Dabo Swinney has plenty of fond memories of the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry game during his time at Clemson. Not just as a head coach but from his time as an assistant, as well.
Of all those high points, though, none stand out more so than the very first one in 2003, when he was a young assistant under then head coach Tommy Bowden. The Tigers beat the Gamecocks that night 63-17, which still stands as the most points scored by either team in the series that stretches back more than a century.
“I’ve got a lot of good memories, none better than my first one, that’s for sure, in ’03,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “That was a great memory. I think it was at night. I can’t really remember, to be honest with you.”
Another one that stands out was in 2005, when Clemson knocked off the Gamecocks 13-9 in Williams Brice, overcoming a lot of late adversity to get the victory.
“I remember we made a game-winning kick down there,” Swinney said. “I remember coaching the receivers. We overcame a first-and-35, and we had to hit some big plays. I remember a big fourth-and-4 that we had to convert, and we hit Aaron Kelly on a slant. A great release, technique, and that was a huge play in the game to keep us alive, and then we went on to score. I remember hitting Curtis Baham on a third-and-long one time, on a game-winning drive.”
However, Swinney also remembers some of the low points, including the Tigers five game losing streak early on in the head coach’s tenure. Something he understandably doesn’t like to spend much time harping on.
“I’ve got a lot of great memories,” Swinney said, reflecting on his experiences at Williams-Brice. “I’ve got some bad ones, too. So, appreciate you not asking about those.”
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