It’s Game Day in Orlando where No. 3 Clemson battles Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Location: Camping World Stadium
Kickoff: 8:14 p.m.
Announcers: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder
2016 Record: Clemson 11-1, Virginia Tech 9-3
ACC/SEC Record: Clemson 7-1, Virginia Tech 6-2
Series History: Clemson leads the series 20-12-1
Last Meeting: Clemson won 38-12 in at Death Valley in 2012
Tigers Won Four in a Row in Florida
Clemson has won its last four trips to the state of Florida. That includes a 37-34 win at Florida State earlier this year, Clemson’s first win at FSU in 10 years. In 2015 Clemson won at Miami in the regular season 58-0 and defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, 37- 17. The Tigers closed the 2014 season with a 40-6 win over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, the same stadium the Tigers will meet Virginia Tech on December 3.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Series
Clemson has a 20-12-1 lead in the series with Virginia Tech. Clemson’s 23-3 victory on October 1, 2011 in Blacksburg ended Virginia Tech’s five-game winning streak in the series. Clemson had not defeated Virginia Tech since 1989 prior to the victory at Virginia Tech in 2011.
The Tigers then defeated Virginia Tech 38-10 in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, giving the Tigers two wins over the Hokies in the same year. It was the first and still only time Clemson defeated any team twice in the same year.
So after not defeating Virginia Tech since 1989, the Tigers outscored the Hokies 61-13 in the two games in 2011. Clemson then defeated Virginia Tech 38-17 in the regular season at Clemson in 2012 giving Clemson three straight wins in the series.
The two teams have not played since that 2012 meeting at Clemson, but they will play in Blacksburg next year.
Pearman Coached at Both Schools
Danny Pearman has worked for both teams in Saturday’s contest. Pearman is currently Clemson’s assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. The 1987 Clemson graduate is in his eighth year overall at Clemson as a full-time coach. He served as a graduate assistant at Clemson for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Pearman coached under Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech from 1998 to 2005. During that time the Hokies played in eight bowl games in eight seasons. That includes an 11-1 record in 1999 when they faced Florida State for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech won at least 10 games in five of those eight seasons, including 2004 when the Hokies won the ACC title and played in the Sugar Bowl.
Nine Tigers Named First-team All-ACC Nine
Clemson players, five on offense and four on defense, were named first-team AllACC by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association on November 28. Sixteen of Clemson’s starting 22 were named to one of the three teams or the honorable mention team. Eighteen Clemson players were honored on one of the three teams or the honorable mention team. The nine first team selections are the most for the program since 1991 when Clemson also had nine. The record is 10 set by the 1978 team that finished with an 11-1 record and a No. 6 final ranking in both polls.
Another 100-yard Game for Williams
Mike Williams had his fifth 100-yard receiving game of 2016 and ninth of his career in the win over South Carolina. Williams had six catches for 100 yards and three scores in that 56-7 win. He tied the Clemson record for touchdown catches in a single game against South Carolina and became the first Clemson receiver to have three touchdown receptions against the Gamecocks in the 114- game history of the series. With nine career 100-yard receiving games, Williams is third in Clemson history in that category. Sammy Watkins has the record with 15, while DeAndre Hopkins had 12. Rod Gardner, another first round draft choice, also had nine.
Clemson Has Faced Third Toughest Schedule
Clemson has faced the third most difficult schedule in the nation according to the NCAA, which takes into account the cumulative winning percentage of your FBS opponents when not playing you. Clemson’s FBS opponents are a combined 68-42 this year when not playing Clemson, a .618 winning mark. Only Tennessee and Ohio State have a higher percentage. Clemson’s percentage will go up after playing a 9-3 Virginia Tech team in the ACC Championship game.
Gallman Records Third 100-Yard Rushing Game vs. South Carolina
Clemson running back Wayne Gallman tied a Clemson record with his 112 rushing yards against South Carolina. The native of Grayson, Georgia became the second Clemson running back in history to record three 100-yard rushing games against the same school in a career. Gallman had 27 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina as a freshman, then had 19-102 in Columbia as a sophomore. He had 19 for 112 and a score this year against South Carolina, giving him 65 carries for 405 yards and two scores against the Gamecocks in his career, 6.2 per carry average. The only other Clemson player in history with three 100-yard rushing games against the same opponent was Kenny Flowers, who did it against Duke from 1983-85.
Clemson Looks to Become Eighth ACC Team with 12 Wins
Clemson enters the ACC Championship game with an 11-1 record. A victory would make Clemson just the eighth ACC team with at least 12 wins. Clemson became the seventh last year when it finished with a 14-1 record. Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team was the first ACC team to win 12 games in a season. Florida State did it five times between 1993 and 2014. The Seminoles actually had a streak of three seasons with at least 12 wins from 2012-14. They won a record 14 games (14-0) in 2013, then Clemson tied the mark last year. Pittsburgh and Miami had 12 win seasons previously, but they were not in the ACC at the time.
Robert – Clemson 49 Virginia Tech 21
Gavin – Clemson 34 Virginia Tech 21
Will – Clemson 31 Virginia Tech 27
Qualk – Clemson 45 Virginia Tech 30