As everyone knows, when Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Clemson's Tommy Bowden take the field Thursday evening to coach their respective teams, it will be the fourth competition of father and son head coaches in NCAA Division I history. The previous three occasions have taken place the last three years when the two teams met.
The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as a record 86,092 fans attended. In addition to the hype concerning a father coaching against a son for the first time, Bobby Bowden was going for his 300th career victory. He got it, but it was a struggle, as the Tigers fought the Seminoles to the wire before 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 touchdowns to Florida State's one.
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. Clemson was coming off a heart-breaking 31-28 loss to Georgia Tech the previous week and that loss seemed to linger. Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against a Clemson team, including 521 passing, also a high against a Clemson team.
Last year 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 Chris Rix and the Florida State passing game as the Seminoles threw for 369 yards and gained 557 overall. Woody Dantzler had 336 yard of total offense, but it was not enough as the Seminoles won for the sixth straight time in Death Valley.
Bobby Bowden has enjoyed success against Clemson in Death Valley, regardless of the opposing coach. Father Bowden is 6-0 in Death Valley, the only opposing coach with a perfect record in the facility given a minimum of two games. He has beaten Clemson five times in a row in Death Valley as an ACC coach and also defeated Clemson 24-21 in the famous "Puntrooskie" game of 1988.
The Clemson vs. Florida State games the last three 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, as he is Florida State's offensive coordinator.
Like Father, Like Son?
Florida State's record the two years prior to Bobby Bowden's arrival was 4-18. Tulane's record the two years prior to Tommy Bowden's arrival was 4-18.
Bobby Bowden had Florida State in a bowl games and a top 15 final national ranking in his second year with the program. Tommy Bowden had Tulane and Clemson in a bowl game and a top 15 national ranking in his second year with each program.
This is Bobby Bowden's 50th season in coaching. This is Tommy Bowden's 25th year in coaching (graduate assistant, full time assistant or head coach).
Both Bowden's had perfect seasons as head coaches in the 1990s. Bobby had an 11-0 season at Florida State in 1999 after Tommy had a perfect 11-0 regular season as head coach at Tulane.
Tommy Bowden has a better record than Bobby Bowden at the 62-game mark of his Division I coaching career. Bobby Bowden has a better record than Tommy at the 62-game mark of their respective head coaching careers, regardless of division.
Here is a comparison of the Bowdens at similar stages of their careers:
|First 62 Games as a Head Coach||43-19 (.694)||49-13 (.790)|
|First 62 Games as a Division I Head Coach||43-19 (.694)||37-25 (.596)|
|First Five Full Seasons as D-I Head Coach||40-18 (.690)||33-23 (.589)|
|First 40 Games at Current School||25-15 (.600)||29-11 (.725)|
Clemson-Florida State Series
Florida State holds a 13-2 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Both of Clemson's wins in the series took place in Tallahassee, in 1976 by a 15-12 score and in 1989 by a 34-23 count. Florida State is 7-0 at Clemson and Clemson is 2-6 at Florida State. Florida State has won 10 in a row, and all 10 have taken place since the Seminoles joined the ACC. Virginia, NC State and North Carolina are the only league schools to beat Florida State since they joined the league for the 1992 season.
In four straight meetings between 1988 and 1993 both teams 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 11 meetings, including 2001 when Clemson entered the game 24th in USA Today and Florida Sate was 14th in both polls. The polls for this week have not been released as of this writing.
The last time the two teams 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. Florida State scored in the last minute to close the gap to 11 points. The last time Clemson defeated Florida State it was coming off a loss to Southern Mississippi, a team from conference USA.
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 is still playing in the NFL with Baltimore.
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.
Clemson vs. Florida State by Site
Clemson has lost 10 straight games to Florida State. That is the bottom line, but a look inside the stats shows that Clemson has been much more competitive at home than in Tallahassee. Clemson has lost the five games at Clemson since the Seminoles joined the ACC by an average of nine points per game. The Tigers came within four points of victory in 1992 and within three points in 1999.
Clemson has not been close in games in Tallahassee since the Tigers won there in 1989, 34-23. The closest Clemson has come since 1989 is a 17-0 loss in 1994. The average score of the five games in Tallahassee is 42-2. The average total offense margin of the games in Tallahassee is 541-215. Florida State has scored 27 touchdowns to just one by Clemson in the last five games in Tallahassee.
,b>Clemson-Florida State Connections
There are many connections between Clemson and Florida State in terms of coaching staff:
Clemson wide receivers coach Rick Stockstill was Florida State's quarterback between 1979-81. He passed for 1356 yards as a senior in 1981 and was a two-year starter for FSU. He quarterbacked the 1980 team to an Orange Bowl berth.
Clemson Assistant Head Coach and tight ends 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. He was offensive coordinator from 1990-93. He has a master's degree from Florida State in athletic administration, a degree he earned in 1984.
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. Thus, when Clemson's offense and Florida State's defense are on the field, the coordinators involved coached at both schools.
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.
