(Almost) Forgotten Clemson Bowl Games: Vol 4

1993 Peach Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky

This truly was a forgotten bowl game for me. I had started my nursing career in 1990 so I was a real working man. Thanks to YouTube and Wikipedia, I’ve recounted as best I can.

The 1993 Peach Bowl, held in the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta, matched up the No. 24 Tigers of the ACC and the Kentucky Wildcats of the SEC. Clemson entered the game at 8-3, Kentucky was 6–5 and unranked. The two teams last meeting had been in 1985, with Kentucky winning 26–7.

The game was basically a toss-up with Clemson being a mere 2-point favorite. Little did Tiger fans know, it was going to be a nail biter.

Kentucky fielded the opening kickoff and drove down field to the Clemson 2-yard line. Kentucky quarterback Pookie Jones threw a pass to receiver Alfonzo Browning and Browning stretched to put the ball across the goal line for a touchdown. Replays showed that Browning scored but this was before college football’s instant replay rule and the official ruling of a fumble stood. Clemson took over on its own 1-yard line and marched 99 yards (15 running plays, 3 passing plays) for a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Emory Smith and a 7–0 lead.

Kentucky was stopped again on the Clemson 1-yard line before scoring its first points in the second quarter on a 34-yard field goal.

After a scoreless third quarter. Kentucky took a 10–7 lead when Jones threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mark Chatmon. A 26-yard field goal gave Kentucky a 13–7 lead. Later, the Wildcats benefited from a 55-yard punt that pinned Clemson at its own 18-yard line. Quarterback Patrick Sapp then completed a screen pass to Emory Smith for a 57-yard gain.

With less than one minute on the clock Sapp threw an interception to Kentucky linebacker Marty Moore but Moore, instead of downing the ball so that the Wildcats could run out the clock, attempted a return and fumbled the ball away, with Clemson recovering. Sapp then threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Terry Smith and the PAT gave Clemson a 14–13 lead. With only 20 seconds remaining Kentucky took over on offense but could not advance past the Wildcats’ 40-yard line.

Watching the video, it was a fantastic game. Like a lot of things in life, these one kinda slips into the dark recesses of our minds. I chose this one, in particular because I, myself, had misplaced this one.

1999 Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl: Clemson vs. Mississippi State

This was the first bowl excursion under first year head coach, Tommy Bowden. Clemson was 6-5 and unranked and Jackie Sherrill’s No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs were 9-2. The summary below leaves you with a sense of what a defensive game it was.

After a scoreless first half, Mississippi State scored first on a 39-yard field goal, taking a 3–0 lead. In the fourth quarter, The Bulldogs scored on a 2-yard touchdown run increasing their lead to 10–0. Clemson’s Brandon Streeter responded with a 1-yard scoring run making it 10–7. Ultimately, Mississippi State scored on a 15 yard touchdown pass to seal the 17–7 win.

This would be the first of eight bowl trips Bowden’s team would make. Had it not been for infamous “2004 Brawl” against rival, South Carolina, he would have made it nine. The thoughts of that actual game are forgettable. Honestly It was a boring game. What was unforgettable? Those dang Cowbell’s ringing in the Georgia Dome. Geez…

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