Clemson has an overall record of 61-19-3 for its previous 83 Homecoming games, a .753 winning percentage. That includes a 31-3-2 record (.889) on Homecoming games since the 1971 season.
The first homecoming game at Clemson
was in 1922, a 21-0 loss to Centre. Clemson
was actually 0-4-1 through its first five
homecoming games, so it is surprising that the
tradition continued. Clemson defeated Auburn
in 1927 by a 3-0 score for its first homecoming
There is no record of a homecoming game
in 1930 or 1938, but the event has been held
in conjunction with a football game every year
since 1939, even through the war years.
Clemson has just three losses on Homecoming
since 1971, and one of the three was
against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets upset
a 14th ranked Clemson team 30-14 in Danny
Ford's final year as Clemson head coach. That
was the last loss for Ford as Clemson head
coach and the only time he lost a homecoming
game in 11 years as Clemson head coach.
Georgia Tech went on to a fine 7-4 season in
1989, then won the national Championship the
Clemson's other two losses on homecoming
since 1971 took place in 1997 to Virginia
and in 2001 to North Carolina. Tommy Bowden
is 7-1 in his previous eight Homecoming games,
including five wins in a row. Clemson defeated
a 24th ranked Virginia team on Homecoming by
a 30-27 score in overtime in 2003. Clemson
downed Utah State 35-6 in 2005. He then defeated
a 13th ranked Georgia Tech team last year
by a 31-7 score. That was also the first ever
appearance for ESPN Gameday on the Clemson
campus. Six of Tommy Bowden's seven Homecoming
wins have been against ACC foes.
Last year's win over Georgia Tech was the
highest ranked victory in Clemson history on
homecoming. In fact, it was just the fourth time
Clemson has played a top 25 team for homecoming.
Clemson defeated a 22nd ranked Duke
team 49-17 in 1988 and a 24th ranked Virginia
team in 2003 by a 30-27 score in overtime on
homecoming. The Tigers defeated a 22nd ranked
Georgia Tech team in 1996 by a 28-25 score.
Thus, Clemson is 4-0 vs. ranked teams on
Tigers Face Non-BCS Division I Opponent
Clemson will face Central Michigan,
a member of the Mid-American Conference,
on Saturday. Clemson has had success over
the years against Division I teams not in BCS
conferences. The Tigers are 17-1 against non-
BCS Division I schools since 1975, including a
10-1 mark under Tommy Bowden. Earlier this
year Clemson defeated non-BCS Division I team
Clemson's only loss to a Division I
non-BCS conference team since 1975 is a 13-10
loss to Marshall, then of the Mid-American Conference,
in 1999. That was Tommy Bowden's
first game as Clemson coach. That Marshall
team, led by current New York Jets quarterback
Chad Pennington, went on to a 13-0 season
and a #10 final national ranking in both polls.
Marshall is now a member of Conference USA.
The last Division I team not in a
BCS conference to defeat Clemson prior to the
Marshall game in 1999 was Tulane, who gained
a 17-13 win at Clemson in the 1975 season
opener. Tulane was an independent then.
First time Winners at Death Valley
Central Michigan will attempt to become
just the third first-time visitor in the last 30 years
to win at Death Valley. The only opponents since
1978 to win in their first visit to Clemson have
been Marshall, a 13-10 winner in the season
opener of the 1999 season, and Miami (FL), in
2005 in a 36-30 triple overtime game. Prior to
that, the last first-appearance winner at Clemson
was Notre Dame in 1977.
Central Michigan is the 49th different school
to come to Clemson Memorial Stadium and the
previous 48 have a record of 12-35-1 in their first
game at Clemson. Three of the 12 first-time
winners (Alabama, Kentucky, Marshall) have
beaten the Tigers by the exact same score, 13-
A look to Clemson's home record over the
years shows why the Tigers enjoy playing in
Death Valley. Clemson has a record of 314-
117-15 at home over the years, a .721 winning
percentage. Clemson is 245-260-23 away from
home, a .486 winning percentage for those 528
games on an opponent's home field. Clemson
is 61-47-7 in neutral site games. You might
notice that Clemson now has 620 all-time victories,
314 at home and 306 away from home.
