The only previous meeting took place in 2003 when the Tigers downed the Blue Raiders by a 37-14 score at Death Valley. Clemson's offense gained 481 yards that day, 298 passing and 183 rushing.
Charlie Whitehurst led the Clemson
offense by completing 23-of-28 passes for 298
yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for
41 yards on nine carries in one of his finest
all-around games as a four-year starter under
center for the Tigers. Airese Currie set a Clemson
single game record for receptions that still
stands today as he caught 12 passes for 133
yards and a touchdown. Derrick Hamilton had
two touchdown receptions and caught four for 78
Jamaal Fudge led the Clemson defense
with 17 tackles, while John Leake added
12. Travis Pugh had an interception and Leroy
Hill had nine tackles and two tackles for loss.
Clemson in Season Openers
Clemson has won 19 of its last 25
season openers. That includes a 6-4 record the
last 10 years when Clemson has played its most
challenging season opening games. Clemson
has lost three of its last seven season opening
games, but all three were to top 25 teams, twice
to Georgia (2002 and 2003) and last year to Alabama.
Clemson has played five openers against
top 25 teams in the last 10 years after having
played just five top 25 teams in opening games
total between 1936 (first year of the AP poll) and
Clemson has had some exciting season
openers in recent years. In 2004 against Wake
Forest, Clemson won a thrilling 37-30 overtime
victory in a game that was televised by ABC.
It gave Clemson an 8-2-1 record against ACC
teams in season openers. Clemson won at
home in 2005 in thrilling fashion, a 25-24, win
over 17th ranked Texas A&M on a 42-yard field
goal by Jad Dean with two seconds left. Clemson
also beat a 19th ranked Florida State team in
the season opener of 2007.
The Tigers are 83-22-8 (.770), regardless
of site, in their first game of the season in
the previous 113 seasons. Even though this is
the 114th season of Clemson football, Clemson
has had just 108 home openers in its history because
five seasons Clemson did not play a game
at home. In the 108 home openers Clemson has
an 83-17-8 record against 33 different opponents.
Tigers to Honor Hunter by Wearing No. 17
Prior to the beginning of this season
it was determined that sophomore linebacker
Stanley Hunter would have to give up football
due to his continuing battle with epilepsy. The
native of Spartanburg, SC and former linebacker
at Byrnes High School, had a solid freshman
year when he had 37 tackles in just 158 defensive
snaps. His average of one tackle for every
4.27 snaps, led the team in terms of fewest plays
But during spring practice and over the
summer, he had repeated spells that led to his
retirement from the game. Hunter is still involved
with the program as a student coach and hopes
to go into the coaching profession.
Hunter is very popular among his teammates.
As a result various players have come to
Coach Dabo Swinney and asked that they wear
his jersey number 17 in his honor during the season.
For the season opener, fellow linebacker
Brandon Maye, who normally wears number-
20, will wear number 17 for the season opener
against Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Willy
Korn, who played at Byrnes High with Hunter,
will wear number-17 for the Georgia Tech game.
The plan is to have a different Tiger wear number
17 each game this year.
Spiller and Ford on Preseason All-ACC Team
Clemson has two selections at three
positions on the ACC's official preseason All-
ACC team. C.J. Spiller was named as a running
back and kick returner, while Jacoby Ford was
named as a wide receiver.
Spiller made first –team All-ACC as
a kick returner and second-team All-ACC as a
running back last year. He was also second
in the voting for preseason ACC Player-of-the-
Year with 28 votes. Georgia Tech running back
Jonathan Dwyer was first with 39 votes. Ford
has never been named to an All-ACC team in
football, but like Spiller he has been All-ACC in
Spiller had 1,770 all-purpose running
yards last year to rank 21st in the nation in that
area. He had 629 yards rushing and 436 receiving
in 2008 for 1065 yards from scrimmage.
Ford had 55 receptions for 710 yards and four
touchdowns last year. He was second on the
team in receptions and yards behind Aaron Kelly.
Ford is the only ACC player on the preseason
As a team, the ACC media attending
the annual football kickoff in Greensboro picked
Clemson second in the Atlantic Division behind
Florida State. Clemson had 14 first place votes
for the Atlantic Division, while the Seminoles had
Freshman Parker to Start at QB
Kyle Parker is slated to be Clemson's
starting quarterback in the season opener
against Middle Tennessee on September 5. It
will not only be Parker's first game as a starter,
but it will be the first time he has played in a
varsity game. Parker came to Clemson in January
of 2008 and has been through two Spring
practices and the 2008 regular season when he
If Parker starts the season opener,
he will be the first freshman to start the
season opener at quarterback for the Tigers
since 1945 when Bobby Gage started as the
single wing tailback against Presbyterian.
The single wing tailback was really the quarterback
in that offense. Gage, who went on to
become an All-American in 1948, had a great
performance in that first game as a freshman,
as he completed 3-4 for 61 yards and had eight
rushes for 144 yards and two touchdowns,
including an 88-yard run that is still fifth longest
run from scrimmage in Clemson history.
The last time the Clemson starting
quarterback in the season opener had not
previously taken a snap in a varsity game was in
1974. That year Mike O'Cain made the start in
the season opener at Texas A&M. O'Cain had
red-shirted the 1972 season, then did not appear
in a game in 1973.
The last time Clemson started a freshman
at quarterback was just last year when Willy
Korn started against Georgia Tech. The Tigers
lost that game, 21-17. Korn played sparingly as
he was injured in the first quarter while throwing
a pass. The last time Clemson won a game in
which a freshman started at quarterback was
in 2002 when then red-shirt freshman Charlie
Whitehurst quarterbacked Clemson to a 27-20
win over South Carolina.
