Clemson will face off with LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Clemson and LSU last played in the 1996 Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson and LSU last played in the 1996 Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta

— Dueling Death Valleys.

Two Tiger Rags.

Two sets of Tigers.

It should make an interesting New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl made it happen Sunday, pitting No.9 LSU (10-2) and No.14 Clemson (10-2) in the Georgia Dome Dec. 31.

It is Clemson’s first trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl since 2007’s overtime loss to Auburn; the Tigers have participated in a pair of season-opening Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classics, losing to Alabama in 2008 and beating Auburn 26-19 to open this season.

“Our coaches, our players and our fans always look forward to playing against the best programs in the nation and LSU certainly fits that description. We are going to have the opportunity to compete against a top 10 team that played for it all last year,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement. “I know our players will be excited to compete against LSU because they are among the best programs in the nation on a yearly basis.”

LSU and Clemson have met twice all-time; LSU beat Clemson 7-0 in the 1959 Sugar Bowl and 10-7 in the 1996 Peach Bowl.

Clemson entered the weekend with an outside shot at a BCS bid despite a regular season-ending loss to South Carolina. However, fellow at-large candidate Oklahoma beat TCU and Mid-American Conference team Northern Illinois jumped both teams, finishing in the top 16 and ahead of Big East champ Louisville to grab the final at-large bid.

After Florida State won the ACC title, the Tigers were locked into the Chick-fil-A. It has the ACC’s first pick following the BCS, and at 7-1 in ACC play, Clemson had two more wins than any other eligible league team, meaning they couldn’t be jumped by anyone.

LSU was the national runner-up a year ago, and its only two losses this season came to No.1 Alabama and No.10 Florida.

“Les Miles is one of the top coaches in the nation. He has consistently competed for the national championship, including this year,” Swinney said. “They barely lost to Alabama, who is in the national championship game this year.”

The Georgia Dome will bookend Clemson’s season; five years ago, the Tigers’ Auburn and Alabama losses bridged the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

“We started the year in Atlanta on national television against an SEC Tiger team and we will finish the year in the same stadium on national television against an SEC Tiger team,” Swinney said. “It is a great opportunity for our program. “I have been to the Chick-fil-A Bowl many times before and it is one of the best bowls in the nation. Gary Stokan and his staff do a first-class job every year and we look forward to representing the ACC in this outstanding game.”

It shapes up as a battle of a high-powered offense against a stout defense. Clemson is No.6 nationally in scoring offense at 42.3 points per game, No.9 in total offense at 518.3 yards per game and No.13 in pass offense at 319.5 yards per game.

LSU has one of the nation’s best defenses, ranking No.8 nationally in total defense at 296.7 yards per game, No.11 in scoring defense at 16.9 points per game, No.9 in rush defense at 101.8 yards per game, and No.20 in pass defense at 194.3 yards per game.

The Bayou Bengals are led by defensive end and Greenwood native Sam Montgomery, who has seven sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Defensive end Barkevious Mingo has five sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss, while linebacker Kevin Minter has 111 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss; he’s a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player.

“Clemson is obviously a very talented team. Dabo Swinney has done a great job there. We look forward to a great matchup and a competitive game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl,” LSU coach Les Miles said in a statement. “We enjoy playing in Atlanta. It’s a great city that has been very good to LSU. I’m sure that we’ll travel extremely well. The Georgia Dome is an outstanding venue and we are excited about the opportunity to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.”

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Comments » 22

TigerNE writes:

This game will be won over strategy and play calling. Please, oh please, give Morris and Venables the wisdom and flexibility to make it happen.

For numbers folks like me: LSU has won in every appearance in the Peach/CFA bowl.

miketiger71 writes:

This is a bad matchup for the Tigers of Clemson. USC and FSU proved that strong defense beats good offense everytime. Our offense looks good against the cream puffs of the ACC however, the Baton Rouge Tigers are a different story. LSU will have a field day against our offensive line.

TigerNE writes:

in response to miketiger71:

This is a bad matchup for the Tigers of Clemson. USC and FSU proved that strong defense beats good offense everytime. Our offense looks good against the cream puffs of the ACC however, the Baton Rouge Tigers are a different story. LSU will have a field day against our offensive line.

You always play to your strengths and take your opponents strengths away. We didn't do that well vs SC, offensively. With LSU it will even be more important to keep the offense as mixed and versatile as possible - almost out on the edge. To simply play line-against-line is a death wish.

Defensively, we have working to our advantage that LSU is not Bama or last-half of the season UGA consistent. If Arkansas and Auburn can hold them at 20 pts or under, there is a lesson there.

Bigboots writes:

This morning, O & W says Vandy could be the opponent.
Nice call.
Missed it by inches.

