Sept. 5, 2005
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Whitehurst Looking to Become 20-Game WinnerNow Second in Top 25 Wins Although he was on the bench at the conclusion of the game, Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst notched his 19th career victory as a starting quarterback, his fifth over a top 25 team, when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M in the season opener. Whitehurst had his bell rung on the first Clemson offensive play of the fourth quarterback and had to sit out the remainder of the game due to doctors orders. He should be fine for this week.
That means Whitehurst will be going for his 20th career wins when the Tigers go to Maryland on September 10. If Clemson can gain a victory with Whitehurst under center, he will become just the sixth 20-game winner in Clemson history, the first since Nealon Green played for the Tigers from 1994-97.
Rodney Williams is the career leader with 32 victories, a total that is among the top 25 victories totals in NCAA history at the Division I level. Williams, a member of the Clemson Hall of Fame, guided the Tigers to three consecutive seasons of two losses from 1986-88 and won three bowl games as a starting quarterback.
While Whitehurst can’t catch Williams on the career wins list, he can reach second ranked Greene, who is still a quarterback in the Canadian league. Greene had a 24-16 record as a starter between 1994-97. Other Clemson 20-game winners are Homer Jordan, Steve Fuller and Mike Eppley. Whitehurst is currently tied for sixth on the victories list with DeChane Cameron and Woodrow Dantzler.
With the win over 17th ranked Texas A&M, Whitehurst now has five top 25 wins under his belt. He moved ahead of Homer Jordan, Mike Eppley and Nealon Greene in career wins over top 25 teams with that Texas A&M win. He now trails only Williams, who had seven top 25 wins between the 1986-88 seasons. Whitehurst is 5-4 against ranked teams in his career (including 5-2 in his last seven), while Williams was 7-4.
Clemson’s Winningest Quarterbacks
Fourteen Freshmen Made Debut vs. Texas A&MClemson played 57 men against Texas A&M in the season opener and 14 of them were first-year or red-shirt freshmen. The list included eight first-year freshmen, the most first-year freshmen to play in the opening game for the Tigers since 1995 when Tommy West played nine in the opening game of the season against Western Carolina.
The first-year freshmen who played against Texas A&M included starting running back James Davis, wide receivers Rendrick Taylor and Tyler Grisham, defensive end Philip Merling, linebackers Antonio Clay and Josh Miller, defensive end Jock McKissic and defensive back Haydrian Lewis. The red-shirt freshmen who played for the first time for Clemson included wide receiver Aaron Kelly, defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson, defensive back Chris Clemons, safety Michael Hamlin, special teams players Cortney Vincent, and Akeem Robinson.
Clemson’s 2005 freshman class was regarded as among the best at Clemson in many years and among the best in the nation according to many services. In the 24 years of the red-shirt rule (including this season), Clemson has now played 132 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.50 per season. Fifty-six of the first-year freshmen have been offensive players, while 72 were defensive players and four have been kickers. Clemson played three offensive first-year freshmen and five defensive first-year freshmen against Texas A&M.
Since Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 34 first-year freshmen, 12 on offense, 20 on defense and two special teams. That is an average of 4.86 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden is a bit below the Clemson average for the last 24 years.
The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985. That year Danny Ford played six first-year freshmen on offense and five on defense. The 1994 Clemson team under Tommy West played 10 first-year freshmen, including a record nine on offense.
The most successful Clemson team to play a lot of freshmen is the 1995 Tiger team. That year Clemson played nine first-year freshmen on the way to an 8-4 season. The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson tam that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season.
The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is nine, in 2001, just one more than what he played against Texas A&M. That year Bowden played three on offense and six on defense on the way to a 7-5 season.
Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 24 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller). Bowden already has had two first-year freshmen earn All-America honors. Justin Miller (2002) and Barry Richardson (2004) were both named to the Football Writers first-team Freshman All-American team since Bowden has been the head coach.
Bowden First-Year Freshman Participants 1999: (5)–David Ellis (LB), Rodney Feaster (LB), Brian Mance (DB), Bernard Rambert (RB), Rodney Thomas (LB) 2000: (4)–Aaron Hunt (PK), Yusef Kelly (RB), John Leake (LB), Ronnie Thomas (WR) 2001: (9)–Eric Coleman (DT), Roscoe Crosby (WR), Airese Currie (WR), Moe Fountain (DE), Ben Hall (TE), Leroy Hill (LB), Tavaghn Monts (DB), Travis Pugh (FS), Eric Sampson (LB) 2002: (1)–Justin Miller (CB) 2003: (5)–Tramaine Billie (SS), Jad Dean (PK), Marion Dukes (OT), Sergio Gilliam (DB), Brandon Pilgrim (OG) 2004: (2)–La’Donte Harris (WR), Barry Richardson (OT) 2005: (8)–James Davis (RB), Rendrick Taylor (WR), Tyler Grisham (WR), Philip Merling (DE), Antonio Clay (LB), Josh Miller (LB), Jock McKissic (DT), Haydrian Lewis (DB).
