Virginia Tech - Clemson Game Notes

Clemson has a 17-11-1 lead in the series with Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have won four consecutive games, including last year at Blacksburg when Frank Beamer's team won 24-7 over a 10th ranked Clemson team.

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Series
Clemson has a 17-11-1 lead in the series with Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have won four consecutive games, including last year at Blacksburg when Frank Beamer's team won 24-7 over a 10th ranked Clemson team. The four wins in a row have spanned over the last 10 years and have taken place in three different stadiums. Virginia Tech won at Clemson over Tommy West's final team in 1998 by a 37-0 score, then won at Blacksburg the following year by a 31-11 score. Virginia Tech then defeated Clemson 41-20 behind Michael Vick at the 2001 Gator Bowl.

Clemson's last victory in the series took place in 1989 at Blacksburg, as a seventh- ranked Clemson team that had just won at Florida State, defeated Virginia Tech, 27-7. Virginia Tech's only score came on a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Marcus Mickel.

Here are some other notes on the series:

•The Clemson vs. Virginia Tech series is one of the oldest in the Clemson history books. The two teams first met in 1900 when the Tigers won 17-5 during John Heisman's first year as head coach. That was Clemson's fifth straight win in a 6-0 season in Heisman's first year. That game was played in Charlotte, NC.

•Clemson actually had a nine-game winning streak in the series from 1955-89, including a 6-1 record against the Hokies in the decade of the 1980s.

•Clemson has a 6-3 advantage in the series in games played in Blacksburg, including a 4-2 lead in Lane Stadium.

•Virginia Tech won the 1999 game in Blacksburg, a 31-11 Hokie victory in a Thursday night game on ESPN. Clemson trailed just 17-11 late in the game, but Virginia Tech scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes. Clemson held Michael Vick to 7-16 passing for 88 yards and intercepted three of his passes, the most effective pass defense against Vick during that season. That Virginia Tech team went on to play Florida State for the National Championship.

*The 1956 Clemson vs. Virginia Tech game was a battle of top 15 teams at Clemson. The Tigers won that game 21-6. That was the first ever battle of top 20 teams in the history of Death Valley.

•Virginia Tech upset Clemson in the season opener at Clemson in 1986 by a 20-14 score behind coach Bill Dooley. That was one of just two season opening losses in Danny Ford's Clemson career, and the Tigers lost just two games that season and went on to win the ACC. A blocked punt by Virginia Tech's Mitch Dove was a key play in the game. Clemson's punter that day was Bill Spiers, who went on to a 10-year major league baseball career.

•Clemson won the 1985 game at Virginia Tech by a 20-17 score on a 36-yard field goal by David Treadwell on the last play of the game. That was the season opener for both teams.

•Clemson had a three-game winning streak in the series between 1987-89. Clemson's defense was prominent, allowing just 24 points and two offensive touchdowns in those three games combined. All three of those Clemson wins were against Frank Beamer, who came to Virginia Tech as head coach in 1987.

•Beamer will be making just his third appearance as head coach of Virginia Tech in Death Valley. He has a 1-1 record. This will be his third game at Clemson, one in the 1980s, one in the 1990s and now one in the first decade of the 21st century. Virginia Tech does not return to Clemson until 2012, His two previous trips to Clemson have been large margins, a 40-7 Clemson win in 1988 and a 37-0 Virginia Tech win in 1998.

•This is the last regular season game between Clemson and Virginia Tech until 2011. It is the last meeting at Clemson until 2012.

2006 vs. Virginia Tech
Branden Ore rushed for 203 yards to lead Virginia Tech to a 24-7 victory over #10 Clemson at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA on October 26, 2006. The game was played in front of 66,233 fans on a Thursday night on ESPN. It was the first meeting between the two teams as ACC members.

The defeat ended Clemson's 26-game streak of not losing by more than six points dating back to 2004, when the Tigers lost in the same state by 20 points at Virginia.

Virginia Tech doubled the Tigers (332- 166) in total yards, including a 224-80 advantage in rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Hokie offense totaled 58 rushing attempts and wore down the Tiger defense by game's end.

Ore's 203 rushing yards came on 37 carries, while he added two touchdowns. It was the first time in the Tommy Bowden era at Clemson that an opposing player rushed for 200 yards in a game. Quarterback Sean Glennon completed 9-15 passes for 108 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Virginia Tech defense stuffed the Tiger run game all night. The Tigers did not have a run of 10 yards or more until the final drive of the game.