TUN writes:

I hate to say it but this game could get very ugly very quickly. LSU has a punishing defense and a bruising rushing attack--two great weaknesses of Clemson. This is probably the worst match-up the Tigers could have gotten. What a total farce the BCS is. We, the Clemson Tigers, who did not win our division or conference, will be playing one of the best teams in the country while the team who did win the division and ACC championship will be playing Northern ILlinois! You've got to be kidding. The BCS is a total joke. If I were FSU, I would be outraged that we have to play NI. Texas A&M or UGA would have been infinitely better than NI. NI is not a worthy opponent. LSU on the other hand clearly is. I wish I were more optimistic. Until our guys can prove that they can win a big game against a big time opponent, this game will be ugly.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to Bigboots:

This morning, O & W says Vandy could be the opponent.
Nice call.
Missed it by inches.

From the story referenced: "Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated and ESPN are projecting Clemson to go against Vanderbilt in the Chick-fil-A Bowl"

In one afternoon, ESPN went from projecting Vandy to Texas A&M to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Weird weekend of bowl projections.

TigerNE writes:

in response to Bigboots:

This morning, O & W says Vandy could be the opponent.
Nice call.
Missed it by inches.

So, Bigboots, is YOUR call on the record???

Some people like to waste other's time my just sniping about the small stuff.

Lynx26 writes:

Welp, lets get back to summer camp..... By this I mean hit, hit, hit and run run run!

We have to match their Toughness at least a little bit!
cannot turn the ball over and take some chances.

Leggo Clem!!!

TigerNE writes:

in response to TUN:

I hate to say it but this game could get very ugly very quickly. LSU has a punishing defense and a bruising rushing attack--two great weaknesses of Clemson. This is probably the worst match-up the Tigers could have gotten. What a total farce the BCS is. We, the Clemson Tigers, who did not win our division or conference, will be playing one of the best teams in the country while the team who did win the division and ACC championship will be playing Northern ILlinois! You've got to be kidding. The BCS is a total joke. If I were FSU, I would be outraged that we have to play NI. Texas A&M or UGA would have been infinitely better than NI. NI is not a worthy opponent. LSU on the other hand clearly is. I wish I were more optimistic. Until our guys can prove that they can win a big game against a big time opponent, this game will be ugly.

A match against FL or UGA would have been worse from a defensive standpoint. LSU hasn't been as powerful as their size suggests all season. They are powerful against the rush, but mediocre for the SEC against the pass, for example.

33dtb writes:

Got a bad feeling.
Hope I'm wrong, but I don't think we have the "horses" up front on either side of the line of scrimmage.

smabrown writes:

No huddle, screens, & jet sweeps. This will keep the big line from pinning their ears back and maybe even keep them on their heels. Mix this all w/ some success w/ the long ball and we win. Not to mention this opening some holes to run in occasionally.It would help on kick offs to kick out of end zone if possible. Coverage is scary at best. Even a squib kick to the big guys up front would be smarter than kicking to a good return team. I think we win if we go fast and use the entire playbook and put our playmakers in space to use their skills.

TigerNE writes:

I'm with @smabrown. We have to NOT rely on beating their DL every play and really mix it up on the short field and the long.

beckel writes:

At least we won't have far to drive back home with our tiger tail between our legs!

TigerNE writes:

in response to beckel:

At least we won't have far to drive back home with our tiger tail between our legs!

Why bother going???? At least if you watch on TV you can turn off and save the fuel!!!!

brookesdad729 writes:

We are very capable of winning this football game, however if we play call like we did against SC, it's gonna be a long night. We have a lot of speed and we need to use it. Their offense isn't exactly world class and I think that our defense can hold it's own against it. That being said, we need to play like we haven't played this year! Go Tigers!

Bigboots writes:

in response to TigerNE:

I'm with @smabrown. We have to NOT rely on beating their DL every play and really mix it up on the short field and the long.

Oooh. Good one. That's the kind of analysis that make Lou Holtz slobber on his clip-on tie.
Short field and the long. Let me scratch that one down on a napkin.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

Will this bowl draw as big a crowd as the 2012 ACC Championship Game?

tw30241 writes:

I put it to you guys like this, if Morris wants a Head Coaching Job, this game will illustrate just how good of a Head Coaching Job he gets. In order to get a top notch job, he needs to soundly beat a top notch defense.

TigerNE writes:

in response to Bigboots:

Oooh. Good one. That's the kind of analysis that make Lou Holtz slobber on his clip-on tie.
Short field and the long. Let me scratch that one down on a napkin.

While you are scribbling you should go back and look at parts of the SC game if not the whole thing. Then take extra notes on mixing up short and long field play. That play calling was dismally one sided.

Bigboots writes:

in response to TigerNE:

While you are scribbling you should go back and look at parts of the SC game if not the whole thing. Then take extra notes on mixing up short and long field play. That play calling was dismally one sided.

I don't disagree as to the lackluster play-calling in the SC game. It was a huge letdown.
I just didn't realize that you were such a master of the obvious.
But, hey, great job.

Bleedsorange writes:

Hey I'm all for realism but really? LSU? Clemson by 13, there I said it.

f8thwlk writes:

Will everyone quit whining... We can play with anybody in the country! Which Tiger team is everyone pulling for. Clemson will win this game. You heard it here first!!!

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