The last time second-ranked Clemson played in front of its own fans was on November 21, 2015. On that afternoon, the Tigers took down Wake Forest on its way to an ACC Championship and the College Football Playoff Championship Game.
Since the Wake Forest game, Clemson has played five games away from the friendly confines of Death Valley, including last week’s win at Auburn to open the 2016 football season.
“It is great to be home. That is the biggest thing that I can say about this week,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers (1-0) will host Troy (1-0) in their home opener today at 12:30 p.m.
“We have played five games away from Clemson and that is a lot of games without playing a home game. I didn’t really think about it until I was told that last week,” Swinney said. “The other thing I am proud of our team is we have gone 4-1 in those games. You are talking about South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Auburn. These are some great programs. It is good to be back home.
“I am so excited to be in Death Valley and open this place back up for business.”
Clemson has won 16 straight games at home, and 33 of their last 35. Swinney’s teams are 46-6 all-time in Death Valley.
“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable playing here. It’s just a home feeling. I feel like I’m home,” Clemson safety Jadar Johnson said.
Though the Tigers are the main attraction and they spend all week practicing, Swinney says the best part about the first home game is watching everyone around Clemson getting the stadium and the campus ready for the more than 85,000 that will be making its way to Tigertown today.
Clemson is expecting a sellout.
“I love watching everybody work, and everybody doing their part to make this such an awesome venue,” Swinney said. “They’ve been putting the flags up, people cleaning the stadium, or just getting everything ready.
“There is so much that goes into the game day experience, because it is an experience at Clemson. People from the traffic control, to the parking, to just game day event management, it is a daunting task so that everyone can do what they love to do and that is come spend a weekend in Clemson with their family and friends and see the Tigers play. I am just pumped up to get it going again.”