We’re just hours away from a big Thursday night showdown in the ACC between Clemson and Wake Forest. While the game has major implications on the ACC race and bowl picture for this season, a victory tonight for the Tigers would mean even more in the long run for the program.
It would enable Clemson to break a long and strange streak of Thursday night football futility.
Consider the following:
It’s been seven years since Clemson defeated a conference opponent on a Thursday night.
Since 1998, Clemson is just 1-9 against the ACC on Thursday night football.
According to quarterback Tajh Boyd, the team is looking forward to the game and getting the monkey off their back.
“It’s just another opportunity for us to change the culture a little bit,” Boyd said. “That’s how we look at it. History says we’re 1-9 on Thursdays, but it’s one of those things where we feel like the culture has changed around here, the maturation of this team has grown.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s going to be a fight. Thursday night at their home place, they’re going to bring everything they’ve got. But we feel like we’ve got a good team, a solid foundation.”
Traveling in a short week eliminates practice and preparation time. Not all of the losses have been away from home, but considering that Clemson hasn’t hosted a Thursday night affair within the ACC since 2002, most have been away from Death Valley.
Their quarterback thinks it’s imperative to start quickly, taking the crowd and momentum away from a team that has the homefield advantage on a short week.
“When you play a team away, at night, you’ve got to go out there and lay the chips out early,” he said. “You make a mistake, momentum shifts, like that. It’s all about momentum at night. You’ve got to control it as much as possible. Go out there and play your game.”
Clemson’s best game should be more than enough, even with travel and less time to prepare.
If the Tigers fail to show up early, the strange streak just might continue another year.