Texas Tech Gets the Nod

Clemson (7-5) will meet Texas Tech (8-5) for the first time in history when the two teams face off in the Mazda Tangerine Bowl on December 23. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 PM and the game will be televised by ESPN. Tickets are available for the game through the Clemson Ticket office for $45.

Tickets may be ordered over the phone with Mastercard or Visa by calling 1-800-CLEMSON, (864) 656-2118 or (864) 656-2115. Orders are also taken in person at the ticket office at Memorial Stadium.

The Clemson vs Texas Tech game will feature an interesting matchup of Clemson's pass defense against Texas Tech's passing office. Texas Tech averages 383 passing yards per game, second in the nation. Clemson ranks 17th in he nation in pass defense, allowing just 175 yards per game.

Individually, Texas Tech is led by quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, the Big 12 Player of the Year according to the Associated Press Also the Verizon Academic All-American of the Year of college football, Kingsbury led Texas Tech to 37.1 points per game this year, the seventh best scoring offense in the nation. He completed 447 of 669 passes for 4,642 yards and 42 touchdowns. His 447 completions set an all-time NCAA record. He has 1199 career completions, also an NCAA record. He ranked 13 the nation in passing efficiency and second in total offense this season.

He will be throwing against a Clemson secondary that features two of the top 15 players in the nation in terms of interceptions. Clemson freshman Justin Miller ranks seventh in the nation in that category with seven, while senior Brian Mance is 15th with six. Clemson was the only school in the nation who had two different cornerbacks intercept at least six passes this season. The Tigers intercepted 20 passes this season, among the top 15 figures in the nation. Texas Tech threw just 14 interceptions among their 718 pass attempts.

Texas Tech has four different players who rank in the top 100 in the nation in receptions, while Clemson has three players in the top 100. Taurean Henderson leads Texas Tech with 90 catches for 577 yards and five scores, while Wes Walker has 83 catches for 1034 yards and six scores. Mickey Peters finished with 57 receptions for 663 yards and seven scores, while Anton Paige has 48 catches for 565 yards and seven scores. Nehemia Glover ranks fifth on the team in receptions with 44-552, but has a team best nine touchdown receptions.

Clemson has three players who have combined for 150 catches this year in Kevin Youngblood, J.J. McKelvey and Derrick Hamilton. Youngblood has 52 catches and ranks 73rd in the nation, while McKelvey has 50 receptions and ranks 81st. McKelvey leads the Tigers in reception yards with 752. Hamilton leads the ACC in all-purpose running with 137 yards per game and also has 48 receptions for 530 yards.

The Red Raiders have played many high scoring games this year, including a 51-48 overtime loss to NC State, the only common opponent for the two schools. Texas Tech ranks 93rd in total defense and scoring defense. The average score of their 13 games this year has been a 37-33 victory. Laurence Flugence, a senior linebacker, is among the national leaders in tackles with 187 in 13 games. Ryan Aycock is second on the club with 143 stops and has 12 passes broken up. Aaron Hunt (yes both teams have an Aaron Hunt) is the top defensive lineman with 98 tackles, including a team best seven sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.

Junior linebacker John Leake is the top tackler on the Clemson team with 153, while senior linebacker Rodney Thomas has 152 and seven tackles for loss. Nick Eason keys the defensive line with 62 tackles, including seven sacks. He was Clemson's only first-team All-ACC performer this year. Bryant McNeal has eight sacks and 64 tackles as a defensive end. He has 21 career sacks, sixth in Clemson history.

Clemson has a 5-7 record in games against teams currently in the Big 12 conference. Clemson's last game against a Big 12 Conference foe took place in 2000 when Clemson defeated Missouri in a game at Death Valley, 62-9.

This will be Clemson's sixth bowl game against a Big 12 team, the first since the 1988 season when Clemson defeated Oklahoma 13-6 at the Citrus Bowl. Clemson is 3-2 against Big 12 teams in bowl games, including the 22-15 win over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl, a victory that gave Clemson its only national championship in football.

This will be Clemson's first appearance in the Mazda Tangerine Bowl, but not its first appearance in Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Clemson had a 2-1 record in that facility during its competition in the Citrus Bowl. Clemson defeated Penn State and Oklahoma in consecutive Citrus bowls at the end of the 1987 and 1988 seasons, respectively. The Tigers lost to California in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the 1991 season.

Overall, Clemson has a 13-12 record in bowl games. The 25 bowl appearances and 13 victories rank among the top 20 totals in college football history. This will be Clemson's 16th appearance in a bowl game played in Florida, its first since 2000 when Clemson played Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Clemson has a 9-6 record in its previous 15 bowl games played in Florida.

Clemson enters this game with a 7-5 record, but the Tigers have won three of their last four games. In fact, Clemson and Texas Tech have both won three of their last four entering this game. Clemson concluded the season with a 27-20 win over South Carolina on November 23 behind an offense that gained 434 yards, highest figure against South Carolina all season. Freshman quarterback Charlie Whitehurst completed 27-38 passes for 287 yards in that victory.

Clemson is 3-1 since it made Whitehurst the starting quarterback. He has completed 103-166 for the season for 1291 yards and nine scores. He set a school record for completions (34) and passing yards (420) in a win over Duke in his first college start. Clemson's top rusher is sophomore Yusef Kelly, who has 505 yards on the ground and has scored eight touchdowns. Senior Bernard Rambert has started eight games and has 485 yards and six scores.

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