James Davis was held to 30 rushing yards on 12 carries, and scored the team's lone touchdown. C.J. Spiller had a team-high 41 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Will Proctor struggled the entire game, completing only 11 of 28 passes for 86 yards. Tyler Grisham and Chansi Stuckey both had three catches to pace the Tigers. It was Stuckey's first game back after missing the previous three contests due to a broken foot.

Clemson played well in certain areas, such as pass protection and lack of penalties. The Tigers did not allow a sack and committed just one penalty for five yards. Clemson totaled just 75 yards of total offense in 42 plays after its touchdown-scoring drive in the first quarter.

After three-and-outs by both teams to start the game, Clemson drove 77 yards in 11 plays to post the first points of the game. A 20-yard pass from Proctor to Grisham on third-and-nine moved the ball to the Hokie 27. After Clemson's only penalty of the game, Proctor hit Grisham for 12 yards and Stuckey for seven yards on third down. Two plays later, Davis rushed six yards for a touchdown. It was his 17th rushing score of the year, tying Lester Brown's 28-year-old school record.

But the lead was short-lived, as the Hokies drove 84 yards in 12 plays on the ensuing drive to tie the score. At their own 36, the Hokies elected to go for it on fourth-and-one, and Glennon's sneak was enough to keep the drive alive. Ore rushed for 13, eight, and 40 yards on the next three plays to move the ball to the Tiger one. Two plays later, Glennon scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak.

On the Hokies' next possession, they drove 29 yards in 10 plays to take the lead early in the second quarter. A 14-yard pass from Glennon to Eddie Royal on third-and-nine kept the drive alive. But the drive stalled when Glennon threw back-to-back incompletions in Tiger territory. Brandon Pace came on to make a 37-yard field goal to put Virginia Tech up by a score of 10-7.

With 3:32 left in the second quarter, C.J. Gaddis stripped a scrambling Glennon, and Gaines Adams scooped up the fumble and returned it five yards to the Hokie 26. But three plays later, Proctor fumbled the snap from Dustin Fry, and Barry Booker recovered to end the scoring threat.

The game got away from the Tigers in the third quarter. Xavier Adibi picked off Proctor and returned the ball to the Tiger 35. Ore carried on all five plays of the ensuing drive, including an 11-yard jaunt for a touchdown.

After three-straight three-and-outs combined by both teams, Virginia Tech added insurance points after a lengthy drive of 79 yards. Glennon connected with tight end Sam Wheeler for 41 yards to move the ball into Tiger territory. On the next play, Ore carried 21 yards to the Tiger four. Two plays later, he scored on a three-yard touchdown run to give Virginia Tech a 24-7 lead with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter.

Clemson Graduate is Virginia Tech QB coach
Virginia Tech quarterback coach Mike O'Cain is a 1977 Clemson graduate. O'Cain was the Tigers team MVP in 1976 when he played quarterback and served as the punter. He was a member of the team from 1973-76, then stayed on staff as student assistant coach in 1977.

O'Cain served as the head coach at NC State before coming to Clemson as an assistant coach for the 2001 Gator Bowl. His first game coaching for Clemson as a full-time assistant came against Virginia Tech. He replaced Rich Rodriquez who left to become the head coach at West Virginia.

O'Cain served on the Clemson coaching staff for 2001-02-03 and 2004. He was the quarterbacks coach for the first three years, then the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2004. His first year on the staff (2001) he coached Woody Dantzler who became the first quarterback in NCAA history to record 2000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing in the same season. Dantzler and O'Cain are both from Orangeburg, SC.

Clemson Welcomes ESPN Saturday Night Crew
Clemson's game with Virginia Tech on Saturday will be televised by ESPN and its Saturday night announcing crew of Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe. This will be the fourth time in the last two years this announcing team has broadcast a Clemson game and the Tigers are 3-0 in the previous three games. All three games have been wins over ranked opponents.

The streak started last year at Florida State when Clemson defeated a ninth ranked Florida State team on the road, 27-20. James Davis scored the winning touchdown with just eight seconds left. Then, last October, the same crew did Clemson's 31-7 win over 13th ranked Georgia Tech from Clemson. Davis had a career high 216 yards rushing in that game.

The streak continued earlier this year when the same crew did Clemson's win over 19th ranked Florida State, 24-18 on Labor Day night. Davis had 102 yards rushing in that conteet.

