2009 Gator Bowl

The 2009 Gator Bowl was played on January 1, 2009, as part of the 2008 College Football season. It featured the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who finished tied for first in the Big 12 Conference's North Division with Missouri, and the Clemson Tigers, who finished fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division. Nebraska scored 16 unanswered points to beat Clemson after being down 21–10 in the third quarter. This game was the first meeting between the Clemson Tigers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers since the 1982 Orange Bowl where Clemson defeated Nebraska for their first national title. This was the second game between both schools with Nebraska evening up the record.

The Gator Bowl is an annual college football bowl game that is played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. It is one of the oldest college bowls, held continuously since 1946. This edition's full name was the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl after its sponsor, Konica Minolta.

2009 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
Nebraska Cornhuskers Clemson Tigers
(8–4) (7–5)
26 21
Head coach: 
Bo Pelini
Head coach: 
Dabo Swinney
1234 Total
Nebraska 03203 26
Clemson 01470 21
DateJanuary 1, 2009
StadiumJacksonville Municipal Stadium
LocationJacksonville, Florida
MVPJoe Ganz, (QB, Nebraska) & DaQuan Bowers (DE, Clemson)[1]
FavoriteClemson by 1.5
PayoutUS$2.5 million per team[2]
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCraig Bolerjack, Steve Beuerlein, and Dan Fouts
Nielsen ratings4.1


The Gator Bowl has tie-ins from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 Conference, and Big East Conferences, as well as independent Notre Dame. They have the right to the third pick of a team from the ACC, and have the option to offer the other spot to the second pick from the Big East, the fourth pick from the Big 12, or Notre Dame. The 2009 game featured the ACC's Clemson Tigers, who finished the 2008 season with an overall record of 7-5 (4-4 in the ACC) playing the Big 12's Nebraska Cornhuskers, who finished the 2008 season with an overall record of 8–4 (5–3 in the Big 12). Clemson went to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2007, while Nebraska did not qualify for a bowl game.


University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers

Nebraska opened up the season with 3 straight wins against Western Michigan, San Jose State, and New Mexico State. Bo Pelini's arrival saw a renewed interest and optimism in Nebraska football, as evidenced by their record Pay-Per View buys. Nebraska then proceeded to lose a close game to Virginia Tech, while getting beat by Missouri the next week. Hitting the road for the first time of the season, the Huskers lost to Texas Tech in overtime. Then the Huskers traveled to Ames, Iowa and beat Iowa State University in a dominant fashion. They came back home and won against the Baylor Bears. Pelini's Huskers then lost on the road the following week to the Oklahoma Sooners. This game marked the first time Pelini went up against Bob Stoops who he formerly worked under as defensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma in 2004.

On November 8, Bo Pelini's Nebraska Cornhuskers won against Kansas, making them bowl eligible, something his predecessor, Bill Callahan, was able to accomplish only twice in four years. On November 28, 2008, the Cornhuskers faced the Colorado Buffaloes. This game proved to be a close one, with Nebraska getting win #8, 40–31 with the help of a school record 57 yard field goal by Alex Henery and an interception by Ndamukong Suh which was run back for a touchdown. This victory tied Nebraska with Missouri for first in the Big 12 North, although Missouri represented the division in the conference championship game because of its tie-breaking, head-to-head win over the Huskers.

Clemson Tigers

The season started with head coach Tommy Bowden, who resigned six games into his tenth season with a 3-3 record in 2008. The interim head coach Dabo Swinney took over the team and had a 4-2 record going into the Gator Bowl.[3]


2009 Gator Bowl
The game during a timeout.

After both teams traded punts throughout most of the first and second quarters, DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson scored on a 28 yard fumble return, with 4:52 in the second, after he batted down a pitch by Joe Ganz. The Cornhuskers battled back, and were able to tack on a 48 yard Alex Henery field goal with 1:10 left in the first half. Clemson was driving for another score before the half when Cullen Harper's pass was deflected and picked off by Nebraska. On the next play, Joe Ganz threw an interception right back to Clemson. Clemson capitalized with a 25 yard touchdown catch by Aaron Kelly with just 0:35 left in the half. Clemson took a 14–3 lead into halftime.

Quarterback Joe Ganz drove the Huskers the length of the field on Nebraska's first possession of the second half, capping off with a 17 yard touchdown catch by Nate Swift to bring the Huskers within four. After Nebraska receiver Niles Paul botched the punt return, Clemson's Jacoby Ford caught a 41 yard touchdown pass to put Clemson up 21–10.

