(Almost) Forgotten Clemson Bowl Games: Vol 6

2005 Sports Champs Bowl: Clemson vs. Colorado

After the untimely death of my parents, I didn’t attend The 2005 Champs Sports Bowl, in Orlando, Florida. I’m not sure I was even aware of this matchup but here’s an impersonal recap.

It was the 16th edition to the bowl and was played on December 27, 2005, featuring the Clemson Tigers and the Colorado Buffaloes. James Davis, Clemson’s star running back was the Most Valuable Player of the game.

The Buffaloes were 7–2 at one point, losing only to No. 12 Miami and No. 2 Texas. Colorado won the Big 12 North, and faced off against Texas in the Big 12 Championship, where they were soundly defeated by eventual BCS Champion Texas 70–3.

Colorado head coach Gary Barnett had survived a recruiting scandal and a suspension following derogatory remarks about a female kicker, who claimed she was raped by a teammate in 2000. However, the losses to Miami, Iowa State, Nebraska and the second Texas drubbing ultimately led to his forced resignation. Three weeks prior to the bowl, Barnett resigned. For the game against the Tigers, the Buffaloes were coached by defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

Meanwhile, Clemson began their season with a win over No. 17 Texas A&M at home, with a win over Maryland the following week. However, they lost their next three games (including one to No. 13 Miami) before a win over NC State righted the ship. They lost only once more, to Georgia Tech, for the rest of the season, closing out the year with wins over No. 17 Florida State and No. 19 South Carolina. They finished second in the ACC Atlantic behind Florida State and Boston College, the latter who Clemson had lost to during the skid.

Clemson scored first with a 26 yard field goal by Jad Dean, making it 3–0 in the opening moments. Colorado’s Mason Crosby answered with a 36 yard field goal, tying it at 3. Clemson’s Jad Dean kicked another field goal, an 18 yarder, giving Clemson a 6–3 lead. That score held up at half-time.

In the third quarter, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst scored on a 5 yard touchdown run, increasing the lead to 13–3. In the fourth quarter, Colorado scored on 2-yard TD pass, cutting the margin to 13–10. James Davis added a 6 yard touchdown run to make the final margin 19–10, Clemson.

2009 Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky

The 2006 Music City Bowl featured the Clemson Tigers and the Kentucky Wildcats. Clemson entered the game with a record of 8–4 after having been ranked in the AP poll for most weeks of the season, and as high as No. 10. Kentucky was 7–5 and unranked. Clemson was favored by 10 points. My sister lived in Nashville at the time so, I was very familiar with the city. I knew a lot about the venue and like a homing pigeon, I found the Wild Horse Saloon. Now, that’s a place!

Here’s a recap of this exciting game.

Micha Johnson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give Kentucky a 7–0 lead. Clemson quarterback Will Proctor then fired a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Durrell Berry but the extra point missed, Kentucky still led 7–6. Kentucky quarterback Andre’ Woodson found wide receiver Demoreo Ford for a 70-yard touchdown pass with 2:14 left in the half to take a 14–6 lead.

In the third quarter, Woodson found Dickey Lyons, Jr. for a 24-yard touchdown pass and a 21–6 lead. In the fourth quarter, Woodson threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tammy for a 28–6 lead. Will Proctor threw a 17-yard touchdown pass with 7:25 left, to get within 28–12. The 2-point conversion attempt failed. With 44 seconds left, Will Proctor threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Aaron Kelly. The 2-point conversion attempt to Michael Palmer was good, and Clemson trailed 28–20. The onside kick was recovered by Kentucky, who ran out the clock.

It was among the closest, most exciting of the (almost) forgotten bowls, even in defeat.Nashville was a wonderful, different bowl venue and my party had a very nice time. Oh, yea, that Wild Horse Saloon was awesome and man, did we love that place!

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