July 22, 2018

Top 5 Clemson Football games since 2000

Editor’s Note: Nic Mills is a senior PRTM major, student assistant with Clemson Athletic Communication, (formerly known as the Clemson Sports Information Department) and has a long family history of Clemson grads. Nic is also an intern with The Mickey Plyler Show and Out of Bounds on 105.5 The Roar each weekday morning. You can follow Nic on Twitter @mrnicmills.

This is a list that was  compiled from Clemson games played from the year 2000 on forward. I came up with a group of 18 games that were worthy of me considering for my top 5. These are the same top 5 that I have stated on my portion of the 2 minute drill with Mickey Plyler.

Things that I took into consideration were: it was Clemson win, the level of magnitude of the game, the score and how great of offensive and defensive productivity.

Now on to my list of the top 5 games from 2000 forward.

5) Clemson @ #10 Miami, 2009 – This game was big in terms of helping Dabo Swinney win his first Division title here at Clemson. The Tigers were 3-3 heading into this game and in need of a big win, this Miami team at the time fit that profile as they were #10 team in the country. The Tigers got a big performance from C.J. Spiller that day as he went for 310 (81 rushing, 104 receiving, 125 kick return) total yards. He had multiple 50+ yard touch downs, including a 90 yard KO return for a TD right before halftime. The game was a very exciting, back and forth slugfest that ended with Clemson on toSpiller Miamip after Kyle Parker hit Jacoby Ford on a post over the middle to win 40-37 in OT.

4) #6 Notre Dame @ #12 Clemson, 2015 – This game is still fresh on the mind of everyone that considers themselves a fan of Clemson. The greatest floods in the last 1000 years here in SC, at least some have called it that, yet apparently it only rained when ND had the ball according to ESPN and every other College Football “expert.” The Tigers dominated the first 3 quarters of this game and led 21-9 entering the 4th quarter. The Irish made a furious comeback in the 4th quarter but finished just short as a questionable 2pt conversion call of running Deshone Kizer came up a yard short, all the Tigers had to do was recover the on-side kick and the celebration would be on, they did. The Tigers outrushed ND in this game 212-111 and got the signature win to spring board the Tigers into the National Championship discussion. Clemson won 24-22.

3) #13 Georgia Tech @ #12 Clemson, 2006 – The first time that ESPN’s College Game Day came to the beautiful Bowman Field in Clemson, South Carolina. However the day would be remembered as much more, the day the Tigers wore solid purple, the birth of Clemson’s Thunder and Lightning, it was an all around good day to be a Tiger and I was fortunate enough to experience it in person. James J Ford ACC CGDavis (Thunder) rushed for 216 yards, CJ Spiller a true freshman went for 116 rushing yards but what he is most remembered for is the 50+ yard TD catch on a swing pass. The Tigers outrushed GT 321-88 but the most remarkable stat, holding Calvin Johnson without a catch, the only time that happened in his entire college career. Clemson won 31-7.

2) #3 Florida State @ Clemson, 2003 – The Tigers were coming off a blowout loss to Wake Forest, 45-17 blowout, it was bad. Tommy Bowden was clearly on the “hot seat” and it was time for Bowden Bowl 5, Papa Bowden had won the first four fairly easily, something needed to go right but not many people would have expected it to be starting that week. The Tigers handled FSU that night, signifying the beginning of a slow demise for Bobby Bowden and the FSU dynasty. This 26-10 Clemson win was the beginning of Tommy taking 4 out of the last 5 games in the Bowden Bowl history.

1) #4 Oklahoma vs #1 Clemson, CFB Playoffs, Orange Bowl, 2015 – Yes, the Tigers dominated the Sooners worse in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl, to the tune of 40-6 and that 6 coming on the backups but this game still wins that matchup of favorite games because of the stage, and also because it made it two years in a row. The Sooners were a trash talking bunch heading into this game which made it all the more satisfying. Gallman rushed for 150 yards with most coming in the second half and Watson rushed for 145 with the majority in the first half, it was quite the 1-2 punch for the Tigers. Over the last 8 quarters against OU, Clemson has outscored the Sooners 61-6 in 6 of the quarters, with OU winning the other 2 quarters 17-16. This is by far my favorite game of the last 16 seasons. Clemson won 37-17.

Honorable Mentions
10) Clemson at South Carolina, 2003, Clemson 63-17
9) #12 Clemson vs #7 Ohio State, Orange Bowl, 2013, Clemson 40-35
8) Clemson vs #7 Tennessee, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, 2003, Clemson 27-14
7) #20 Clemson vs #5 Virginia Tech, ACC Championship, 2011, Clemson 38-10
6) #5 Georgia at #8 Clemson, 2013, Clemson 38-35

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C.J. Spiller image: Chicago Sun Times

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