Nebraska struck back with Joe Ganz eventually finding receiver Todd Peterson from 17 yards out for a touchdown to bring the Huskers within four points of Clemson at 21-17. Nebraska's Blackshirt defense intercepted Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper on the next drive. The turnover led to an Alex Henery 28-yard field goal to bring Nebraska within one point at 21–20. Clemson went three-and-out on their next four drives while Nebraska managed two field goals to bring the score to a 26–21 Nebraska lead.

Despite the success of the Nebraska defense, Clemson held one more drive for a go-ahead touchdown. With no timeouts, Clemson converted on a third down and later a fourth down until they eventually drove down to the NU 10 yard line for a 1st & Goal situation. On 2nd & Goal, Nebraska cornerback Eric Hagg sacked Cullen Harper for 16 yards back at the NU 26. On 3rd & Goal, Harper found his tailback C.J. Spiller in the endzone, only to have the ball knocked from Spiller's hands by Cornhusker safety, Matt O'Hanlon. Facing a 4th & Goal, Harper threw an incomplete pass to end their drive, giving the ball back to Nebraska with no way to stop the clock. Nebraska kneeled on the ball three times, ending the game and giving the Huskers the 26-21 victory.

Scoring summary

Scoring Play Score
2nd Quarter
Clemson - DeAndre McDaniel 28 yard fumble return (Mark Buchholz kick), 4:52 Clemson 7-0
Nebraska - Alex Henery 48 yard FG, 1:10 Clemson 7-3
Clemson - Aaron Kelly 25 yard TD pass from Cullen Harper (Buchholz kick), :35 Clemson 14-3
3rd Quarter
Nebraska - Nate Swift 17 yard TD pass from Joe Ganz (Henery kick), 12:24 Clemson 14-10
Clemson - Jacoby Ford 41 yard TD pass from Harper (Buchholz kick), 10:06 Clemson 21-10
Nebraska - Todd Peterson 19 yard TD pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 7:54 Clemson 21-17
Nebraska - Henery 28 yard FG, 5:13 Clemson 21-20
Nebraska - Henery 28 yard FG, 1:40 Nebraska 23-21
4th Quarter
Nebraska - Henery 22 yard FG, 5:20 Nebraska 26-21


The Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini continued his perfect postseason record to 2-0. Pelini's 2008 regular season record of 9-4 was the highest among all 28 Division 1A teams with new head coaches and staffs that year.[4] Ndamukong Suh was named to the all Bowl team award.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-12-31.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2011-09-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Mark Schlabach, Bowden ousted at Clemson; coach 'deserved' to be fired, QB says, ESPN.com, October 13, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "THE RED, WHITE, GREEN AND VANILLA HUSKER SPRING GAME". Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  5. ^ 2008 Husker Honors
2001 Gator Bowl

The 2001 Gator Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Clemson Tigers at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on January 1, 2001. The game was the final contest of the 2000 NCAA Division I-A football season for both teams, and ended in a 41–20 victory for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech entered the game headed by star quarterback Michael Vick, who led the Hokies to a 10–1 regular-season record despite being injured for a part of the season. Clemson entered the game with a regular-season record of 9–2 under the command of head coach Tommy Bowden, who was in the second year of his tenure. The contest featured two high-scoring offenses that emphasized different aspects of the game. These aspects were exemplified in the game, which saw Clemson pass for more yards than Virginia Tech, while the Hokies ran for more yards than the Tigers.

Virginia Tech jumped out to an early lead and maintained it throughout the game. Vick had a 23-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive, then helped the Hokies expand their lead to 14–0 by the end of the first quarter. The Tigers narrowed Tech's lead to 14–10 in the second quarter, but the Hokies scored another touchdown before halftime and went into the second half with a 21–10 lead. Injuries knocked Clemson's two leading running backs out of the game, and starting Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler was removed from the game after he proved ineffective against the Virginia Tech defense. Despite these changes, the Tigers were unable to reduce Virginia Tech's lead, which stood at 34–13 at the end of the third quarter. A late Clemson touchdown moved the Tigers within two touchdowns, but Virginia Tech answered with a touchdown of its own, making the final score 41–20.

In recognition of his performance in leading his team to a victory, Vick was named the game's most valuable player. It was his final collegiate game, and four months after the Gator Bowl, he was selected with the first overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft. A handful of other players who participated in the Gator Bowl also were selected in the draft.

2008 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2008 Clemson Tigers football team represented Clemson University in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Tommy Bowden, who resigned six games into his tenth season. The interim head coach was assistant coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers play their home games in Memorial Stadium.

