five plays to up their lead to 20-9. Proctor lofted a touch pass to Davis out of the backfield, and the sophomore ran 54 yards before being tackled at the Seminole 26. Three plays later, Proctor faked a handoff, rolled left, and ran 20 yards into the endzone untouched for six points. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the Tigers ahead by 11 points.

Momentum shifted Florida State's way. The Seminoles cut the Tiger lead to one possession with 3:19 left in the third quarter when Cismesia made a 25-yard field goal.

On their next drive, the Seminoles drove 53 yards in 12 plays to tie the score. A 26-yard pass from Drew Weatherford to Chris Davis on third-and-nine helped set up Joe Surratt's one-yard touchdown plunge. Weatherford connected with Davis again for a successful two-point conversion.

Proctor was unable to handle a snap deep in Tiger territory, and the officials ruled that the Seminoles came up with the fumble. But after a replay review, Clemson was awarded possession due to dual-possession. The Tigers were forced to punt, but Florida State never penetrated inside the Tiger 40 again.

After four straight three-and-outs by the Tiger offense, Clemson began its final drive at its own 15 with 2:22 left. Davis' 14-yard rush gave Clemson breathing room, then Proctor hit Kelly on a slant pass for 18 yards. After the play, the Seminole defense was still in the process of lining up, and Proctor caught Florida State off-guard with a quick snap. Davis found a hole and raced 47 yards to the four.

Two rushes netted three yards to the one yard line, and the Tigers called timeout with 11 seconds left. Davis found paydirt off left guard with eight seconds remaining.

Bowden Bowls
This is the ninth Bowden Bowl and Bobby Bowden has a 5-3 advantage over his son Tommy Bowden in the previous eight. This is the only recorded series in Division I college football history in which father has coached against son.

Here is a short summary of each of the first eight Bowden Bowls:

* 1999—The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as an all-time record crowd of 86,092 attended the game. That record will probably stand for many years due to existing fire codes at Clemson Memorial Stadium. In addition to the hype concerning the first coaching match-up of father vs. son, Bobby Bowden was going for his 300th career victory. He got the win with a struggle, 17-14. It was the closest the Seminoles came to losing in their 1999 National Championship season. Clemson had two offensive touchdowns to Florida State's one and the Florida State 17 points were the fewest scored by the Seminoles in 1999. Clemson drove to the FSU 25 with two minutes left, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Tony Lazzara was tipped at the line of scrimmage and FSU ran out the clock from there.

* 2000-Florida State won the second meeting in Tallahassee by a 54-7 score. Clemson entered the game with an 8-1 record and #10 national ranking, while FSU was fourth in the nation. It was just the third meeting of top 10 teams in ACC history. Clemson was coming off a 31-28 last second loss to Georgia Tech that had broken an eight-game winning streak, the longest for the Tigers under Tommy Bowden. Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against the Tigers, including an opponent record 521 through the air. Florida State running back Davy Ford, the brother of current Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford, had an 82 yard run in the game, longest against a Tommy Bowden coached Clemson team.

* 2001—In a game at Death Valley, Clemson gained 463 yards of total offense, its high total ever against Florida State, but still lost 41-27. The Tigers could not stop freshman quarterback Chris Rix, who threw for 369 yards, leading FSU to 557 yards of total offense. Woody Dantzler kept it interesting with 336 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as FSU won for the sixth straight time under Bobby Bowden in Death Valley. His six wins are the most by a Clemson opponent in the facility that dates to 1942. Clemson ran a fake punt for a touchdown, but the play was called back because Clemson only had 10 men on the field (not enough on the line of scrimmage)

* 2002—Florida State came away with a 48-31 victory in a game that was televised on a Thursday night in Tallahassee by ESPN. Clemson's 31 points were the most for the Tigers in Tallahassee since 1989. Clemson won the total offense battle, 441-386, as Willie Simmons had a career high 343 yards of offense. J.J. McKelvey had five catches for 117 yards to help the offense. Florida State got a 97-yard kickoff return from Leon Washington and Greg Jones had 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Clemson did successfully execute an on-side kick, still the only on-side kick for the Tigers since 1979.

