Thursday, November 8, 2012
Clemson embracing home-field advantage
By Heather Dinich
It seems as if every time Clemson takes the field in recent weeks it has set a record, and this week should be no different if the Tigers can beat an injury-laden Maryland team as many expect it to.
Clemson can set the school record for consecutive wins in Memorial Stadium with a win over the Terps on Saturday. Clemson has won 11 in a row at home, tying the school record for wins in Death Valley set between 1989-91.
Danny Ford and Ken Hatfield combined to win 11 straight home games between Oct. 21, 1989 and Sept. 28, 1991. The streak was stopped with a 20-20 tie against Virginia on October 12, 1991. Clemson went on to win the ACC championship that year. That is the only other time Clemson has won 11 in a row at Memorial Stadium, dating back to the 1942 season.
Dabo Swinney has led the Tigers to 11 wins in a row at home, which ties a school record.
Clemson currently has the third-longest home winning streak in the nation, trailing Northern Illinois (20), and Michigan (12).
“To be able to win this week and set that record to me [would] be something really special to be a part of,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “They've been playing here 117 years, and there's been a lot of good teams. To be a part of that type of record, that type of consistency, that's what you want in your program.
“In fact, when I got this job, one of the very first things I said to our team was if we're going to be a consistent program at Clemson, if we're going to take this program back to the top and be a national contender, we've got to win at home,” he said. “It starts at home, because we were very inconsistent. We've really been able to kind of create that culture here, and that starts with our players and our coaches. They've done a tremendous job.”
Clemson has put up some eye-popping numbers during its 11-game home winning streak. The Tigers have scored at least 31 points in all 11 games and at least 35 points in 10 of the 11. They have averaged 41.3 points a game and given up 23.8 for an average victory margin of 17.8 points per game.
The overall record for a home winning streak at Clemson is 12. The program won 12 straight at home between 1927-30, but those games were not in Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1942.
Clemson’s final three games of the regular season will be at home, as the Tigers host Maryland, NC State and South Carolina.
“Our fans have been incredible,” Swinney said. “They've brought a lot of life to Death Valley. The energy that they bring is awesome and gives us a great advantage every time we line up and play in that stadium.
“But our guys, they take a lot of pride in playing at home,” he said. “They take a lot of pride. And then we won four road games this year for only the second time in 15 years. Just trying to build consistency from a winning standpoint is what we're trying to do this year, and we've made good progress. So hopefully we can get that done and keep it moving forward.”