2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bo Pelini and played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

2009 ACC Championship Game

The 2009 ACC Championship Game was a college football game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Clemson Tigers. The game, sponsored by Dr. Pepper, was the final regular-season contest of the 2009 college football season for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Georgia Tech defeated Clemson, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, 39–34. However, Georgia Tech was forced to vacate the game victory and the conference title in 2011 due to sanctions stemming from an NCAA investigation.The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were selected to represent the Coastal Division by virtue of a 7–1 record in conference play and a 10–2 record overall. Representing the Atlantic Division was Clemson, which had an 8–4 record (6–2 ACC). The game was a rematch of a contest played September 10 in Atlanta. In that first game, Georgia Tech won a close 30–27 matchup.

The game was held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on December 5, 2009. Tampa had been chosen to host the game after poor attendance at the game's previous location, Jacksonville, Florida, led conference officials to seek an alternative. The 2009 championship was the last to be hosted in Tampa, as the game moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2010.

From the start of the game, the 2009 ACC championship had a large amount of offense. Throughout the contest, neither team punted: Every offensive drive ended in a score or a turnover. Clemson scored first, a touchdown on its opening drive, and held a 7–3 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Georgia Tech scored 13 points to Clemson's six, and the Yellow Jackets entered halftime with a 16–13 lead. They extended that lead in the third quarter, scoring 17 points to Clemson's lone touchdown and extra point. In the fourth quarter, Clemson closed the gap and took a 34–33 lead with 6:11 remaining, but Georgia Tech drove down the field and scored a touchdown with 1:20 remaining, giving the Yellow Jackets a 39–34 lead that was the game's final margin. In recognition of his significant performance despite the loss, Clemson running back C. J. Spiller was named the game's most valuable player.

By winning, Georgia Tech earned a spot in the 2010 Orange Bowl football game, and Clemson was selected for the 2009 Music City Bowl. Several players that participated in the ACC championship later played in postseason all-star games and were later selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Bo Pelini

Mark Anthony "Bo" Pelini (born December 13, 1967) is the American football head coach for the Youngstown State Penguins football team at Youngstown State University. He served as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers from December 2007 until November 2014. Prior to leading the football program at Nebraska, he was the defensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Crezdon Butler

Crezdon Butler (born May 26, 1987) is an American football cornerback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football at Clemson University. He was selected in the fifth round, with the 164th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a journeyman cornerback, Butler has been a member of eight NFL teams, including the Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions. In 2017, Butler joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.

Dabo Swinney

William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney (born November 20, 1969) is an American college football coach. He is the head football coach at Clemson University. Swinney took over as head coach for the Clemson Tigers midway through the 2008 season, following the resignation of Tommy Bowden. Swinney has led the Tigers to national championships in 2016 and 2018. He trails only Frank Howard for the most wins of a head coach in Clemson history.

Gator Bowl

The Gator Bowl is an annual college football bowl game held in Jacksonville, Florida, operated by Gator Bowl Sports. It has been held continuously since 1946, making it the sixth oldest college bowl, as well as the first one ever televised nationally. The game was originally played at Gator Bowl Stadium through the December 1993 game. The December 1994 game was played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville after the namesake stadium was demolished to make way for a replacement venue, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. That venue, now known as TIAA Bank Field, has been home to the Gator Bowl since the January 1996 game.

The game has been sponsored by TaxSlayer.com since 2012, and starting with the 2018 edition is officially known as the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. From 2015 to 2017, it was officially referred to as simply the TaxSlayer Bowl. Previous sponsors include Progressive Insurance (2011), Konica Minolta (2008–10), Toyota (1995–2007), Outback Steakhouse (1992–94), and Mazda (1986–91).

John Papuchis

John Papuchis (born April 23, 1978) is the former defensive coordinator for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels football team.

La'Donte Harris

La'Donte Harris (born August 13, 1986) is a former wide receiver for Clemson. He has served as the wide receiver & tight end coach for North Greenville University and Gardner–Webb University. He is currently the wide receiver coach & co-recruiting coordinator for the Mercer Bears.

List of Clemson Tigers bowl games

The Clemson Tigers college football team competes as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), representing Clemson University in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Since the establishment of the team in 1896, Clemson has appeared in 44 bowl games. Included in these games are 9 combined appearances in the traditional "Big Four" bowl games (the Rose, Sugar, Cotton, and Orange). Clemson's 24 bowl victories currently ranks as 12th all-time among college football programs for most bowl wins. The Tigers also rank 14th in most bowl appearances.