* 2003- Clemson finally defeated Bobby Bowden in Death Valley with a 26-10 victory. He had been 6-0 at Clemson prior to this game. It was the second of what would be just three losses for Florida State in 2003. They were coming off a 38-0 win at Notre Dame, and Clemson was coming off a 45-17 loss at Wake Forest. Florida State was ranked third in the nation entering the game and that is still the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards to lead Clemson as Bobby Bowden suffered a lost on his birthday for the only time in his career.

* 2004—Justin Miller set an NCAA record with 282 kickoff return yards, but the eighth-ranked Seminoles defeated Clemson 41-22 in Tallahassee. Clemson had five turnovers on offense and gained just 173 yards. The Seminoles had 33 more plays than Clemson. However, it was still a 24-22 game with four minutes left in the third period. But, FSU scored the last 17 points of the game. Leon Washington's 35-yard touchdown run in the third period was the key.

* 2005—Clemson won for the second time in three years with a 35-14 victory at Death Valley. Clemson scored 21 points in the third period to blow the game open. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 269 yards on his senior day and Chansi Stuckey caught 11 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson did not allow a touchdown by the 16th ranked Seminoles. The victory was the 50th for Tommy Bowden in his Clemson career.

* 2006—James Davis scored on a one-yard run with just eight seconds left to lead Clemson to a 27-20 victory at Florida State. It was the closest score in a Bowden Bowl since the first Bowden Bowl in 1999. Florida State was ranked ninth in the nation entering the contest and the Tigers were unranked after losing the previous week to Boston College in overtime. Clemson held Florida State to 204 yards of total offense, and it was just the third home ACC loss for Florida State in 57 home ACC games. Gaines Adams had seven tackles, including 2.5 sacks to key the Clemson defense.

Amato Returns to Death Valley
Former NC State head coach Chuck Amato is now associate head coach and linebackers coach at Florida State. He was an assistant coach with the Seminoles from 1983-99, then served the Wolfpack as head coach from 2000-06. He coached NC State in Death Valley last year, a close competitive game the Tigers won 20-14.

The Tigers also defeated the Wolfpack in 2004 (26-20) at Clemson in another game decided on the last play, an interception by Charles Bennett, and in 2005 (31-10) at NC State, a game that featured the running of then freshman James Davis. Overall, Amato was 2-5 against Clemson in his seven seasons at NC State.

In his previous term as assistant coach at Florida State, he was on the sidelines for 10 games and came away a winner nine times. The only time Florida State lost to Clemson with Amato on the sidelines took place in 1989 when Clemson won in Tallahassee, 34-23.

Fisher vs. Koenning
Clemson and Florida State both have well known coordinators on each side of the football. Rob Spence took Clemson to the ACC statistical championship rushing, scoring and total offense last year, the first time since 1991 that Clemson won all three titles. Mickey Andrews many years of defensive accomplishments have been well documented at Florida State.

The matchup between Florida State's offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is an intriguing one. Fisher is in his first year at Florida State after seven successful seasons at LSU in the same capacity. Last year LSU was 11th in the nation in total offense and ninth in scoring, thanks in part to the play of number-one NFL draft choice Jamarcus Russell, who was third in the nation in passing efficiency last year.

Koenning has taken Clemson to a top 25 national ranking in all four major defensive statistical categories in each of the last two years, the first time Clemson has done that since 1990-91. Last year Clemson was 13th in the nation in total defense and 16th in scoring defense.

This won't be the first time Koenning and Fisher have competed against each other. In 2004, when Koenning was defensive coordinator at Troy, his Trojans went to LSU and faced Fisher's LSU offense. The result was a 24-20 LSU win in front of a Tigers homecoming crowd of over 89,000. LSU had to score a fourth quarter touchdown to gain the victory, an important win for the defending National Champions on the way to a 9-3 season in 2004.

LSU gained just 57 yards rushing that night, the fewest by Fisher's offense all year. They would end the year 20th in the nation in rushing with an average of 193 per game. Troy would end that year eighth in the nation in rushing defense.

Fisher also has considerable ties to Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden. Bowden and Fisher coached together at Auburn on Terry Bowden's staff from 1993-96. Fisher was the quarterbacks coach and Tommy Bowden was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. In the four years they were on the staff together, Auburn had a 36-9-1 record, including an 11-0 season in 1993.

CUTigers.com Top Stories