Davis Has Impressive DebutClemson first-year freshman running back James Davis led Clemson in rushing in the season opening win against #17 Texas A&M with 19 carries for 101 yards. His evening included a 33-yard run, the long rush by a Tiger in the game and tied for the longest play of the game for Rob Spence’s offense.
That was quite a debut for the running back from Atlanta. He became just the fourth firth-year freshman in Clemson history to gain at least 100 yards in his first game, the first to do it in 60 years. The last time it happened was on September 22, 1945 when freshman Bobby Gage and Jim Reynolds both had 100-yard performances in a 76-0 win over Presbyterian. Gage had 8-144 rushing and Reynolds 5-105.
The only other time a first-year freshman had a 100-yard rushing game in the opener was in 1943 when Jim Whitmire had 15-121 in a 13-12 loss to Presbyterian. That 1943 Clemson team was just about all freshman as the United States military had drafted Clemson’s entire junior and senior class for World War II.
Here are some other notes on Davis’s opening game performance: · First Clemson freshman (red-shirt or first year) to gain at least 100 yards in any game since current teammate Tye Hill had 14-105 at North Carolina in 2002. · First Tiger first-year freshman to gain at least 100 yards since the 1994 Georgia Tech game when Lamont Pegues had 28-136 and Nealon Greene had 19-111 in a 20-10 Tiger victory in Death Valley. · Just the 20th 100-yard rushing day by a first-year freshman in Clemson history. The record is 234 in 33 rushes by Don King against Fordham in 1952. · The 26th 100-yard rushing performance by a red-shirt or first-year freshman in Clemson history. · Just the fourth freshman in Clemson history to record a 100-yard rushing game against a top 25 team. First-year freshman Dexter McCleon (12-127) and red-shirt freshman Emory Smith (18-113) had 100-yard game against an 18th ranked Virginia team in 1993. First-year freshman Ronald Williams had 17-108 against an 18th ranked Georgia Tech team in 1990.
100-yard Rushing Games by Freshmen on Opening Day
Davis Opening Game StarterJames Davis was the starting tailback for Clemson in the season opener against Texas A&M, the first freshman to start at running back in the opener since Anthony Downs started as a first-year freshman against Furman in 1994. Downs had a strong game with 18-89 rushing in his first game, but that would be his career high rushing total for a game at Clemson.
Davis was just the seventh freshman (first-year or red-shirt) to start the season opener under Tommy Bowden and just the seventh running back to make the opening game start since 1953. The other freshman starters in the opening game under Bowden are Jermyn Chester (OG) and Aaron Hunt (PK) in 2000, Roscoe Crosby (WR) and Derrick Hamilton (WR) against Central Florida in 2001, and Cole Chason (P) and Nathan Bennett (OG) in 2003.
Overall, Davis was the 36th freshman to starting the opening game for Clemson since freshmen eligibility was adopted for the 1972 season. That is 34 freshmen in 36 years of freshmen eligibility.
Here is a list of opening day freshmen starters for Clemson since 1972. An asterisk means they were red-shirt freshmen:
1973 Ken Callicutt (TB), Nelson Wallace (DT) 1974 Jeff Mills (DT) 1979 *Gary Brown (OT), *Terry Kinard (FS) 1980 Jeff Wells (TE), James Farr (C) 1981 *Donald Igwebuike (PK) 1983 *Tence Mack (DE), *Henry Walls (LB), *Keith Williams (LB) 1984 *Michael Dean Perry (DT) 1985 *Frank DeIuliis (OT) 1986 *James Lott (FS) 1987 John Johnson (OLB), *Eric Harmon (OT), *Terry Allen (TB) 1988 Chris Gardocki (PK) 1991 *Nelson Welch (PK) 1992 *Marrio Greer (FB) 1993 *Emory Smith (FB), *Brett Williams (DE) 1994 Anthony Downs (TB), *Jim Bundren (OT), *Glenn Rountree (OG) 1995 Anthony Simmons (LB) 1996 *Rahim Abdullah (OLB) 1998 *Travis Zachery (RB), * Alex Ardley (CB) 2000 *Jermyn Chester (OG), *Aaron Hunt (PK) 2001 Roscoe Crosby (WR), *Derrick Hamilton (WR) 2003 *Nathan Bennett (OG), *Cole Chason (P) 2005 James Davis (RB)
Bowden Gains Eighth top 25 WinClemson has won five of its last seven games against top 25 teams, including three wins over top 10 teams over the last two years plus one game. Clemson’s win over 17th ranked Texas A&M gave Tommy Bowden eight top 25 wins in his career, third in Clemson history among head coaches.
Danny Ford had 20 top 25 wins in his career between 1978-89, still the Clemson record, while Frank Howard had 11 top 25 wins in his career between 1940-69. Howard might have had more top 25 wins than he is credited for because the AP polls only ranked a top 10 from 1961-68 and poll point totals for teams 11-25 don’t exist. Bowden went ahead of Ken Hatfield with the win over Texas A&M. Hatfield had seven wins over top 25 teams during his tenure from 1990-93.
