2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
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The 2008 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff took place on August 30, 2008, in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first game of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game series. The game featured the No. 9Template:Ref label Clemson Tigers and the No. 24Template:Ref label Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide quickly took control of the game, scoring on their first three possessions en route to a 34–10 rout of the Tigers. Led by defensive MVP Terrence Cody, the Crimson Tide defense held Clemson's highly touted running game to zero total yards.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team was led by second-year head coach Nick Saban. In his first season, the Crimson Tide went 7–6, losing their final four regular season games, as the team won the 2007 Independence Bowl over Colorado. During the offseason, rivals.com gave the Crimson Tide the #1 recruiting class, headlined by wide receiver Julio Jones.
The Clemson Tigers football team entered at 4.5 point favorites over the Crimson Tide. Clemson was led by head coach Tommy Bowden who was in tenth season as head coach of the team. In their 2007 season, the Tigers finished with a 9–4 record, which ended with a 23–20 overtime loss in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl to, Alabama's rivals, Auburn. Clemson entered the game with running backs James Davis and C. J. Spiller, who were referred to as "Thunder" and "Lightning" respectively.
The Clemson Tigers, the preseason favorite to win the ACC, were favored going into the season opener at the Georgia Dome. Some believed that the Crimson Tide's youth and inexperience would prove a serious disadvantage against an experienced team like Clemson. However, Alabama quickly took control in what would eventually be a lopsided victory. By the end of the first quarter, Bama led 13–0, and they extended their lead to 23–3 by halftime. The only scare came when C.J. Spiller returned the second half kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. However, the Tigers failed to score again. James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for only 20 yards on the ground, while the team's rushing total was 0. Clemson's redshirt senior quarterback, Cullen Harper, completed 20 of 34 passes but had no touchdowns and one interception. Alabama's John Parker Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes with no interceptions. He threw two touchdowns to Nick Walker and Julio Jones, and rushed for one himself. The Crimson Tide Tide went on to win by a score of 34–10.
|1||09:43||10 plays, 27 yards||5:17||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 54–yard field goal||3||0|
|07:01||6 plays, 27 yards||2:20||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 21–yard field goal||6||0|
|02:51||7 plays, 46 yards||2:24||Alabama||John Parker Wilson 1–yard rushing touchdown, Leigh Tiffin kick good||13||0|
|2||14:17||8 plays, 56 yards||3:34||Clemson||Mark Buchholz 33–yard field goal||13||3|
|06:01||14 plays, 83 yards||8:16||Alabama||Nick Walker 4–yard touchdown reception from John Parker Wilson, Leigh Tiffin kick good||20||3|
|00:00||8 plays, 48 yards||1:38||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 34–yard field goal||23||3|
|3||14:48||—||Clemson||C. J. Spiller 96–yard kickoff return, Mark Buchholz kick good||23||10|
|04:08||14 plays, 67 yards||6:52||Alabama||Julio Jones 4–yard touchdown reception from John Parker Wilson, two-point conversion good||31||10|
|4||03:39||14 plays, 78 yards||8:54||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 26–yard field goal||34||10|
- "No. 24 Alabama limits No. 9 Clemson's ground game in upset victory". ESPN. 2008-08-30. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=282430228. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Alabama wins recruiting national title". Rivals. 2008-02-06. http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=771326. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Clemson's Thunder and Lightning set to strike". Rivals. 2007-04-10. http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=662045. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers, box score". ESPN. 2008-08-30. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/boxscore?gameId=282430228. Retrieved 2008-09-21.