National Champions

National Champions

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Clemson vs. Auburn Game Notes

Clemson vs. Auburn
Selected Game Notes
Clemson Sports Information Department
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Auburn has a 34-12-2 lead in the series with Clemson. Auburn had won 14 straight in the series prior to last year’s Clemson victory at Death Valley. Clemson had not won since 1951 prior to that.

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Two of the last three meetings between the two teams have gone to overtime, and Auburn has won both, 23-20 in the 2007 season Chick-fil-A Bowl and 27-24 at Auburn in 2010.

Clemson beat Auburn five times in six meetings under Head Coach Frank Howard from 1946-51. Included in that stretch was a 34-18 Clemson win in 1947 as Bobby Gage threw four touchdown passes and gained 374 yards of total offense, both single game records at the time.

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Auburn and Clemson first met in 1899 and Auburn came away with a 34-0 win at Auburn. That was just the 14th game in Clemson history. John Heisman coached Auburn in that game. Clemson won three of the next four, including a 16-0 win at Auburn in 1902. Clemson’s coach in that game was John Heisman. So Heisman gained wins for both teams in this series and both games were played at Auburn.

The two schools have met just four times since 1971, and two of those meetings took place in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Auburn won both of those close games, 21-17 at the 1998 Chick-fil-A bowl (1997 season), and Auburn won on New Year’s Eve of 2007 by a 23-20 score in overtime. That is Clemson’s only overtime game in a bowl contest.

In that 21-17 Auburn victory in the 1998 Chick-fil-A Bowl, Clemson gained just 146 yards of total offense, 60 rushing and 86 passing. Despite the offensive problems, Clemson had a 17-6 lead entering the fourth period. But, Auburn scored 15 points in the fourth period to gain the victory. Raymond Priester led Clemson with 19-62 rushing, but Nealon Greene completed just 11-26 passes for 86 yards. Clemson had just four first downs in the game, fewest in history for the Tigers in a bowl game.

Terry Bowden was the head coach for Auburn in that game in 1998. Two years later his brother came to Clemson as the head coach and coached against Auburn for Clemson in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl, a game won by Auburn in overtime 23-20.

Last year was Auburn’s first game at Clemson since 1970. That year Auburn beat Clemson 44-0 on Clemson’s Homecoming. After the game first-year head coach Hootie Ingram started his postgame press conference by asking, “Who is on the Homecoming Committee.”

Both Clemson and Auburn were among the top programs in college football in the 1980s. In fact, Clemson won 87 games in the 1980s and Auburn won 86. Clemson had the fifth best winning percentage in college football in that decade with an 87-25-4 record for a .767 mark. Auburn had the 10th best winning percentage wit ha 86-31-1 record, a .733 winning percentage.

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik was a graduate assistant coach on Danny Ford’s Clemson staffs of 1988 and 1989. The Tigers finished both seasons with a 10-2 record, and the 1988 team won the ACC Championship. Both teams finished the season in the final top 12 ranking, as the 1988 team beat Oklahoma in the Citrus Bowl and finished 9th in the final AP poll, and the 1989 team beat West Virginia and finished 12th in the final AP poll.

Clemson will open the 2012 season in Atlanta against Auburn and it will be Clemson’s fifth straight game away from home. This is the longest streak of games away from home since the 1964 season when Clemson played five straight away games during the regular season. That year Clemson played at NC State on Sept. 26, at Georgia Tech on Oct. 3, at Georgia on Oct. 10, at Wake Forest on Oct. 17 and at TCU on Oct. 24.

Clemson has won 21 of its last 27 season openers. That includes an 8-4 record the last 12 years when Clemson has played its most challenging season-opening games.

Clemson has a 2-5 all-time record in the Georgia Dome. Six of the seven previous games have come in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Clemson is 0-2 in the facility against Auburn, Chick-fil-A Bowl losses at the end of the 1997 and 2007 seasons.

Clemson first appeared in the Georgia Dome in 1993 and came away with a 14-13 win over Kentucky in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Clemson has 11 players on its roster from the state of Georgia. The list includes eight players who are on the two-deep, six of whom are defensive players. David Beasley (OG, Columbus, GA), Grady Jarrett (DT, Conyers, GA), Darius Robinson (CB, College Park, GA), and Corico Wright (LB, Milledgeville, GA) are all slated to start against Auburn. Vic Beasley (DE, Adairsville, GA) and Corey Crawford (DE, Columbus, GA) are co-starters at defensive end.

Clemson has one of the youngest teams in the nation with just 12 seniors on the roster, 11 of which came to Clemson as scholarship players. This is the fewest seniors on a Clemson football roster since 1999 when Tommy Bowden’s first team had just 10, including just six on scholarship.

The only other year in the last 30 that Clemson has had 12 seniors or less was in 1985 when Danny Ford’s team also had 12 seniors. The 1985 team finished 6-5 and the 1999 Clemson team finished 6-6.

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You can make the claim that this is the youngest Clemson team since 1944, This 2012 team also has just 13 scholarship juniors. Clemson’s 1944 team was completely made up of freshmen and sophomores as all upper classmen left campus for the armed services.