Bowden Awards Four Game ballsTommy Bowden was in a giving mood after the Texas A&M win as he gave out four game balls. That is a rarity for Bowden, who gave out just one game ball in the locker room in his first six years. That went to former Clemson Sports Information Director Bob Bradley in 2000 at Duke, the day Bradley worked his 500th consecutive Clemson football game as Sports Information Director or Emeritas SID.
After the Texas A&M game Bowden presented game balls to his three new coaches, offensive coordinator Rob Spence, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and defensive line coach Marion Hobby. He also gave a game ball to Jad Dean, the junior from Greenwood, SC, who booted a Clemson record six field goals, including the winner from 42 yards out with just two seconds left.
Dean Sets Clemson RecordClemson kicker Jad Dean had the greatest field goal kicking day in Clemson history when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M 25-24. The junior was a perfect 6-6 on field goals, including a 42-yarder with two seconds left to give the Tigers the one-point win. Dean was successful on attempts from 21, 21, 25, 18, 44 and 42 yards in breaking the single game record of five field goals set by Nelson Welch three times. Welch had five against NC State in 1991, Maryland in 1992 and North Carolina in 1994.
In addition to setting the Clemson record for field goals in a game, Dean also established a Clemson record for kick scoring points in a game with 19. He had one extra point in addition to the six field goals, breaking the record of 17 kick scoring points set by Welch in the game against Maryland in 1992.
Dean tied the ACC record for field goals with the performance. Josh McGee of North Carolina was 6-6 on field goals against Duke in 1999 and Vince Fusco of Duke was 6-7 on field goals against Clemson in 1976. His last field goal was from 57 yards, hit the cross bar and bounced over to tie the game at 18-18 at the final horn. Thus, two of the three ACC games in which a player has booted six field goals have come in games played at Death Valley.
Dean was the first Division I player to kick field goals in a game since September 27, 2003 when Jonathan Nichols of Mississippi booted six against Texas Tech. Dean was just the third player to have six field goals in game in the 21st century and just the 18th to accomplish the feat in NCAA history dating to 1965 when Charley Gogolak of Princeton booted six against Rutgers.
Dean was just one field goal off the national record. Dale Klein of Nebraska had seven against Missouri on October 19, 1985 and Mike Prindle of Western Michigan had seven against Marshall on September 29, 1984.
Dean was the only player in the nation to kick six field goals in the first weekend of college football. Paul Martinez had five for Oregon. Dean was also the national kick scoring leader for the first weekend with 19 points.
Stuckey is Mr. Opening DayChansi Stuckey is one of the hardest workers on the Clemson team and that means in the off-season as well. That might be the reason Stuckey has played well in season openers the last two years. Both have been close Tiger victories, the 25-24 victory over Texas A&M this year and the 37-30 overtime thriller against Wake Forest in 2004. In the win over Texas A&M, Stuckey scored Clemson’s only touchdown on a 47-yard punt return in the first half. The junior wide receiver also had 3-50 receiving and three yards rushing, giving him 106 all-purpose yards for the game, second on the Clemson team behind James Davis’s 107.
Stuckey also had a great game on opening day in 2004 against Wake Forest. The native of Warner Robbins, GA had a career high eight catches for a career high 112 receiving yards. He also had 10 yards rushing, three punt return yards, a blocked punt, and a key block on Justin Miller’s 69-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Stuckey has had two 100-yard all-purpose running games in his Clemson career, and both have taken place on opening day the last two years. He finished the Texas A&M game with 53 punt return yards on two attempts. Prior to the Texas A&M game, Stuckey had just four career punt returns for 30 yards, then had the 47-yard return for a score on his first return of the 2005 season.
Clemson Special Teams Excellence ContinuesSuccess in the return game has been important to the Clemson team since Tommy Bowden became the Tigers head coach in 1999. When Chansi Stuckey raced 47 yards for a touchdown off a punt return against Texas A&M it was the 10th punt or kickoff return for a touchdown for Clemson since Bowden took over the program. And, that does not include a blocked punt return for a score last year against Utah State by Bobby Williamson. The kick returns are now evening divided, five punt returns for score and five kickoff returns.
It marked the second consecutive year that Clemson had returned a punt for a touchdown in the season opener. In 2004, Justin Miller raced 69 yards for a touchdown in a 37-30 overtime win against Wake Forest. Then, Stuckey had the 47-yard punt return for a touchdown against Texas A&M in a one point Tiger victory. That means, the punt return for a touchdown meant the difference in the game in both contests.
Prior to Bowden’s arrival, Clemson was not known for scoring off special teams. In fact, Clemson had one of the worst records for kick returns between 1962-87. In that time period, Clemson had just four kick returns for touchdowns (all punts). Clemson once went 25 years without a kickoff return for a touchdown. Between 1970-87, Clemson went 999 combined punt and kickoff returns without a touchdown, then scored on the 1000th return on a 78-yard punt return by Donnell Woolford against Georgia Tech.
In the 1971-98 time period, 28 seasons, Clemson had a combined seven kick returns for touchdowns. Now, in the seven years of the Bowden era, Clemson has already exceeded that total with 10 kick returns for scores.
