Created on Thursday, 12 December 2013 Written by SANDRA HARWITT, Associated Press
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — The last time Ohio State and Clemson got together in a bowl game, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes punched a Tigers player and was fired the next day.
On Wednesday at the Orange Bowl news conference, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Clemson counterpart Dabo Swinney traded compliments, praising each other's teams.
Clemson won the previous meeting, 17-15 in the 1978 Gator Bowl. In that game, Hayes punched Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman after he intercepted a late pass.
Meyer has led the Buckeyes to a 12-1 record this year, losing to Michigan State 34-24 on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game. Clemson lost two games this season, to top-ranked Florida State and the regular- season finale to South Carolina.
"This is a great reward for another excellent season," Swinney said at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. "It's great to be competing against a great quality opponent like Ohio State.
"I don't have any doubt that this will be a great matchup."
Meyer offered similar praise, saying: "Ohio State hasn't been here in a long time and we have a lot of fans in South Florida. I think Clemson and my good friend Dabo Swinney will be a great opponent and it should be an exciting game."
At stake for Meyer is a chance to finish a fourth season at 13-1 since 2006. Meyer is the first coach to lead three different teams - Utah, Florida and Ohio State - to a BCS Bowl game.
It's been a two-year magical run," Meyer said. "We experienced some incredible success over the last two years and we're going to try and get our 13th win.
"I can tell you this, every team in America wakes up in August and wants to play in a BCS Bowl game and we're one of the few teams that get to do that so we're honored to be here."
The Buckeyes won their sole Orange Bowl appearance in 1977, beating Colorado.
This is Clemson's fifth invitation to the Orange Bowl, and second in three years.
The Tigers most recent Orange Bowl outing will not bring back good memories. They allowed West Virginia a BCS-record 70 points in their 70-33 loss.
Ohio State and Clemson come into the Orange Bowl led by star quarterbacks. Both teams have relied heavily on their offense during the season, and both have averaged 40 points per game.
The Buckeyes Braxton Miller threw for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,033 yards and an additional 10 touchdowns.
"When you can count on one finger how many losses you have as a star quarterback it's pretty good," Swinney said about Miller. "He's a thousand yard rusher and I think he missed three games this year."
Tajh Boyd passed for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns. He rushed for 273 yards and managed an additional nine touchdowns for the Tigers.
"I've been watching Tajh Boyd play for many years now and I think he's transitioned from a good player to a great player," Meyer said. "He's a dynamic thrower. And as with most excellent quarterbacks his surrounding cast might be the best in America."
The Orange Bowl is Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium.