CLEMSON - As his weekly meeting with the seniors ended Friday afternoon, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thought it odd when no one got up to exit the room.
The awkward silence ended when, on behalf of the 19 seniors, running back C.J. Spiller presented Swinney with a No. 40 Clemson jersey, in honor of his 40th birthday. The words "Clemson seniors 2009" appear on the name plate on the back of the jersey.
Swinney thought the gift symbolic of the chemistry the team has developed in recent years.
In the final minute of Saturday's 34-21 victory against Virginia, Swinney milked the clock and used one timeout to substitute for various key offensive seniors, one by one, in order for them to get ovations in their final home game. Nine of the 19 seniors are starters.
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"It was kind of a storybook ending," left guard Thomas Austin said.
Alone in the end zone
Spiller extended his season-long streak of notching at least one touchdown per game, rushing for a 4-yard score early in the second quarter.
He is the only Football Bowl Subdivision player with a touchdown in every game.
Boise State junior receiver Austin Pettis had followed in step but was held out of the end zone in the Broncos' 52-point performance Friday.
As part of the military appreciation day festivities, Clemson's coaches wore camouflage pants, and Spiller - the last senior honored in pregame introductions - ran down "The Hill" carrying an American flag.
He said someone presented the idea to holder Michael Wade, and Spiller felt compelled to do so because his brother served in the Army.
Spiller finished with 114 all-purpose yards to break the ACC single-season record, held previously by Virginia back Thomas Jones (2,054 in 1999).
Apparently the ACC officiating crew wasn't too keen on freshman tight end Dwayne Allen's military appreciation display.
Allen drew an excessive celebration penalty for saluting after his 16-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Allen's score gave the tight ends seven touchdown catches this year, tying the program's single-season high. Bennie Cunningham notched seven in 1974.
Sophomore defensive end Da'Quan Bowers returned after sitting out two games with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Austin started after sustaining a mid-foot sprain in last week's game. ... Junior Richard Jackson was back as the starting place-kicker after being benched for most of the N.C. State win. Jackson hit two short field goals and all four extra points but missed a 52-yard field goal attempt. ... Senior linebacker Kavell Conner notched a career-best 15 tackles. .. Senior receiver Jacoby Ford's 195 all-purpose yards were a career high, topping the 170 he had as a freshman against Temple in 2006.