Whitehurst Records 155.5 Efficiency RatingClemson starting quarterback Charlie Whitehurst completed 14-19 passes for 185 yards in the win over Texas A&M. He did not have an interception or a touchdown pass in the contest an thus finished with an efficiency rating of 155.5. That was the best single game efficiency for Whitehurst since he had a 209.9 rating in a 2003 win over South Carolina to close the regular season.
It was the sixth best single game passing efficiency of Whitehurst’s 30-game career as a starter. His all-time best is a 241.1 rating at North Carolina in 2002 when he threw four touchdowns passes in a 42-12 Clemson win. Overall, Whitehurst now has eight games in his career in which he has had a 150 efficiency rating or better.
Recording a passing efficiency of at least 150 and a completion percentage of over 70 percent was an average performance for a Rob Spence quarterback. Clemson’s first-year offensive coordinator has had a habit of producing efficient quarterbacks. In his four years at Toledo prior to coming to Clemson, he had a top 16 signal caller in terms of passing efficiency and each starting quarterback had a completion percentage of at least 68.7 percent. Each of his last three years, the starting quarterback had a completion percentage over 70 percent.
Rob Spence’s Quarterbacks Over the last Four Years
Using Proctor no GambleOne of the most important performances by the Tigers in the win over Texas A&M was turned in by junior quarterback Will Proctor. The junior from Winter Park, FL played virtually the entire fourth quarter as starter Charlie Whitehurst had to leave the game when he was struck in the head on a tackle by a couple of Texas A&M defenders.
Proctor entered the game cold off the bench and had control of the Tiger offense for the last 23 offensive snaps of the game. On his first drive, he led the Tigers 11 plays for 53 yards to a 44-yard field goal by Jad Dean. During that drive he completed a 15-yard pass to Chansi Stuckey, his first career completion.
With 3:40 left, Clemson took over possession at its own 42, trailing by 24-22. Proctor quarterbacked Clemson to a 33-yard drive in eight plays, that led to Dean’s game winning field goal.
For the 23 snaps in the fourth quarter, Proctor had three ruses for 18 yards and completed 2-4 passes for 28 yards. He led the Tigers to 118 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter when Clemson controlled the clock for 11:23.
Prior to the Texas A&M game, Proctor had played just six career snaps at quarterback in three games, all in 2004 when he was also Whitehurst’s backup. He had thrown just three career passes prior to the A&M game, all incompletions.
Another Last Second Tiger VictorySeven of the last 12 Clemson games have been decided by seven points or less, and all on plays within the last minute of the game or in overtime. Clemson has won five of those seven games with either pivotal offensive or defensive plays. The 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean that gave Clemson a 25-24 victory came with just two seconds left and was the latest game-winning field goal by a Tiger player since David Treadwell’s 21-yard field goal with two seconds left best Georgia in 1987.
Clemson has had many a close victory under Tommy Bowden. Since he became the head coach in 1999, Clemson has registered nine victories in which it has scored the winning points in the fourth quarter. Eight of the nine have come with offensive plays inside the last 23 seconds or in overtime.
One of the five wins in the last two years took place against Maryland, Clemson’s opponent this coming Saturday. Reggie Merriweather scored on a two-yard run with 23 seconds left to give Clemson a 10-7 victory at Clemson Memorial Stadium.
Clemson Heart Stoppers the last Two Seasons
Clemson Rushing Solid vs. Texas A&MOne of the reasons for Clemson’s offensive success against Texas A&M was the rushing game. Clemson gained 183 yards rushing, a figure Clemson reached just twice last year, 186 against Georgia Tech and 200 yards against Utah State. Improving the running game was one of the areas Coach Bowden concentrated on in the off season. The 183 rushing yards were the most by a Clemson team against a ranked opponent since the Tigers gained 194 in a win over 25th ranked Virginia in 2003. The strong rushing game was a big reason the Tigers had a 16-minute advantage in time of possession, as Clemson controlled the clock for 37:58 compare to 22:02 for Texas A&M. That was the most time of possession for Clemson in a game under Tommy Bowden.
A 183-yard rushing average would compute to just over 2000 yards for an entire season, a stated goal for the Tiger program by Bowden in previous years. Clemson gained just 1183 yards rushing last year, 107.5 yards per game.
The men in the trenches had a lot to do with the rushing success. Nathan Bennett had an 80 percent grade on 64 plays and had a team best eight knockdown blocks. Center Dustin Fry played 83 snaps and had a 79 percent grade, while Barry Richardson graded 78 percent for 70 plays. Overall, Clemson played eight different offensive linemen for at least 20 snaps against Texas A&M.
Spence Coached at MarylandClemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence will be returning to a familiar stadium when Clemson meets Maryland on Saturday. Spence served as an assistant coach at Maryland from 1992-96 under Mark Duffner. During that time Maryland established 70 school records for offensive production.
Spence’s first year, he helped the Maryland offense score 53 points in a 53-23 Terps win over Clemson. In 1994, Spence served as Maryland’s quarterbacks coach and the Terps ranked 10th in the nation in passing offense behind Scott Milanovich.
