ORLANDO, Fla. – The ACC and the Big 12 will face off yet again as the Clemson Tigers (9-3) and the Iowa State Cyclones (7-5) play in the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.
This is Clemson’s first bowl game in Orlando since 2014, while Iowa State’s return to Camping World Stadium marks the second time since 2019.
“It’s been great,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday during a news conference. “From a bowl experience and having been to bowls all over the country, it doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to the experience for your families and all that there is to do and same thing for your team.”
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell shared similar sentiments.
“The events, the time, the effort that the leadership has put in to making this bowl experience first class has been second-to-none,” Campbell said.
This is the first matchup between Clemson and Iowa State in both schools’ history. Clemson is looking for its 11th consecutive 10-win season. For Iowa State, this is the first time in school history it has been selected for a bowl game for five straight years.
A major takeaway for this game is the defense. Clemson rank number nine in the nation in total defense. Iowa State is ranked just behind Clemson at number 10.
On the offensive side of the ball, Iowa State’s quarterback Brock Purdy will play his final game in the Cheez-It Bowl. He already declared for the NFL Draft. In his three years at Iowa State, Brock Purdy has recorded 11,966 passing yards and 1,163 rushing yards
“He’s a gamer,” Swinney said about Purdy. “He’s seen it all, too. Not much he hasn’t seen. He’s very well coached and very well prepared and has a great understanding of their offense and ownership of what they do and knows how to get them in and out of bad plays.”
Clemson has ranked in the top 15 in the country in total defense in the last seven seasons. Campbell expects a strong test from the Clemson defense.
“It is a veteran defense,” he said. “They are elite at almost every position group. I think when you have really talented players that have great experience like coach has, the way they have played, really, through the entirety of the football season, it’s a great challenge for our football team.”
Both Swinney and Campbell have respect for each other coming into the bowl game.
“Matt is a guy that I have got a ton of respect for,” Swinney said. “He’s one of the guys in the profession that I will keep up with and pay attention to, because I think he’s got a lot of substance to him and I think he coaches for the right reasons, and that’s why his team is where it is and the program that he’s built there and what he’s done there is incredible.”
“Just the utmost respect for who he is, what he’s about in this profession, how he’s built a football program,” Campbell said. “That part, for me, is a great honor, to be able to compete, our team and our program, against this great Clemson program and what he’s been able to build.”
According to VegasInsider.com, Clemson comes into this game as a one-point favorite over Iowa State.