Last Year vs. Florida State
Florida State 41, Clemson 27 at Clemson, SC Despite an impressive performance from the offense, Clemson could not overcome an early Florida State lead and a consistent passing attack that led to a 41-27 Seminole victory.
For the second consecutive year the Tigers were unable to contain the Florida State passing game as red-shirt freshman Chris Rix threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Javon Walker and Talman Gardner both recorded over 100 yards receiving and caught all four of Rix's touchdown passes between them. Florida State had thrown for 521 yards against Clemson the previous season.
Clemson's offensive performance nearly matched that of the Seminoles as the Tigers recorded 463 yards of total offense, the highest total Clemson has ever achieved against Florida State. Woodrow Dantzler had 336 yards of total offense, which was also the highest total in history by a Clemson player against the Seminoles.
After an early Tiger defensive stand, followed by a missed 35-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt, the Seminoles responded with an 11-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 31-yard field goal by Xavier Beitia. Four plays later, a Dantzler pass was intercepted. Rix would capitalize two plays later, throwing a 47-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker that gave Florida State a 10-0 lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, Rix threw a pass that was intercepted by Brian Mance, and Dantzler led the Tiger offense down the field on the ensuing drive that he capped off himself with a two-yard touchdown run. Five plays later, however, the arm of Chris Rix struck again, hitting Gardner for a 28-yard touchdown reception that extended the FSU lead to 10 points for the second time.
Beitia would add a 39-yard field goal on the Seminoles' next drive, and with 2:09 remaining in the first half, Rix connected with Walker again for a 31-yard touchdown reception that gave Florida State a 20-point lead. Aaron Hunt's field goal with two seconds remaining before halftime made the score 27-10 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Rix and the FSU offense got the ball to start the third quarter, and picked up right where they had left off in the first half. The Seminoles' opening drive of the second half ended after Rix led the offense 80 yards on 10 plays, the final play being a four-yard touchdown pass from to Gardner. The Tigers responded with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter, when Dantzler carried the ball seven yards up the middle for a touchdown run that completed an 87-yard drive. On the drive, Dantzler gained 35 of his 59 total rushing yards for the game.
Following Brian Mance's second interception of the game at the start of the fourth quarter, Dantzler and the Tiger offense responded with a 14-play, 64-yard drive that took 6:07 off the clock and resulted in a 32-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt. Clemson would never get any closer. With just over seven minutes to play in the game, Greg Jones took a Rix handoff and ran 51 yards off the right tackle for a touchdown, which flattened the Clemson momentum and all but sealed the Seminoles' 10th consecutive victory over the Tigers. Clemson added a final touchdown with 3:43 left on a one-yard run by Bernard Rambert. The Tigers tried an on-side kick, but failed to recover and Florida State ran out the clock.
Washington-Jones High School Teammates
One of the most interesting and physical match-ups in the Clemson vs. Florida State game on Thursday will take place when Florida State is on offense. The Seminoles feature a ground attack led by Greg Jones, a junior running back from Beaufort, SC and Battery Creek High School. Jones was a key to the Florida State victory last year with a then career high 160 yards in 17 attempts, including a 51-yard touchdown run that clinched the victory for the Seminoles.
One of the players who will be charged with limiting Jones's rushing yardage with be Clemson defensive tackle Donnell Washington. Washington is a red-shirt sophomore from Beaufort, SC and Battery Creek High School. Both Washington and Jones were in the same high school class and will now battle against each other when the Seminoles are on offense.
Washington led all Clemson freshmen in tackles last year with 44, including eight tackles for loss and four sacks. So far this season he has 20 tackles in four games, tied for fifth on the Clemson team and second among Clemson defensive linemen.
Running Game Key to Success under Bowden How important is the running game to Clemson under Tommy Bowden? The Tigers are 16-1 under Bowden when the Tigers rush for at least 200 yards. That stat was enhanced in the most recent game when the Tigers gained 203 rushing in the victory over Ball State.
Clemson has won 13 straight when rushing for at least 200 yards dating to the 1999 Georgia Tech game when the Tigers rushed for 231 yards, yet lost the contest, 45-42.
Clemson is 23-4 under Bowden when the Tigers win the rushing yardage stat. That includes a perfect 3-0 record this year. Clemson is also 14-3 under Bowden when it has a 100-yard rusher. Clemson is yet to have a 100-yard rusher this year, but has come close with Yusef Kelly gaining 97 and 99 yards rushing in two games this year.
200 of Each Means Clemson Victory
Balance is obviously a hallmark of any successful offense. That has been the case for Clemson over the years and under Tommy Bowden. In its 1025-game history, Clemson has a 39-0-1 record when it has at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game. The undefeated streak continued in Clemson's most recent game when the Tigers had 209 passing and 203 rushing in the 30-7 win over Ball State.
That marked the 13th time in Tommy Bowden's 40 games as Clemson coach that the Tigers had at least 200 of each. Clemson did it just 27 times in 985 games prior to his arrival. The only time Clemson did not win when it gained at least 200 of each was at Georgia Tech in 1976 when the two teams played to a 24-24 tie.