Tiger Veterans vs. MarylandGaines Adams (DE)–Had four tackles, including a sack in 2004. Charles Bennett (DE)–had three tackles, including a nine-yard sack in 2004 at Clemson. Tramaine Billie (LB)–Had eight tackles in 50 plays in his second career start in 2004. Cole Chason (P)–Had 36.2 average on six punts in 2003 and career high 45-yard average on eight punts in 2004. Had three punts inside the 20. Duane Coleman (RB)–had 11-36 rushing in starting assignment in2003 at Maryland. Had 9-27 rushing in 2004 as a reserve. Jad Dean (PK)–Made 21-yard field goal in only attempt in 2004. Jamaal Fudge (FS)–Had two tackles in 10 plays as a freshman in 2002, had seven tackles, including two for loss in 2003 and four tackles, three passes defensed, including an interception in 2004. Kelvin Grant (WR)–Had four receptions for 49 yards in 54 snaps as a starter in 2004. Tye Hill (CB)–Played running back against Maryland in 2002 and had 1-3 rushing in eight plays. Had two tackles in 53 plays as a starter at cornerback in 2003 and three tackles and three passes deflected in 63 plays as a starter in 2004. Reggie Merriweather (RB)–Had 17-60 rushing and the game winning touchdown run from two yards out with 23 seconds left in Clemson’s 10-7 victory in 2004. Trey Tate (DT)–Had career high tying five tackles against Maryland in 2004. Anthony Waters (LB)–Recorded five tackles in 40 plays as a starter in 2004. Nick Watkins (LB)–Had career high eight tackles in 27 plays against Maryland in 2004. He also had career high two tackles for loss. Charlie Whitehurst (QB)–In three games against Maryland, has completed 48-102 passes for 620 yards and one touchdown. Has 1-2 record as starter. Completed 14-31 passes for 170 yards in Clemson’s win over the Terps at Clemson last year. He had one of his six career 300-yard passing games at Maryland in 2003.
Last year vs. MarylandClemson 10, Maryland 7Reggie Merriweather scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left after Charlie Whitehurst completed 4-5 passes in the final 2:50 to give Clemson a 10-7 come-from-behind win over Maryland in Death Valley. It was the first time the Tigers defeated the Terrapins since 2000. It was also Maryland’s first loss in 31 games under Head Coach Ralph Friedgen when leading at halftime.
In a game that featured two programs known for their offensive prowess, the defenses took over. The teams combined for only 400 yards of total offense. Maryland received the opening kickoff and moved the ball to its own 48-yard line before Clemson forced a punt. One of the ACC’s leading punters, Adam Podlesh, perfectly placed a punt at the Clemson seven, where the Tigers began their first drive of the game.
Two Whitehurst to ACC-leading-receiver Airese Currie passes gained 28 yards for the Tigers before the Terrapins forced a punt. David Holloway busted through the Clemson protection and blocked Cole Chason’s punt at the Clemson 17-yard line. It was Chason’ first punt-block of 2004.
Maryland would need six plays to move 17 yards, and ended the drive with a one-yard Josh Allen touchdown run. Nick Novak’s extra point gave the Terrapins an early 7-0 lead.
Maryland got its offense rolling early in the second quarter, moving the ball from their own 19-yard line to the Clemson 21. The drive took 15 plays and drained 6:38 off the clock. However, the Terrapins came up empty on the drive, as Novak missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt, the first miss by a Tiger opponent in 11 tries in 2004. Novak would end his career as the ACC’s career leader in field goals (80).
The Tigers took over with 7:30 on the clock and went on their longest drive of the year. Clemson moved 73 yards in 18 plays in a drive that lasted 7:21. The Tigers converted two third-downs and one fourth-down on the drive. However, Clemson had to settle for a field goal, as Jad Dean drilled a 21-yard field goal to give Clemson its first points. The second half began with missed opportunities for Clemson. After pinning Maryland deep in its own territory with a punt, the Tiger defense forced a turnover when Jamaal Fudge intercepted his second pass in as many weeks to give Clemson the ball at the Terrapin 27.
Clemson had the ball with 2:50 left at its own 42. Whitehurst completed four of five passes on the final drive, with the big play coming on an 18-yard connection with Airese Currie. On a first-and-goal play from the two, Merriweather was able to get the ball across the goal line, and Clemson led for the first time all day with only 23 seconds left on the clock. The drive was helped on a crucial pass interference call in the endzone on third-and-goal.
After Dean kicked the ball to the back of the endzone, Maryland began the next drive at its own 20. Joel Statham’s first pass was intercepted by Miller, and Clemson had its second ACC win of the year.
Whitehurst completed 14 of 31 passes for 170 yards. Merriweather added 60 yards on the ground for the Tigers on 17 attempts including the winning score. The Tiger defense, which yielded under 200 yards for the second straight week, was led by Leroy Hill, who had 11 tackles. Maurice Fountain added two tackles for loss as well.
