‘I am Death Valley’


In hopes to make people more aware and to help with research in finding a cure for breast cancer, Kathleen Swinney opened her husband’s weekly press conference on Tuesday announcing this Saturday’s Homecoming Game against NC State will be Clemson’s annual “Think Pink Game” in the fight against a disease that has taken her sister and her uncle way too soon.

Clemson, currently ranked No. 3, will wear special pink Nike gear during the game, while she asked fans to help the Swinney’s All-In Foundation with the efforts by either wearing special pink shirts and custom-designed Tiger Breast Cancer Awareness Pins.

However, Kathleen finished by asking men who don’t like to wear pink to go out and buy a new shirt, an orange one, that says, “I am Death Valley” as the proceeds will also go towards the All-In Team Foundation and the research to find a cure.

“I love that (shirt). I have not seen that until today,” Dabo Swinney said. “I think that is great because our fans are Death Valley. There is no Death Valley without our fans. The standard has kind of been set high here.”

That standard, in large part due to the fans, is now the nation’s longest home winning streak, which is currently at 19. The Clemson fan base has always been known for its ability to affect the game, but that was never more evident than in the Tigers’ victory over Louisville on Oct. 1.

The Cardinals offensive line jumped offside five times in the game, while quarterback Lamar Jackson was called for a delay of game penalty as well. The biggest penalty came with 40 seconds left when their right guard moved early with the ball at the Clemson 9-yard line on fourth down. The five-yard penalty changed Louisville’s play call and resulted in the Cardinals coming up a yard short of the first down, securing the Tigers’ six-point victory.

Swinney pointed out, especially to those people that are not happy about Saturday’s noon kick, that the fans make a big difference in big-time games, which is how the Clemson head coach described Saturday’s showdown with NC State.

“I know there are some people out there that are not happy with us playing a noon game, but we don’t have any control of that,” Swinney said. “Sometimes I think people don’t understand that. I love night games, too, but we don’t have any control of that. That’s what I tell our players. We have to play great whenever we play. Whether we play at noon, three, eight, nine or one in the morning, we have to play great. That is what we are supposed to do.

“I would say the same thing to our fans because they make such a huge difference. I mean a huge difference. We started the game out against Louisville with two penalties in a row, I mean right out of the gate.”

So Swinney’s message to the fans this week is to go out and buy “I am Death Valley” T-shirts and then have their butts in their seats by the time the Tigers’ run down the hill.

“That same fervor and intensity and will to win and spirit that we had at midnight against Louisville, we need at noon against N.C. State,” he said.  “It’s a huge game. It’s a battle for first place in our division, and gives us an opportunity to try to get to 7-0 and stay on course for our next goal, which is win the division so we have an opportunity to play in the ACC championship game.

“We don’t get many home games, so I want to challenge the fans… Let’s show up, let’s be ready. Let’s get up, eat a biscuit and be ready to roll at high noon.”

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