Clemson vs. Virginia Series
Clemson holds a commanding 35-8-1
lead in the series with Virginia, but the Cavaliers
hold 8-6-1 advantage since 1990, including a
30-10 victory at Charlottesville in 2004, the last
time the two teams met. Clemson won the
game prior to that in 2003 by a 30-27 score in
overtime at Clemson.
The Tigers won the first 29 games of the
series before Virginia cracked the win column
with a 20-7 victory in Charlottesville in 1990.
Ironically, Clemson's first win in the history of the
series (in 1955) was also by a 20-7 score.
* Clemson's 29-game winning streak
between 1955-90 is tied for the fourth longest
winning streak in NCAA history for one team
over another. The record is 43 in a row held by
Notre Dame over Navy, a streak that ended in
* Virginia has gained its most success
against Clemson when the game has been
in September, an example of the Cavaliers
traditional good start to a season. Virginia has
celebrated five of its eight wins over the Tigers
in the month of September, including its last win
in Death Valley in 2001, a game it won with just
one second left. Virginia is 5-1 against Clemson
in the month of September since 1990, but just
3-5-1 in October and November since that year.
* Overall, Clemson is 25-3-1 against Virginia
in October and November all-time, but just
10-5 against the Cavs in September. Clemson
is 19-3-1 against Virginia in Death Valley and
15-5 in Charlottesville. Clemson won in Richmond
in 1971, 32-15, the only neutral site game
in the history of the series.
* The only tie in the series took place
in 1991, a 20-20 score at Clemson that was also
played on homecoming. The Tigers had 511
yards of total offense in that game and did not
win, the only game in Clemson history in which
Clemson picked up at least 500 yards, yet did
not win the game.
* Clemson was 3-3 against Virginia
under Tommy Bowden. Bowden picked up
his first win as a Clemson head coach in 1999
against George Welsh and the Cavaliers, 33-14
in a game at Clemson. Clemson led that game
33-0, 35 minutes into the game. In 2000,
Woody Dantzler led the Tigers to victory with a
dazzling performance. Dantzler rushed for 220
yards and passed for 154 leading Clemson to a
* The two teams have been ACC rivals
since that first meeting in 1955, but the two
teams have not played every year since the
league was formed in 1953. The two teams did
not play in 1961, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1975, 1976,
2005, 2006, and 2007.
Clemson Defense in Top 25 in Three Areas
Clemson is now ranked in the top 25
in three of the four major categories. Each of the
last three years Clemson has finished the season
in the top 25 in all four major categories, three of
the five years in school history that has been accomplished.
So far this year, Clemson is 16th in scoring
defense, allowing 18.2 points per game, stands
sixth in pass defense, allowing 163.50 yards per
game and 22nd in total defense, allowing 304.4
yards per outing. Clemson is 65th in rushing
defense, allowing 140 yards a game, so it will be
very difficult to reach a top 25 ranking in that fourth
Clemson has played well on defense all
year. One of the most telling stats of their performance
is defense after a turnover. Clemson ranks
in the ACC with a -0.70 turnovers per game figure.
Clemson has committed 24 turnovers and gained
just 17. Despite that margin, Clemson leads its
opponents in terms of points off turnovers this
year, 66-52. There have been three interceptions
of Clemson passes returned for scores, so the
defense has allowed just 31 points when they have
come on the field after an offensive turnover.
Clemson's offense did not have a
turnover against Duke and the Tigers forced two
on defense. It was the first game this year that
Clemson did not commit a turnover. Clemson has
reduced its turnover total from 6 to 4 to 2 to 0 in
the four games under Dabo Swinney.
Groh Has Led Two Schools vs. Tigers
Al Groh has served as the head coach
for two different schools against Clemson. He
had an 0-6 record against the Tigers as Wake
Forest coach from 1981-86. He has a 3-1 record
as Virginia coach against the Tigers so he had an
overall 3-7 record against the Tigers. His only loss
as Virginia head coach was an overtime contest,
30-27 at Clemson in 2003, Dabo Swinney's first
year as wide receivers coach with the Tigers.
Groh will become just the second coach
in history to serve as head coach of two different
schools for at least five games at each school. The
only other coach to lead a program at least five
times against Clemson with two different schools is
Bill Dooley. Dooley was 4-4-1 with North Carolina
against Clemson from 1968-76 and was 0-5 as
head coach at Wake Forest against Clemson from
1987-91. Dooley was also 0-4 against Clemson
as Virginia Tech head coach from 1978-84.