Clemson has started a freshman at
quarterback over the course of the season just
five previous seasons. Doc McFadden started
as a freshman in 1906, Butch Butler in 1942
(single wing tailback), Willie Jordan in 1975,
Rodney Williams in 1985 and Nealon Greene
in 1994. Butler was the only freshman to start
every game at quarterback for the course of a
Whitehurst, now with the San Diego
Chargers, started five games as a freshman in
2002 (3-2 record), but the starter for the course
of that season was Willie Simmons, who started
eight that year. Simmons will be on the opposing
sidelines for the season opener as an assistant
coach with Middle Tennessee.
Strong Clemson Contingent at Middle Tennessee
Saturday is not Homecoming, but it
could be billed that way based on Clemson's opponent.
Middle Tennessee is led by Head Coach
Rick Stockstill, who served as an assistant coach
at Clemson from 1989-2002 and he has hired
nine coaches and staff members who have some
connection to Clemson on their resumes.
Stockstill coached at Clemson under
four coaches from 1989-02. He is the only
coach in Clemson history to serve under four
different head coaches. He worked under
Danny Ford in 1989, Ken Hatfield from 1990-93,
Tommy West from 1994-97 and Tommy Bowden
from 1999-2002. Jeff Scott is Clemson's current
wide receivers coach and Stockstill was his position
coach his entire playing career at Clemson.
Stockstill also recruited Brian Dawkins, who will
be inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame at the
Middle Tennessee game.
His 14 years of service as an assistant
rank sixth most in school history. Bob Jones
worked for 30 years under Frank Howard from
1940-69 and that is the record.
Stockstill is just the fifth former
Clemson assistant coach to later bring a team
to Death Valley as a head coach, the first to do
it since Tom Moore with The Citadel in 1986.
AP McLeod was the first to do it. He was an
assistant at Clemson in 1927, then led Furman
into Death Valley in 1942, the first year of Memorial
Stadium. Bobby Johnson was an assistant
coach at Clemson in 1993, then brought Furman
to Clemson three times (1994, 1996 and 1998).
Art Baker is the only other former Clemson assistant
to bring a team to Death Valley as head
coach. The previous four coaches to do it are a
Willie Simmons and Justin
Watts are Clemson graduates on the Middle
Tennessee staff. Simmons was a quarterback for the Tigers from 1999-02. He was the backup quarterback to Woody
Dantzler in 2000 and 2001, then the starter in 2002. He threw for four
touchdown passes off the bench in Clemson's win at North Carolina in
2000. He was also a graduate assistant on Tommy Bowden's coaching
staff in 2006. Justin Watts is the only Clemson football player in the last 50
years to earn five letters. He was a wide receiver for the Tigers from 1996-
2000 and 51 career catches.
David Bibee and Les Herrin are two more assistants who also
coached at Clemson. Bibee was an assistant with the Clemson program
from 1997-98 and Herrin served the Tigers program for 14 years, including
the 1981 National Championship season.
Alexander Will Play Two Positions
Senior Kevin Alexander is listed as a co-starter at two positions
on defense on the preseason depth chart. The native of Raiford, FL who
was a high school teammate of C.J. Spiller, started 10 of the 13 games at
defensive end last year and had 34 tackles, including three tackles for loss.
This year, with the return of Ricky Sapp off the injury list, and in an
effort to get the top 11 players on the field as much as possible, Alexander
will split time at the SAM linebacker and defensive end. He is a co-starter
For his career, Alexander has played in 39 straight games and
has 82 career tackles and five tackles for loss ,including two sacks. His
brother Bennie was a cornerback at Florida.
Five Graduates on Clemson Roster
Clemson has five graduates on the roster for 2009. Those
players are Sadat Chambers (saf), Chris Chancellor (CB), Thomas Austin
(OG), Durrell Barry (TE), and Kyle Johnson (WR). Many other seniors on
the roster are slated to graduate in December. The list includes running
back C.J. Spiller who needs to pass four courses to graduate in December.
Spiller was first-team Academic All-ACC last year.
Clemson has had a strong academic performance in recent
•This past year 27 football players were on the ACC academic
honor roll, the most in school history.
•Five Tigers were on the Academic All-ACC team, second best in
•Forty-four of Clemson's 96 players on the roster in the spring of
2009 made the academic honor roll, an all-time record for one semester. It
was also the most selections among all sports at Clemson.
•The team GPA was 2.61 for that semester, second best on
record for a Clemson football team.
•13 players on the roster were on the Dean's List for the second
•All 20 seniors on the 2006 Clemson team have their degrees
from Clemson. All but two seniors from the 2007 team have their degrees,
and all but two of the seniors from the 2008 team have their degrees.
Tigers Have Nine Straight Winning Seasons
With its win over South Carolina in the final 2009 regular-season
game, Clemson clinched its ninth consecutive winning season.
The streak goes back to 2000 when Clemson was 9-3. The last
non-winning season was 1999, Tommy Bowden's first year when Clemson
was 6-6. The last losing season was 1998 (3-8).
Entering 2008, Clemson was one of 16 teams who had a winning
season every year of the 21st century. Two of the 16 (Auburn, Michigan)
dropped off the list after 5-7 and 3-9 seasons, respectively. In 2008, Southern
Mississippi won its last five games, including a bowl victory, to improve to 7-6
and keep its streak alive.
The 14 schools who have had a winning season every year of this
decade are Boise State, Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Florida State,
Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisiana State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern
Mississippi, Texas, Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech. As you can see, five of
the 14 on the list are from the ACC.
NOTES: Middle Tennessee at Clemson
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