LIVE VIDEO: Clemson football fans turn out to honor national champions
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) —
Thousands of smiling, cheering football fans are turning out for the biggest party Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has thrown yet at Death Valley to celebrate the school's first national championship in 35 years.
Last year, more than 30,000 people showed up for Swinney's pizza party when Clemson was picked for its first College Football Playoff berth after the 2015 season. The gathering Saturday may top that, with more than 50,000 fans expected along the parade route through town and in the stadium.
The celebration extended all the way to the Statehouse this week as Gov. Nikki Haley called on all South Carolinians to congratulate the Clemson Tigers for their national title.
The Clemson graduate has designated Saturday as "Clemson Tigers National Football Champions Day."
Her proclamation encourages "all South Carolinians to join together in congratulating the Clemson Tigers football team and coaches for their awesome performance" during the 2016 season and Monday's title game victory over against Alabama.
A Clemson University flag flew over the Statehouse on Tuesday on Haley's order.
In her farewell State of the State address Wednesday, she said "driving to the Statehouse and raising that orange flag over the Capitol dome with my daughter, Rena, is a memory I will treasure forever."
Her daughter attends Clemson.
It's Clemson's first national football title since 1981.