Clemson's 10 Best: Top Games Of 2000s


Without question, the decade of the 90s was filled with far more disappointment than triumphs for the Clemson football program. There were three different head coaches, just one ACC title, and only two bowl wins.

Under the guidance of Tommy Bowden, the decade of the 2000s would be full of high expectations. However, eventually, there would be more heartache than success. 

The big wins tended to be outweighed by the embarrassing losses, and by the end of the decade it had cost Bowden his job, and the young and charismatic Dabo Swinney to be hired in his place. 

Today we count down the 10 biggest wins of the decade of the 2000s. 

10. No. 25 South Carolina at No. 16 Clemson (2000)

After the Gamecocks had taken a 14-13 lead late in the game on a fluke fumble recovery in the end zone, Woody Dantzler would connect with Rod Gardner on a 50-yard pass play that gave Clemson a first down at the South Carolina eight-yard line with 10 seconds left. Aaron Hunt then hit a 25-yard field goal, giving the Tigers the 16-14 win and making Bowden 2-0 against the in-state rival. The controversial play is still a hot topic among the fan bases to this very day. Was it a push off or wasn't it? 

9. No. 19 Florida State at Clemson (2007)

On a Labor Day night in the season opener for both teams, Clemson would jump out to a 21-0 lead, before having to hang on for a 24-18 win. James Davis rushed for more than 100 yards and the Clemson defense held the Seminoles to just 256 total yards and to just 3-for-17 on third downs. It was Clemson's third straight win over FSU and would be the final edition of the annual Bowden Bowl. 

8. Kentucky at Clemson (2009 Music City Bowl)

In the final game of his collegiate career, C.J. Spiller had 172 all-purpose yards in a 21-13 win. It was Swinney's first career bowl win and the Tigers' first bowl win since 2005.

7. No. 17 Texas A&M at Clemson (2005)

After being embarrassed the season before in College Station, the Tigers got a school-record six field goals from Jad Dean in a 25-24 victory. James Davis rushed for more than 100 yards and the Clemson defense forced two A&M turnovers in the win. 

6. Clemson at No. 10 Miami (2009)

Kyle Parker threw for over 300 yards on the day, the last one being a 26-yard touchdown strike to Jacoby Ford to give the Tigers a 40-37 win in overtime. Clemson went on the road as a huge underdog and won on the road against a top ten team for the first time in eight seasons. 

5. Clemson at South Carolina (2003)

Charlie Whitehurst threw four touchdown passes and Chad Jasmin added four short touchdown runs, as Clemson went into Columbia and steamrolled the rival Gamecocks 63-17. Bowden's job status was a hot topic in the weeks leading up to the game and the win was a huge factor in the embattled coach eventually receiving a contract extension. 

4. No. 13 Georgia Tech at No. 12 Clemson (2006)

Clemson held the Yellow Jackets to just 205 total yards in a 31-7 win in a game that saw ESPN's "College GameDay" visit for the first time ever. James Davis rushed for more than 200 yards and C.J. Spiller had more than 150 total yards of offense in what was at the time one of Clemson's more dominant performances against top-25 competition.  

3. Clemson at No. 11 Miami (2004)

After trailing 17-3 at the half, the Tigers roared back for a 24-17 overtime win. Reggie Merriweather had a career high 114 rushing yards and scored three second half touchdowns, and Airese Currie hauled in seven catches for 128 yards in the upset win. 

2. No. 7 Tennessee vs Clemson (2004 Peach Bowl)

Chad Jasmin rushed for a career-high 130 yards as Clemson downed Tennessee 27-14 in the 2004 Peach Bowl. It was the Tigers fourth straight win to close out the season, and one of the biggest wins in Bowden's tenure at Clemson. 

1. No. 3 Florida State at Clemson (2003)

The Tigers were coming off a 45-17 loss to Wake Forest and were in desperate need of a big win. They would get it over the third-ranked Seminoles with an impressive 26-10 win in Death Valley that resulted in both goal posts being torn down. It was Tommy Bowden's first win in the Bowden Bowl and the Tigers would go onto to finish the season with victories over Duke, South Carolina, and Tennessee while saving Bowden's job in the process.

Comments (1)
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Christopher Hall
Christopher Hall

Clemson’s overtime win at Ga Tech was another classic. One of the most memorable calls On TV when I was younger. What a ball game that one was.