Some of Dabo Swinney’s best moments as a fan, player and coach have come against Auburn.
Of course the Alabama native grew up despising Auburn. Growing up just minutes away from Birmingham in a small town called Pelham, Swinney was as big of an Alabama fan as one can find.
He wore his Alabama hats and T-shirts all the time, anything to show his loyalty to the Crimson Tide. During Alabama-Auburn week, when he was in the fifth grade, Swinney wore a big Alabama cowboy hat to class and had one of those foam fingers that showed who he thought was No. 1 in his home state.
Swinney, whose third-ranked Clemson Tigers will face No. 13 Auburn tonight in Death Valley, remembers that day well because his principal pulled him out of class to parade around the halls.
“Me and another (kid) got the chance to go through all the … it was great because I missed a lot of school,” Swinney recalled. “I got a chance to go through the whole school yelling, ‘Roll Tide!’ to everyone and having some fun. Those were good moments.
“That was a lot of fun back in those days. All you had was just the normal TV coverage so it was a big deal to watch the game and go harass your friends or hide from them depending on the outcome.”
Swinney has not had to hide too much when going against Auburn, though. As a player at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won all three games he played in. His first was in 1990.
“Playing in them are my greatest memories and my first one was in 1990.That was a special moment,” Swinney said.
Swinney’s first big win as a head coach came against Auburn in Death Valley in 2011, when the SEC Tigers rode into Death Valley as defending national champions and had a 17-game winning streak. But led by Tajh Boyd, Dwayne Allen and Deandre Hopkins, Clemson won the game 38-24, the beginning of Clemson’s current run, which includes six straight 10-win seasons, three ACC Championships, two College Football Playoff appearances and of course last year’s national championship.
Clemson has since won two more over Auburn with Swinney as head coach. Clemson opened the 2012 season with a 26-19 victory in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic and then beat the SEC Tigers in Auburn for the first time since 1951 in last year’s season opener.
Overall, as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Swinney is 10-6 against Auburn.
In Clemson‘s four games against Auburn with Swinney as head coach, the Tigers have averaged 27 points per game. More impressively, the Tigers have averaged 85 plays for 490 yards in the four games. It breaks down to 48 rushes for 224 yards and 23-for-36 passing for 266 yards per game.
Clemson has averaged 27 first downs the last four games against Auburn as well.