Last Trip to College Park (2003)Maryland 21, Clemson 7Maryland defeated Clemson for the third consecutive year, 21-7 in College Park. It marked the first time the Terrapins have won three in a row over the Tigers since 1975-77. Scott McBrien threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns to lead a balanced Maryland attack. The Terrapins rushed for 159 yards, compared to just 10 for the Tigers. Maryland opened the scoring mid-way through the first quarter. Following a missed field goal attempt by Tiger kicker Aaron Hunt, Maryland marched 68 yards on 12 plays before Steve Suter was the recipient of a 25-yard touchdown pass from McBrien.The Terrapins extended the lead to 14-0 on the fourth play of the second quarter. This time, McBrien found Rich Parson on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Following a series of punts between the two teams, Clemson found itself on the scoreboard. Derrick Hamilton caught a pass on the sideline from Charlie Whitehurst, then weaved his way for a 70-yard touchdown. The reception was the longest of Hamilton’s career.
The half ended as Terrapin kicker Nick Novak missed a 48-yard field goal. Maryland led 14-7 at halftime. Clemson had -14 rushing yards in the first half. Clemson threatened on its opening possession of the second half. Duane Coleman had a 15-yard carry to move the Tigers into Maryland territory. However, Chad Jasmin was stopped short on fourth-and-two and Maryland took over.
The Terrapins tacked on the final touchdown in the late portion of the third quarter. Following a punt by Clemson’s Cole Chason, McBrien struck one more time through the air. He found Derrick Fenner for a 69-yard touchdown down the sideline. Clemson cornerback Tye Hill thought Fenner had gone out of bounds and then came back in to the field of play. Each of McBrien’s touchdown passes occurred in third-and-long situations.
Clemson put together another scoring threat late in the third and into the fourth quarter. Whitehurst hooked up with Tony Elliott on a 21-yard completion, but his fourth-down incompletion to Cliff Harrell halted the drive.
Whitehurst finished 22-45 for 320 yards, the second-highest yardage total in his young career at the time. However, he was sacked six times by the Terrapin defense. Hamilton caught seven passes for 175 yards, the second-highest receiving yardage total in Tiger history.
The defense was led by Leroy Hill, who totaled 12 tackles and two for loss. Vontrell Jamison had a 15-yard sack for the Tigers, while J.J. Howard forced a McBrien fumble and had a sack.
Clemson vs. Maryland Series·Clemson holds a 28-23-2 advantage in the series with Maryland. The first game of the series was played in 1952, one year before both teams became charter members of the ACC. Maryland won each of the first four games in the series. ·Maryland has won three of the last four, two in College Park and one at Clemson, but the Tigers have won nine of the last 12, including last year’s game at Clemson. The Terps have won two in a row in the series in College Park, 37-20 in 2001 and 21-7 in 2003. Clemson had won eight in a row and 13 of 14 prior to Ralph Friedgen’s return to his alma mater. ·Clemson held Maryland to just 12 total points in winning every game between 1993-98. Clemson recorded four shutouts, including three in a row during that time period. During Clemson’s eight-game winning streak in the series from 1993-2000, Clemson held Maryland to an average of 7.0 points per game, while scoring 26.8 points per game themselves. · In 2002, Maryland defeated Clemson in Death Valley, its first win at Memorial Stadium since 1985. Clemson has won nine of the last 10 between the two teams in Death Valley. Clemson has a 16-11 lead in the series in games played at Clemson and the two schools are 11-11-1 in College Park. ·Saturday’s game will be a meeting of two of the traditional powerhouses of the ACC. Both Clemson and Maryland have been in the ACC since its inception in the fall of 1953. Both teams played their first ACC game against each other on October 3, 1953 at Clemson, a 20-0 Maryland victory. ·Clemson and Maryland have both won the National Championship, the Terps during that first ACC season in 1953, and Clemson in 1981. Clemson has the most ACC championships with 13, while Maryland is third with nine. ·The two teams played at the end of the season in most years between 1978-88 and the game usually decided the ACC championship. That was certainly the case in 1978 when the Tigers won 28-24 at College Park, clinching an undefeated season in the league over Maryland. It was 11th ranked Maryland’s only league loss that season. · Clemson also clinched the ACC championship with a November victory or tie over Maryland in 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987 and 1988. Maryland clinched the ACC Championship in 2001 with a 37-20 victory over Clemson in College Park. The Terps also clinched the title in 1985 with a victory in Death Valley. ·Clemson has a history of great return performances against Maryland over the years. In 2001, Derrick Hamilton had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score in a game in College Park. Darnell Stephens had an 89-yard punt return for a score against the Terps in Death Valley in 1991, one year after Doug Thomas had a 98-yard kickoff return against Maryland in Baltimore. The greatest return game in ACC history was recorded by Clemson’s Don Kelley against Maryland in 1970. he had 224 total return yards on punt and interception returns in that game. ·This is the earliest trip to Maryland in Clemson history. The previous earliest trip took place in 1990 when Clemson won 18-17 at Baltimore. ·Clemson has struggled offensively against Maryland in the last three years. Clemson hs scored just 29 points in the last three games against Maryland and has scored just two offensive touchdowns.
