Clemson-NC State: An underappreciated rivalry

Clemson-NC State: An underappreciated rivalry


Clemson-NC State: An underappreciated rivalry


The winner will receive the Textile Bowl Trophy

There is no mistaking who Clemson’s biggest rival is – it is the South Carolina Gamecocks. The two have been playing every year since 1909, the second longest uninterrupted series in the country and one of the nation’s oldest rivalries.

Florida State has taken over as the Tigers’ chief rival in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Of course, Georgia Tech is Clemson’s cross-divisional rival and Atlanta is just a two-hour drive down Interstate 85.

Though they don’t play them every year, the Georgia Bulldogs are the closest rival, from a geographical standpoint, the Tigers have. Clemson is just 73 miles from Athens, Georgia.

However, the most underappreciated rivalry the Tigers are involved in is the one that will be renewed on Saturday when No. 5 Clemson heads to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Wolfpack of NC State.

“It’s the Textile Bowl! You know?! I mean it just goes way back,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.

Actually, the series goes all the way back to 1899, Clemson’s fourth season playing college football. The Tigers beat NC State, 24-0, that afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Overall, Clemson has a 58-28-1 lead in the all-time series against NC State, including a 21-16 lead in road games at NC State.

The two have met 87 times on the gridiron and every year since 1971.

The game was not called the Textile Bowl until 1981, named affectionately enough because Clemson and NC State have two of the largest university-level textile schools in the world, and from the textile industry’s historic importance in the economic development of the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.

“We forget about that, there is a trophy being handed out after this game,” Swinney said. “It is somewhere around here. I guess we will load it up and take it up there. It is out of my lane, but I assume Abe (Reed), or somebody will grab the trophy and bring it. There is a trophy on the line, just like Boston College. There is a trophy on the line in that game.

“I think, that’s is kind of cool.”

Since it became known as the Textile Bowl, Clemson has won 28 times to State’s 10. Clemson has won the last seven games in the series and 14 of the last 15 overall.

The last time the Wolfpack beat the Tigers was in 2011.

But despite the Tigers’ dominance in the series, Swinney believes it is still a rivalry.

“NC State has been really good, too. Goodness gracious they have had some players. They have had a bunch of good players over these last several years,” he said. “I think Dave and them, do a great job. They are really truly a well coached team. They play tough. They play physical. Again, this is a team that is dangerous because they’re young and a little unpredictable, so you just don’t know.”

Clemson will attempt to earn its eighth consecutive victory against NC State to record the longest winning streak by either side in the all-time series. Prior to the current seven-game streak, Clemson’s longest winning streak in the series was seven games, set in 2004-10. NC State’s longest winning streak in the series is six from 1971-76.

NC State was Clemson’s nemesis from 1986-88. The Tigers won the ACC Championship each year under Danny Ford, but never beat the Pack in the process, losing all three seasons. It was the only loss for Clemson in the ACC in each of those years.

Memorable games between Clemson vs. NC State

  • 1948: Bobby Gage ran 90 yards on a punt return for the only score of the game in a 6-0 Tiger victory over the Wolfpack. It was the longest punt return in Death Valley until Jacoby Ford had a 92-yard punt return against Florida Atlantic in the opening game in 2006. It was a key win in Clemson’s undefeated 1948 season under Frank Howard.
  • 1967: Clemson painted its shoes orange for the NC State game in Death Valley and the Tigers upset the 10thranked Wolfpack, 14-6. Clemson clinched a tie for the ACC championship with the victory. Clemson painted its shoes orange because NC State had featured a defense that had worn white shoes during the season. It was the highest-ranked team Clemson defeated in Death Valley in the Frank Howard era.
  • 1991: Clemson wore purple jerseys for the first time since the 1940s in a 29-19 upset victory over NC State. NC State was undefeated and ranked 10th in the nation entering the game against Ken Hatfield’s Tigers. Nelson Welch kicked a then-record five field goals in leading Clemson to the victory. Clemson went on to win the ACC championship.
  • 1998: On Halloween at Clemson, NC State receiver Torry Holt completed an incredible day with a nine-yard scoring pass from Jamie Barnette with just 37 seconds left for a 46-39 NC State win. It was his fourth touchdown reception of the day, the most ever against Clemson. He had 225 yards receiving in that game.
  • 1999: NC State, behind then head coach Mike O’Cain, defeated Clemson in Raleigh, 35-31, in an exciting contest that featured 35 first-quarter points between the two teams combined, the most combined points ever in the first period of a Clemson game. Clemson had five possessions in the fourth period with a chance to take the lead but could not drive for a winning touchdown.
  • 2001: Woody Dantzler gained 517 yards of total offense, an all-time Clemson record at the time later broken by Tajh Boyd against NC State in 2012. Dantzler completed a career-best 23-of-27 passes for 333 yards and four scores and also rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns. It was arguably the best individual performance in Clemson history as he accounted for a then-ACC record six touchdowns.
  • 2007: James Davis rushed for 166 yards and C.J. Spiller added 114 in Clemson’s 42-20 victory in Raleigh. Both players had a touchdown rushing and receiving. At the time, the Tigers’ 608 yards of total offense was the most ever by Clemson in a road game.
  • 2009:J. Spiller accounted for touchdowns by passing, rushing and receiving to lead Clemson to a 20-point victory. Jamie Harper had a 69-yard touchdown run and Kyle Parker completed 12-of-18 passes for 183 yards and two scores.
  • 2010: Clemson came back from a 10-0 deficit to win 14-13 at Death Valley, keeping NC State from an ACC Championship game berth. Kyle Parker completed 20of-29 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. Nuk Hopkins had five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers. Clemson’s defense held NC State to 275 yards and 13 points, season lows for the Pack, which was led by current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson was 0-3 in his career against Clemson.
  • 2012: Clemson clinched its first 10-win regular season since 1981 with a 62-48 win over NC State at Clemson. The Tigers had a run of 42 consecutive points after trailing at one point, 24-13. The two teams combined for 1,351 yards and 110 points. Tajh Boyd threw for 426 yards and ran for 103, giving him a Clemson record 529 yards of total offense. Clemson gained 754 yards of total offense, second-most in Clemson history and just two yards from the school record. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon completed 29-53 passes for 493 yards, the second most passing yards in history against the Tigers.
  • 2016: NC State’s Kyle Bambard missed a 33-yard field goal on the last play of regulation that would have given NC State the upset. With the score tied at 17, Clemson scored a touchdown on its overtime possession on a 10yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Artavis Scott. Marcus Edmond then sealed the Clemson victory with an interception on NC State’s ensuing possession.
  • 2017: K’Von Wallace intercepted a Ryan Finley pass at the goal line on the final play of the game to secure the Tigers’ 38-31 win in a game that decided who would represent the ACC Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game. However, the game was known more for the antics of NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who kept swiping the towel of Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. In the post-game press conference, Doren accused Clemson of cheating when he was shown a picture of Clemson using a laptop. As it turned out, it was a student working on Clemson’s creative graphics team, who was posting something on Clemson’s social media accounts at the time.

–Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story



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