The name “Textile Bowl” conjures images of throwback football — an era of leather helmets, canvas pants and ground and pound attacks.
And while the annual gridiron showdown between Clemson and North Carolina State pays homage to the industry that helped the states of South Carolina and North Carolina to grow from acorns to oaks, recent history suggests this rivalry is more of a modern thrill than old time mill.
Last year, the teams put up Arena League numbers in Death Valley, with Clemson overcoming a 21-13 first quarter deficit to take a 41-24 lead at the half.
By the time the fans had exited Memorial Stadium (and turned in their oxygen masks to the ushers), the Tigers were the proud owners of a 62-48 victory, one that saw Dabo Swinney’s bunch run 102 plays and rack up 745 yards of total offense.
Considering the teams combined for 1,351 yards and 110 points last November, Thursday night’s game in Raleigh has a tough act to follow.
But this is a series that skews heavily in favor of wide-open offense.
There was a 14-13 Clemson win in 2010 and a 27-9 Tiger victory in 2008, but for the most part the teams are each going to hit double digits and usually light it up for 50 or more points combined.
Last year’s triple digit affair is the most extreme example, but there are plenty more “defense-optional” tilts.
Clemson 45, N.C. State 37 in 2001; N.C. State 35, Clemson 31 in 1999; N.C. State 46, Clemson 39 in 1998.
Glancing back at all 81 meetings, it becomes apparent that once college football moved into the 1970s, offense took over the Textile Bowl.
And rest assured there will be points aplenty tomorrow night at Carter-Finley Stadium. The only question going into the ACC opener for both teams is whether or not the Wolfpack can keep pace with the Tigers.
True, N.C. State averages 31.5 points and 212.5 rushing and 280.5 passing yards per game, which is not too shabby.
And Dave Doeren’s team is 2-0.
The Pack is 2-0 against Louisiana Tech and Richmond, and had to kick a long field goal with 33 seconds remaining to defeat the Football Championship Subdivision Spiders 23-21.
The Tigers, of course, opened in grand style with a 38-35 victory against Georgia, followed that up with a controlled scrimmage against South Carolina State, and hasn’t had to knock heads since Sept. 7 — although practices leading up to game 3 have been intense.
It always is good to have a fresh team; it’s better to have a fresh team that features Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Hot Rod McDowell and an offense that can score early, often and from anywhere on the field.
On the other hand, N.C. State will have the home-field advantage, its offensive attack can rack up yards and points with a smooth blend of runs and play-action, and one can even make the case that the visitors will be a bit rusty after such a long, early layoff.
Believe that if you will.
In all likelihood, the rust will chip away in no time flat and the scoring will begin almost as quickly.
This Textile Bowl will see a lot of points and yardage wove into 60 minutes — even if it’s the Tigers providing most of the craftsmanship.