List of Clemson Tigers football seasons

The Clemson Tigers college football team competes as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, representing Clemson University in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Clemson has played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina since 1942. The Tigers have three national championship titles (1981, 2016 and 2018) along with a fourth national championship appearance in 2015. The Tigers have claimed 21 conference championships and have appeared in 39 postseason bowl games with an overall record of 20-19. With 703 wins over 120 seasons of football, Clemson ranks 34th all-time in win-loss records in the NCAA.

Marlon Lucky

Marlon Lucky (born February 28, 1986) is a former American football running back. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He played college football at Nebraska.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Nebraska Cornhuskers (often abbreviated to Huskers) are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The university is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Cornhuskers compete in NCAA Division I, fielding 22 varsity teams (9 men's, 13 women's) in 15 sports. Nineteen of these teams participate the Big Ten, while rifle is a member of the single-sport Great America Rifle Conference and beach volleyball and bowling compete as independents.

Early nicknames for the university's athletic teams included the Hawkeyes (now associated with the University of Iowa), the Antelopes (later adopted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney), the Old Gold Knights, the Bugeaters, and the Mankilling Mastodons. Cornhuskers first appeared in a school newspaper headline ("We Have Met The Cornhuskers And They Are Ours"), after a 20–18 upset victory over Iowa in 1893. In this instance, Cornhuskers was used to refer to Iowa. The first time the name was applied to Nebraska was in 1899, when Nebraska State Journal writer Cy Sherman, who would later help originate the AP Poll, began referring to Nebraska's football team as the Cornhuskers. The next year, the nickname was officially adopted by the school.For nearly 100 years, the Cornhuskers participated in the Big Eight Conference (previously known as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Big Six, and the Big Seven), and later for 15 years in the Big 12 Conference, which was formed when the Big Eight merged with four members of the defunct Southwest Conference. Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.

The Cornhuskers have two official mascots, Herbie Husker and Lil' Red.

Nebraska Cornhuskers football

The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represents the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Among the 128 Division I-FBS teams, Nebraska is one of ten football programs to win 800 or more games. Nebraska has more victories against Power Five opponents than any other program, as well as the fifth most victories all-time, behind only Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, and Alabama. Two of Nebraska's national championship-winning teams, the 1971 and 1995 teams, are listed by many as the best college football teams of all time.Nebraska claims 46 conference championships and five national championships: 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997. The titles in the 1990s marked the first time that a team won three national championships in four seasons since Notre Dame in 1946–49, and one of only three instances a team has won back-to-back consensus national titles. Nebraska has won nine other national championships that the school does not claim. They are the only school with five or more national championships to not have a loss in any of their title seasons.

Nebraska has had five undefeated seasons in which they were not national champions: 1902, 1903, 1913, 1914, and 1915. Between 1912 and 1916, the Cornhuskers played 34 consecutive games without suffering a loss.Famous Cornhuskers include Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch. Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was voted the Nebraska "Player of the Century" in 1999. Rozier, who holds the all-time NCAA record for yards per carry, was likewise inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Other Cornhusker players and coaches who are Hall of Famers include: Forrest Behm, Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Sam Francis, Tommie Frazier, Rich Glover, Wayne Meylan, Bobby Reynolds, Dave Rimington, George Sauer, Will Shields, Clarence Swanson, Ed Weir, Grant Wistrom, and coaches Gomer Jones, Pete Elliott, Francis Schmidt, Dana X. Bible, Bob Devaney, Biff Jones, Tom Osborne, Eddie N. Robinson and Fielding H. Yost.Since June 11, 2010 the University of Nebraska has been a member of the Big Ten Conference, previously affiliated with the Big 12. They are grouped in the Big Ten West Division, along with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

TIAA Bank Field

TIAA Bank Field is an American football stadium located in Jacksonville, Florida, that primarily serves as the home facility of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). The stadium opened in 1995 as Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on the site of the old Gator Bowl Stadium (erected 1927), and included some portions of the older stadium. Located on the St. Johns River, it sits on 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land in downtown Jacksonville.

In addition to hosting the Jaguars, the stadium is also regularly used for college football, concerts, and other events. It is the regular site of the annual Florida–Georgia game, a college football rivalry game between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia. The stadium is also the home of the annual Gator Bowl, a post-season college bowl game. Additionally, the stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 and is one of the venues used by the United States men's national soccer team.

From 1997 to 2006, the stadium was named Alltel Stadium after communications company Alltel purchased naming rights. The facility was renamed EverBank Field in 2010, following the approval of a five-year, naming rights deal with the financial services company EverBank. The agreement was extended in 2014 for an additional 10 years. The Jaguars announced in February 2018 the stadium would be renamed TIAA Bank Field for the 2018 NFL season after EverBank was acquired by New York-based TIAA.

History & conference tie-ins

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