Clemson Opens ACC ScheduleThis is the 53rd ACC season and Clemson has a 32-19-1 record in its previous 52 ACC openers. Tommy Bowden is 5-1 in ACC openers as Clemson head coach. He defeated Virginia in 1999 in his league opener, also his first overall win at Clemson and his first win over a top 25 opponent, then downed Wake Forest in 2000. In 2001, Virginia upset a top 25 Clemson team in the ACC opener at Death Valley on the last play of the game. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in its league opener in 2002 and 2003, then defeated Wake Forest in its ACC and season opener in 2004.
Clemson is 17-10 in ACC openers at home, 14-9-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites.
Whitehurst Has 30 Career StartsClemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the nation. The Clemson graduate has a 19-11 record as a starter and the 30 career starts rank second nationally among active Division I quarterbacks. Only Brad Smith of Missouri has more, as he has 36 career starts under his belt. Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt also has 30 career starts entering this season.
2005 Division I-A Quarterback Starts
Note: Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence coached Gradkowski at Toledo the last three years.
Home Schedule the Toughest?In many ways this is the most challenging home schedule in Clemson history. Four of the six opponents (Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida State) are ranked in the preseason top 25 of the AP poll. That is a first in Clemson history.
We will have to watch to polls to see how many of those teams are ranked when they come to Clemson. Clemson has never had four top 25 teams come to Clemson in the same season. In act, only the 2003 and 1988 seasons have seen as many as three top 25 teams play against Clemson in Death Valley. In 1988, Clemson lost to a 10th ranked Florida State team at home, but beat top 25 teams from Duke and South Carolina later in the season. In 2003, Clemson lost the opener at home to a top 10 Georgia team, then beat 25th ranked Virginia in overtime, and defeated third ranked Florida State.
Overall, Clemson is 22-24-1 against top 25 teams in Death Valley over the years. Coach Bowden is 5-4 against top 25 teams at home in his six years, including the 26-10 win over third ranked Florida State in 2003, the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in history at home.
The number of games against top 25 teams at home shows how the ACC has gotten stronger over the years. Clemson played just four games against top 25 teams at home between 1942-66. That is four games in 25 years. In the last 25 years Clemson has played 32 games against top 25 teams at home.
Whitehurst Named to Johnny Unitas Golden Arm ListClemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is one of 22 senior quarterbacks named to the top candidates list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The award goes to the top senior quarterback in the nation each year and is presented by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. Whitehurst is one of four ACC quarterbacks on the list as he also joins Jay Davis of NC State, Marques Hagans of Virginia and Quinton Porter of Boston College. Texas A&M senior Reggie McNeal is also on the list.
Whitehurst will be entering his four season as Clemson’s starting quarterback. He has started each of the last 30 Clemson games and the Tigers are 19-11 in those games. He has passed for 7367 yards in his career so far. Earlier, Whitehurst was named as a preseason top 50 candidate for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the top all-around player in college football, and was a preseason candidate for the Davey O’Brien Award, which goes to the nation’s top quarterback.
Clemson in Death ValleyClemson had symmetry in its record over the years entering 2005. With its 2004 season finale victory over South Carolina last year, Clemson gained the 600th win in the history of the program and its 300th win at home. Clemson has 245 victories on the road and 55 more at neutral sites.
Clemson now has a 301-114-15 overall record at home, including a 228-88-7 record in Clemson Memorial Stadium (Death Valley). That is an overall home winning percentage of .717, and a winning percent of .716 in Death Valley.
Tommy Bowden has enhanced Clemson,s reputation for winning at home, as the seventh year Clemson coach has a 29-10 mark at home, a .744 winning percentage. That includes 12 wins in the last 13 at Death Valley with the only loss coming to Georgia Tech last year by a 28-24 score. Tech scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes to win the game.
Bowden is 13-2 in non-conference home games since he took over in 1999. The losses came to Marshall (13-10), a team that finished the 1999 season 13-0 and ranked 10th in the nation, and in 2003 to Georgia (30-0) a team that finished 11-3 and ranked seventh in the final AP poll.
Bowden Now Third in Clemson Coaching WinsTommy Bowden has a 45-29 record as Clemson,s head coach and he is already third in total victories among the 24 Clemson mentors in history. Bowden trails only Frank Howard (165) and Danny Ford (96) on the Clemson list. When Bowden defeated South Carolina in the final game of the 2004 season, he moved ahead of Hall of Fame coach Jess Neely, who had 43 wins for the Tigers in his nine seasons (1931-39).
Clemson’s Winningest Coaches Coach Yrs Seasons Record Frank Howard 30 1940-69 165-118-12 Danny Ford 11 1978-89 96-29-4 Tommy Bowden 6 1999-Pres. 45-29 Jess Neely 9 1931-40 43-35-7 Ken Hatfield 4 1990-93 32-13-1 Tommy West 5 1993-98 31-28-0 Josh Cody 4 1927-30 29-11-1
Clemson Successful with Senior QuarterbacksClemson will be led by graduate quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in 2005. It doesn’t take a college football genius to determine that teams with an experience quarterback usually have a better chance of succeeding.
That has been the case with Clemson over the years. Since 1978 Clemson has had a senior as its starting quarterback during 11 season (including 2005) and the combined final record for the Tigers in those seasons is 85-32-2, a winning ratio of 72 percent. That basically equates to an 8-3 season.
