It's been 14 years, but Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney still remembers his first time at Kyle Field.
Behind 165 yards rushing by Courtney Lewis and 307 total yards by quarterback Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M rolled to a 27-6 victory over the Tigers on Sept. 18, 2004.
"I was part of that butt-whipping we took out there in '04," said Swinney, who was in his second season as Clemson's wide receivers coach. "[We] couldn't get home soon enough. We got destroyed out there. I remember it all too well."
It was a disaster from the start for the Tigers. Clemson stayed a half hour away on Friday night, and its bus into College Station on Saturday didn't have air conditioning. The players wore warmups -- not today's high-tech apparel but ones that didn't breathe -- so the sweaty players had to roll up their pants and shirts.
"We were a bad looking bunch [getting off the bus,]" Swinney said at his Tuesday press conference. "In my mind, I remember going, 'This is fixin' to be a long day,' and it was. They absolutely kicked our tails all over the field that night."
The Tigers rushed for only 58 yards and had four turnovers in what was Swinney's lone appearance in the Lone Star state as a player or coach. He returns with a team that typically makes opponents sweat. His second-ranked Tigers (1-0) have been one of the nation's best programs in recent years, winning 50 of their last 55 games. The Tigers have won three straight Atlantic Coast Conference championships, beating Florida State each year to allow Swinney to even his head-to-head series with first-year A&M coach Jimbo Fisher.
The ninth meeting between the coaches who each won a national championship is bringing ESPN College GameDay to College Station and A&M is expecting a sellout (102,733). The largest crowd Clemson has played in front of was 92,476 at Georgia in 2014. The last time Swinney coached at Kyle Field the crowd was 71,565.
"It's an incredible game day environment," Swinney said.
NOTES -- Fisher will have his first weekly radio show of the season Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. at Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q. The show will be broadcast on WTAW (1620 AM). ... The American Football Coaches Association's Coaches' Trophy will be on display from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday in Kyle Field's Hall of Champions along with former Aggie All-American Dat Nguyen.