The presence of Patrick and Blackledge must bring the Tigers good fortune. Patrick has done Clemson events for many years for ESPN. He provided the play by play for Clemson's 1990 ACC Regular season clinching basketball victory over Duke. That is the only time Clemson has won the ACC regular season championship in men's basketball.

Blackledge was the starting quarterback for Penn State in 1981, the year Clemson won the national championship. The Saturday after Thanksgiving that year, he led Penn State to a 48-14 win over then number-one Pittsburgh. The victory allowed Clemson to move into the number-one position in both polls and position the Tigers to win the National Championship with its Orange Bowl win over Nebraska.

Clemson Faces Another Outstanding Defense
For the second week in a row, Clemson must go against one of the best defenses in the ACC. Last Saturday, Clemson faced Georgia Tech, who is number-one in the ACC in scoring defense, number two in rush defense and number two in total defense. This week, Clemson faces Virginia Tech, who is number-two in scoring defense, and number two in pass efficiency defense. Virginia Tech led the nation in total defense last year.

Clemson's defense has been outstanding in its own right this year. Vic Koenning's point prevention unit is first in the ACC in pass efficiency defense, first in pass defense and third in total defense. Clemson ranks in the top 25 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (7th), pass defense (8th), scoring defense (22nd) and total defense (24th). The Tigers defense has also contributed to a number-14 ranking in turnover margin.

Leading the way for Clemson on defense has been linebacker Nick Watkins, who has 51 total tackles and two tackles for loss. He had 12 tackles at Georgia Tech, his third double figure tackle game of the year. Chris Clemons and Phillip Merling are tied for second on the club in tackles with 36. Clemons had 14 at Georgia Tech and Merling had a career high 10 stops, including three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

Tigers from Virginia
Clemson has just two players on its roster from the state of Virginia, but both are prominent players. Chris McDuffie is a red-shirt senior offensive guard who made his first career start at Virginia Tech last year. McDuffie is from Danville, VA and has now started 10 consecutive games. He leads the team in knockdown blocks with 47.5.

Kavell Conner is a red-shirt sophomore linebacker from Richmond, VA. He has played in all 5 games this year and has 14 tackles in 81 plays in reserve. He is 2nd on the team in tackles among non-starters.

Nocturnal Tigers
Clemson will play Virginia Tech at 6:00 PM on Saturday night. Tommy Bowden used to roll his eyes when he was informed that the Tigers had been scheduled for night for television, but he must not be as disappointed lately.

Clemson was 4-1 last year in night games, wins over Florida State, Louisiana Tech, Temple and Georgia Tech. The only loss was to Virginia Tech. Clemson won all four of its night games in 2005, including wins over top 20 teams from Texas A&M, South Carolina and Colorado.

Clemson opened this year with a victory over 19th ranked Florida State on Labor Day night. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 night games and six of the wins have come against ranked opponents. Clemson has won four straight home night games with the last loss coming to Georgia Tech in 2004.

The 10-1 run in night games is a total reversal from Bowden's first five years at Clemson. Clemson had an 0-5 record in night games his first year and a 6-1 mark in day games. Clemson was 2-14 at night under Bowden for his first four years, plus three games. Overall, he is now 12-15 in night games in his Clemson career.

Clemson Has won Nine in Row in Home Redemption Games
Clemson is coming off a loss at Georgia Tech, a team the Tigers defeated at Clemson in 2006. That could be called a "redemption home game."

The Tigers are now in that situation this Saturday when Virginia Tech comes to Clemson. The Hokies defeated Clemson last year 24-7 in Blacksburg and the Tigers are now trying to redeem themselves by taking a victory at Clemson.

Clemson has played well in redemption home games under Tommy Bowden. In fact the Tigers are 14-5 under Bowden in redemption home games, including nine wins in a row. The last time Clemson lost a redemption home game was in 2003 when the Tigers lost at home to Georgia, 30-0 after having lost at Georgia the previous year, 31-28.

Clemson's nine-game winning streak in redemption home games includes five wins over top 25 teams, including each of the last two. Clemson defeated a 17th ranked Florida State team 35-14 in 2005 after having lost to the Seminoles in Tallahassee the previous year. Last year Clemson defeated a 13th ranked Georgia Tech team 31-7 after having lost to the Yellow Jackets the previous year, 10-9 in Atlanta. Six of Bowden's 14 redemption home games have been over top 25 teams. Top Stories