The Tigers finished the 2014 season with 10 wins, becoming one of only four programs nationally to reach double-digit victories each of the last four years. Clemson closed the year with wins over South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl and No. 24 Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The victory over the Sooners was Clemson’s third straight bowl win, and all have come against teams ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the two polls.
With the wins over Les Miles (Louisiana State), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Swinney became the first coach in college football history to win bowl games in three consecutive years against teams led by coaches who had previously won a national title.
“Tiger football enjoyed another successful year, and Coach Swinney continues to build an outstanding program,” Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich said. “A big part of our success is the tremendous consistency and excellence in our staff of assistant coaches . Their work is reflected both on and off the field, as our student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom as well as between the lines.”
Clemson led the nation in 11 different defensive categories in 2014. The unit was a major reason the Tigers finished the season with a 10-3 record, including a 40-6 victory over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Clemson is expected to finish in the top 15 of the AP poll and coaches poll when they are released January 13.
Venables’ unit led the nation in total defense, allowing just 260.8 yards per game, the first time Clemson led the nation since 1990. The Tigers also led the nation in pass efficiency defense for the first time, and led in yards allowed per play, tackles for loss per game, first downs allowed and third-down conversion percentage defense.
The Tigers were first in total defense, first in pass efficiency defense, third in scoring defense and fifth in rushing defense. Clemson was the only school in the nation to finish in the top five of those four major defensive categories, and it was the first time in school history it finished in the top five of all those categories in one season.
Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott directed the Clemson offense as co-coordinators for the first time in the Tigers’ bowl victory over Oklahoma. Clemson scored 40+ points for just the third time in a bowl game in school history.
Cole Stoudt passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns, as Clemson handed the Sooner program its second-worst margin of defeat in a bowl game. Stoudt also became just the third Tiger to pass for 300 yards in a bowl game.