The Tigers make their 31st all-time bowl appearance, meeting Nebraska in the 2008 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day. The 64th annual Konica Minolta Gator Bowl will be televised on CBS for the third straight year, starting at 1 p.m.
Clemson will make its ninth appearance in Jacksonville, where the Tigers are an even 4-4. This is Clemson’s first Gator Bowl appearance since 2000 when it lost to Virginia Tech 41-20.
Overall in bowl games, the Tigers hold a 15-15 record, ranking 18th for total bowl wins.
Clemson has faced Nebraska once in the postseason with a 22-15 win in the 1982 Orange Bowl to claim the Tigers’ only National Championship.
In the 1978 Gator Bowl, Clemson downed Ohio State 17-15 thanks to a Charlie Bauman interception with two minutes remaining. That game was made infamous when Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes then punched Bauman in the throat after he was tackled on the Buckeyes' sideline.
This year’s game marks the first bowl appearance for both Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. Tommy Bowden began the season as Clemson head coach, but stepped down after the Tigers started the season 3-3. Swinney was given the job on an interim basis, then given a contract at the end of the season when Clemson went 4-2 under his command.
The collegefootballpoll.com preseason forecast predicted a 3rd-place finish for Clemson in the Atlantic division, but the Tigers were the overwhelming favorite of other prognosticators to win the ACC title. By that measure, the 7-5 finish was extremely disappointing. However, a 31-14 home win over rival South Carolina to close the regular season helped restore smiles to the Clemson faithful.
The Clemson defense ranked ninth in the nation in pass efficiency defense by holding opposing QB's to a 100.03 rating. The Tigers led the ACC in passing offense (218.83) and scoring defense (16.58). Clemson was second in three other categories: pass efficiency defense (100.03), pass defense (167.25) and passing efficiency (128.47).
QB Cullen Harper ranked third in the league with a 134.28 passer efficiency rating and 191.4 yards of total offense per game. C.J. Spiller was the league’s leading all-purpose runner with 144.4 yards per game, placing him 24th in the nation. Michael Hamlin had 0.50 interceptions
per game, which placed him in a tie for third place in the ACC, and in a tie for fifth in the nation.
The Cornhuskers are making their 45th appearance in a bowl game, 31 of which have been on New year's Day or later. It's Nebraska's first trip to the Gator Bowl, but its 19th appearance in a bowl game hosted in Florida.
Last season, Nebraska missed the postseason for only the second time sine 1969.
The Cornhuskers concluded the season with an 8-4 overall record and a 5-3 mark in the Big 12. Nebraska lost to an ACC foe earlier on the season with a 35-30 decision to Virginia Tech.
Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz ranks 13th nationally in total offense with 299.08 yards per game and 14th in passing efficiency with a 156.72 rating. The Husker offense ranks 12th in scoring with 458.25 yards per game and 18th in scoring offense with 36.17 points per game.