When Dabo Swinney took over as
Clemson head coach, one of his first tasks was to
connect his team with its community, on campus
and off. He has been successful in this endeavor
on many fronts. Here is a rundown on some of
the things he and the Tigers have done in this
area since he took over as interim head coach on
Oct. 18—Began the Tiger Walk Tradition
whereby the Clemson team gets off the bus
on gameday at Perimeter road at the entrance to
Lot 5, the parking lot behind the West Endzone.
Team then walks through the parking lot and greets
Clemson fans who line a path for the team. Fans
were 10 deep on either side for the entire 200-yard
Oct. 21—Swinney invited Clemson
student body to attend practice the Tuesday of
Clemson's open date week in October. Over
700 student attended, and he had three Clemson
students attempt a field goal against a live rush,
field a punt and attempt a punt.
Oct. 22—Swinney cancelled practice
(open date week) and brought entire team to a
children's hospital in Greenville to visit young
patients fighting cancer.
Nov. 12—After a Wednesday night
team meal prior to the Duke game, Swinney and
members of the team brought 40 pizzas to Clemson
students as the waited in line in tents for tickets to
the Clemson vs. South Carolina game.
Nov. 12-13—Members of the Clemson
football team registered on the National Bone
Marrow Registry after practice in the Clemson
locker room. Aaron Kelly and his roommate, Trey
Robinson led the drive.
Nov. 14—Took team to Tigerama, Clemson's
homecoming pep rally and entertainment
show at Littlejohn Coliseum the Friday night before
the Duke game. Swinney and players Michael
Hamlin and Aaron Kelly spoke to the crowd. It was
the first time a Clemson football team attended the
Clemson Has Comeback History
Clemson has come back from a deficit
of 13 points or more to win 10 times in its history
and four of the victories have come against
Virginia. Two of those wins have taken place in
Charlottesville and two in Clemson.
Clemson's greatest comeback in
history took place at Virginia in 1992 when it
overcame a 28-0 deficit with 32 minutes left to
win 29-28. Louis Solomon, now a high school
coach in New Jersey, led that comeback with
an option offense. His 64-yard run just before
halftime gave Clemson some momentum going
into the locker room at halftime. Nelson Welch
booted a 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds
left to provide the winning margin. Virginia was
undefeated and ranked 10th in the nation heading
into that game. That remains the greatest
comeback in ACC history involving two conference
Clemson's greatest comeback in
Death Valley also took place against Virginia.
Clemson trailed Virginia by 17 points at home in
1966, but came back to win 40-35. That was the
first game that Howard's Rock was present in
Death Valley. Coincidence?
Clemson also overcame a 14-point deficit
to Virginia in 1980 to win 27-24 in Charlottesville.
Bill Smith, now on the Clemson Board of
Trustees, returned a block punt for a touchdown
to provide a key play in the victory. Obed Ariri
then booted a 52-yard field goal with six seconds left.
Spiller Sets Clemson Reception Yardage Record
C.J. Spiller has 379 receiving yards for the season, including 268
over the last three games. He now needs just 36 receiving yards to establish
a Clemson season record for receiving yards by a running back in one year.
Travis Zachery had 45 receptions for 414 yards in 2001 when he caught
passes from quarterback Woody Dantzler.
Spiller has had two 100-yard receiving games over the last three
games. There had been just two 100-yard receiving games by Clemson running
backs over the first 112 years of Clemson football. In 1948, Ray Mathews
had 105 receiving yards against Mississippi State and in 1950 Jackie Calvert
had 100 receiving yards against Duquesne.
Spiller had 105 yards receiving at Boston College on November 1
on six receptions and 108 yards on seven catches against Duke. The seven
receptions tied a Clemson single game record. Dick Bukowsky had seven
catches against Florida State in 1970.
On a career basis, Zachery is Clemson's career leader among
running backs in receptions and reception yards. He had 105 receptions
for 1057 yards and nine touchdowns. Spiller has 78 catches for 860 yards
and seven touchdowns. Spiller is second to Zachery in all three categories
in terms of career reception statistics among running backs.
NOTES: Clemson at Virginia
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