Tiger Nation – it doesn’t get better than this. We are only a few days away from the holiday, and more importantly, the Orange Bowl! Clemson vs. Tennessee on December 30th is bound to bring us the shootout of the year, and we cannot wait. The Capital One Orange Bowl will live up to its name as both teams’ primary colors are, in fact, orange. However, there is speculation that Tennessee could come out with a “smokey gray” uniform, which would be quite cowardly of them if they attempt to rob us of the most orange Orange Bowl in history. Clemson would then start out with the edge on them by staying true.
But enough about the pageantry. It’s the game we are focused on. We still can’t believe we have to spend that week between Christmas and New Year pretending like this isn’t all that’s on our minds. In an attempt to ease this discomfort, let’s review the last time we played Tennessee in the 2003 Peach Bowl.
Peach Bowl 2003 Recap
What a coincidence – the last time we played Tennessee was also during the postseason in a bowl game named after a fruit. If history repeats itself, Tiger Nation will look to celebrate all-night going into New Year’s Eve this year. Another similarity to the 2003 Peach Bowl game and the one next week is that Tennessee came into to matchup ranked #7 in the nation, while Clemson was snubbed with a no-rank. Did that matter? Clearly not. Clemson outscored them in every quarter.
While Charlie Whitehurst had his best regular season that year out of his four in Clemson, the entire rush offense stepped up and got us a bowl game dub in style, including a late-game score on a fumblerooski. Dabo should really bring that back for old-time sake. After all, he was there as the wide receivers coach and witnessed it first-hand, even recently giving his endorsement of the play earlier this month, saying, “That was a great play in the game.”
Indeed it was, coach. Do it again. They’ll never see it coming. The play was so well-executed that it even faked out the cameraman.
Three total touchdowns and two perfectly placed field goals were enough to keep that team from Knoxville down and out. Chad Jasmin had his career high in rushing yards with 130, along with Duane Coleman and Kyle Browning getting in the endzone as well.
Besides this game from nearly twenty years ago, there really isn’t that much history between the two teams. In the last 50 years, Clemson and Tennessee have only met up three times, and two of them date back to the 70s. All-in-all, this matchup will be all about capitalizing on a Tennessee offense that’s lacking depth. With the Vols’ quarterback (who finished 5th in Heisman voting) out due to injury and a star wide receiver sitting out for the NFL draft, the Tigers’ defense has a favorable matchup on their hands. Only a few more sleeps until we wake up and see how this one will unfold.
See you in Miami, and go Tigers!