The Textile Bowl. It’s what the matchup between Clemson and North Carolina State has been known as since 1981.
The rivalry’s name is derived from the fact that Clemson and North Carolina State, at that time, had two of the largest university-level textile schools in the world. Factor in the textile industry’s historic importance in the economic development of both South and North Carolina and it was intended as a “good will” game of sorts. Of course, with the realities of the shrinking Textile Industry in America, it’s an all but forgotten title.
That’s only up until game time, then everything including, the woes of the textile industry, fades away. The rivalry is usually considered good-natured due to how similar the two universities are in terms of mission, academics, and fans.
However, today, this once “good-natured” rivalry has become a heated, passionately contested rivalry. These two ACC Atlantic Divisional rivals compete yearly on a home and home basis, except during last year’s COVID-19 Pandemic amended schedule.
In the inaugural meeting in November, 1899, Clemson A&M College defeated North Carolina A&M 24-O. Clemson leads the 88 game series 59-28-1. Clemson has won the last eight meetings, and 16 of the last 17. In the last game in 2019, Trevor Lawrence led the Tigers to the largest margin of victory, 55-10.
On that day, the customary postgame coaches exchange at midfield was interesting. To the amazement of all, Dabo Swinney’s outstretched offered handshake was ignored by Dave Doeren, who just happens to be 0-8 against Swinney.
That was just the latest episode in this heated “feud.” Other hallmark moments include accusations of sign stealing, laptops and hand towels. Trivial stuff, but no less true. Needless to say, such things adds a special flavor to each game. Who knows what spice will be add this year.
I am still shell-shocked remembering that 2016 game. On that day, Clemson simply couldn’t get out of its own way on offense but in the end, it didn’t matter. As precious time was ticking off the clock, NC State place kicker, Kyle Bambard went out to attempt a 33-yard field goal with three seconds left to seal, what Dave Doeren hoped to be his first signature win. He missed it wide right, sending the game to overtime.
The Tigers scored first in overtime, to go up 24-17. The Wolfpack had a chance to knock off a top-three team on the road for the first time since 1967 but a timely, almost scripted for TV interception by Marcus Edmond saved the day for the Tigers. That was also the game Wayne Gallman was knocked out cold by helmet to helmet contact, with Doeren boasting about it afterwards.
Fast forward to this season. Both teams will come into this game owning 2-1 records. The home field advantage goes to the Wolfpack, the potential talent of the Tigers, dwarfs that of the Pack but there is much more involved here than mere “paper talent.” If the Tiger offense can find it’s way through the darkness and with the stout defense, anything can happen.
A victory by either team makes the path to the Divisional championship much easier. The Tigers opened as a 12.5 point favorite, but that number had dropped to as low as 9.5 on Monday afternoon.
So, this Saturday’s 40th Textile Bowl could be one of the most important games of the season. Let’s all hope for the Tiger Team and Faithful, there’s lots of “Orange in the End zone.” That would be the perfect ending to the game and the beginning of a hopeful, new season.
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