What's cooking at Clemson-Florida super regional? Gator, of course (2024)

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  • By Jon Blaujblau@postandcourier.com

    Jon Blau

    Jon Blau has covered Clemson athletics for The Post and Courier since 2021. A native of South Jersey, he grew up on Rocky marathons and hoagies. To get the latest Clemson sports news, straight to your inbox, subscribe to his newsletter, The Tiger Take.

What's cooking at Clemson-Florida super regional? Gator, of course (3)

CLEMSON— Kelly Smith wasn't overly concerned when he got a phone call this week from Inland Seafood in the Atlanta area, letting him know the gator he ordered was larger than anticipated.

Clemson was about to play host to the Florida Gators in a super regional, and it was a natural choice for patrons of Doug Kingsmore Stadium's "Cajun Cafe," located in the grandstands behind right field, to smoke a gator.

If Inland's gators usually weigh between eight and 18 pounds, Smith wasn't worried about going a little bigger for such a momentous occasion.

"A few pounds, no big deal," Smith said.

"Nah," the woman on the other end replied. "It's 40 pounds."

"I was like 'Let me make some phone calls.'" said Smith, in his Clemson chef's apron, who could be called the mastermind behind the gator plot. But he had to make sure the higher-ups in the Cajun Cafe's hierarchy approved.

At the end of the day, a $650 bill wasn't going to deter Clemson fans. Go big, or go home— which is literally the case during NCAA tournament play.

On Friday, after the gator had thawed in a cooler for a day and a half, fellow Cajun Cafe patron Drew Archer proudly held the gator by its snout for a picture posted to the Cajun Cafe's Twitter/X account.

Special guest tomorrow pic.twitter.com/2fFMztzxzO

— RF Cajun Cafe (@CajunRf) June 8, 2024

"I was like, this could go really bad if we lose," Archer said, laughing. "I hope we don't lose for my sake."

Smith and Archer were hoping to keep the gator a secret until game day. But, shortly after they made arrangements on Tuesday, word started to leak out.

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A local radio host, Mickey Plyler, mentioned it on his show. Clemson players and coaches found out about it. So, too, did the visitors from Florida, who were practicing while Archer posed with the dead, skinned version of Florida's mascot.

But, evidently, Florida took it well.

"They were asking questions about where we got it," Archer said.

This gator has "taken on a life of its own," Smith said. But it sat on the smoker Saturday, browning, very much lifeless.

It has been brined, prepared with something equivalent to a crawfish boil, some citrus, some lemon. The gator is stuffed with cream cheese, jalapenos, Andouille sausage, and bacon.

The gator needs to be smoked for a handful of hours, Smith said, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. There was a piece of wood propping the gator's mouth open, because the Cajun Cafe has also acquired a baseball with a Florida logo which is slated to be displayed in its mouth.

This is a wild-caught gator, not farm-raised, so it might be a bit gamey. Smith and Archer were making no promises that it will actually taste good.

But that's not the point.

"We’ll see how it comes out," Smith said. "It’s more of a novelty because of who our opponent is."

This is the second weekend a row the Cajun Cafe has drawn some attention, because it was just last weekend the Tigers— including coach Erik Bakich— celebrated a regional win by hopping onto the right field fence to celebrate with the establishment's patrons.

Clemson fans are hoping for a similar celebration this weekend, because the Tigers would be heading to the College World Series for the first time since 2010.

Follow Jon Blau on Twitter @Jon_Blau. Plus, receive the latest updates on Clemson athletics, straight to your inbox, by subscribing to The Tiger Take.

More information

  • Clemson's coaches were ejected during a super regional loss. The ump explains why.

Jon Blau

Jon Blau has covered Clemson athletics for The Post and Courier since 2021. A native of South Jersey, he grew up on Rocky marathons and hoagies. To get the latest Clemson sports news, straight to your inbox, subscribe to his newsletter, The Tiger Take.

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What's cooking at Clemson-Florida super regional? Gator, of course (2024)

FAQs

Who won the Clemson-Florida baseball game? ›

Michael Robertson stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the Gators trailing by a run in the bottom of the 13th inning. He sliced a two-run double to left field to give the Gators an 11-10 win over Clemson in Game 2 of the Clemson Super Regional at Kingsmore Stadium.

Has Clemson ever won the World Series? ›

Clemson has made 12 appearances in the College World Series with an all-time record of 12–24 in Omaha.

How many times has Clemson won the championship? ›

Clemson has three national championships in football, the most recent coming in 2018 with a victory over Alabama 44–16 in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.

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