Clemson has a 239-93-7 record in Death
Valley (since 1942), a .715 winning percentage
for 339 games. Tommy Bowden has followed
the lead of his predecessors when it comes
to playing at home. He is 40-15 so far in his
55 home games, a .727 winning percentage.
Clemson has won 23 of the last 29 at home with
five of the six losses coming by six points or less.
Five of the six have been decided in overtime or
the last 10 seconds.
Tigers vs. the Mid American Conference
Clemson has a 5-0 lifetime record against
teams currently in the Mid American Conference.
Clemson has a 3-0 mark against Temple
and a 2-0 record against Ball State. Those are
the only two previous MAC schools Clemson
has played. The Tigers will play host to Central
Michigan again in 2009.
Clemson's last game against a MAC school
took place last year when Clemson defeated
Temple 63-9 in a game played in Charlotte.
Clemson won its first two games against Temple
by identical 37-7 scores, 14 years apart, 1991
and 2005. Clemson's wins over Ball State
took place 10 years apart 1992 and 2002.
Clemson has lost to a Mid-American
conference team, however. In 1999, Tommy
Bowden's first game as head coach, the Tigers
lost to Marshall, then a member of the Mid-
American conference, by a 13-10 score.
Spence Has Coached vs. Central Michigan
Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence
has faced Central Michigan previously in his
career as an offensive coordinator. The third
year Clemson coach faced Central Michigan four
times during his time as offensive coordinator at
Toledo. The Rockets had a 4-0 record against
Central Michigan during Spence's time.
A productive offense was the key to the
Toledo victories as the Rockets won by scores
of 52-28, 44-17. 31-13 and 27-22. The 2003
victory by a 31-13 score featured a Spence offense
that gained 643 yards of total offense in 98
offensive plays. That is the most plays Spence
has called in a game in his career. For the four
games combined, Toledo averaged 257 yards
rushing, 274.5 yards passing and 531.3 yards of
Tiger Defense Best in the ACC
While Clemson has lost its last two games,
the Tigers defense has been very strong. Clemson
has allowed the opposition just 475 total
yards over the last two games combined and has
held the opposition under 300 yards total offense
in four of the six games so far this season. Over
the last two games the opposition has had 17
possessions that have started in their own territory
and the Clemson defense has not allowed
the opposition to drive for a touchdown a single
time. The streak actually is 18 consecutive possessions
dating to the NC State game.
Clemson ranks first in the ACC in total
defense, allowing just 289.3 yards per game, a
figure that is 12th best in the nation. Clemson
also leads the ACC in pass defense, allowing
just 135.2 yards per game, and leads he league
in pass efficiency defense with a 92.0 rating.
Clemson is second in the entire nation in pass
defense and sixth in pass efficiency defense.
Clemson allowed Virginia Tech just 65 yards
passing, the best pass defense by an ACC team
It has been a team effort in allowing just 11
touchdowns by the opposing offense so far this
year, but there have been some standout efforts
worth mentioning. Nick Watkins leads the team
in tackles with 62, including a team best 38 first
hits. Phillip Merling has led the defensive line
with 41 tackles, second on the Clemson team.
He also leads the team in tackles for loss with
nine, a figure that ranks in the top five in the
ACC. He is ranked second in the ACC in tackles
Michael Hamlin has been a leader in the
secondary with three interceptions and 35
total tackles. He leads the team in takeaways
with four, three thefts and one fumble recovery.
Chris Clemons, his fellow safety, has 37 tackles
and two interceptions. Tramaine Billie also
deserves some attention with 37 total tackles.
Ricky Sapp leads the team in sacks with three
and has seven total tackles for loss to go with his
24 total tackles.
Central Michigan - Clemson Game Notes
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