Clemson has been to a bowl eight of those 10 seasons it has had a senior quarterback since 1978, and the two years it didn’t go to a bowl it was due to NCAA probation, not because of a poor record.
Clemson Records with Senior Quarterbacks Since 1978
Three Walk-ons Earn ScholarshipsJust prior to the beginning of school (August 24), Clemson Head Football Coach Tommy Bowden added three original walk-ons to the scholarship list. The players who made their parents very happy when they told them to cancel that tuition check are linebacker Lionel Richardson, tight end Cole Downer and tight end Thomas Hunter.
All three original walk-ons figure to see significant playing time this year. Richardson has lettered each of the last two years and actually started four games on Clemson,s 2003 team that finished the season in the top 25 of both polls. He had 24 tackles that year, including a career high seven tackles against Virginia and North Carolina. He is a second-team linebacker heading into this season.
Downer is a transfer from Hampden-Sydney College where he caught 10 passes in 2002, including six that went for touchdowns. He sat out 2003 at Clemson and played 97 snaps as a reserve tight end in 2004. He is looking for his first pass reception. Hunter lettered in 2003 and 2004 and has played in 21 consecutive games as a tight end or special teams player.
Hill Among Nation’s Best at CornerbackTye Hill has been listed among the nation,s top cornerbacks by many preseason publications. He is ranked as the sixth best cornerback in the nation by collegefootballnews.com, seventh by Lindy’s and 16th by Phil Steele. He is ranked as a first-team All-ACC player by a number of services, including the official preseason team by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association at their preseason kickoff at The Homestead in July.
Originally a running back at Clemson in 2002 (he had a 100-yard rushing game as a freshman at North Carolina), Hill made strides in 2003 when he started 11 of the 13 games. He had an interception early in the win over #3 Florida State that set the tone for that game and he went on to be named ACC Defensive Back of the Week. Last year he had 21 passes defensed to rank third in the nation. The Tigers finished 12th in the nation in pass efficiency defense and he had a lot to do with that.
On August 22, collegefootballnews.com released its list of top NFL prospects by position and Hill was ranked fifth. It is interesting to note that five of the top 10 are from the ACC. Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech was listed first, while Will Blackman of Boston College) who will play at Clemson on September 24) was ranked fourth. Miami (FL) teammates Kelly Jennings and Devin Hester were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively. They will both be at Clemson on September 17.
Hill has had an outstanding track career at Clemson, earning All-ACC honors each of the last four years and All-America honors with Clemson’s 4X100 meter relay team that finished second in the nation in 2003 at the NCAA outdoor meet.
Hill’s most significant accomplishment in track might have taken place in 2004 when he won the ACC Indoor championship in the 60 meters and the ACC Outdoor championship in the 100 meters. He became the seventh Clemson track athlete in history to win both sprint events in the same year. The others who have done it include 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Crawford, who did it twice (1998 and 2000).
Hill Preseason Honors for 2005*Writers All-America Watch List *Honorable mention All-American by collegefootballnews.com *First-team All-ACC by Street & Smith *First-team All-ACC by Rivals.com *First-team All-ACC by collegefootballnews.com *First-team Preseason All-ACC by ACC Sportswriters Association *Second-team All-ACC by Athlon *Second-team All-ACC by Lindy’s *Second-team All-ACC by Phil Steele *#5 NFL prospect at cornerback by collegefootballnews.com *#6 Best Cornerback in nation by collegefootballnews.com *#7 Cornerback in the nation by Lindy’s * #16 Cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele *#17 Best Player in the ACC by collegefootballnews.com *Clemson’s “Star of the team” by collegefootballnews.com
Whitehurst Looks to Move up ACC ChartsClemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst ranks in the top 15 in ACC history in two categories. Whitehurst is 15th in total offense and passing yards entering the Maryland game. How high can Whitehurst go on the charts? Based on his career average of 218 yards per game passing and 220 yards per game in total offense, an average Whitehurst year would move him to third in passing yardage and total offense.
He needs 2818 passing yardage this season to become the second quarterback in ACC history to reach 10,000 yards passing and 2750 yards of total offense for the season to become the third quarterback to reach 10,000 yards of total offense. Whitehurst is already first in Clemson history in career passing yardage and second behind Woodrow Dantzler in total offense.
ACC Career Passing Yardage Leaders
ACC Career Leaders in Total Offense
Clemson Record by UniformClemson has used seven different uniform combinations since Tommy Bowden became the head coach in 1999. The Tigers wore all orange for the Texas A&M game and came away with a victory, improving their record to 6-6 under Bowden in all orange.
In 2003, the Tigers broke out purple jerseys for the Georgia Tech game in Atlanta on September 20 and the Tigers gained a 39-3 victory. It was the first time Clemson had worn purple jerseys since the 1991 season when Clemson wore them in a regular season game against NC State and for a bowl game against California.
Clemson will wear a white jersey at Maryland and either white, orange or purple pants. The Clemson seniors don’t decide until game week, sometimes after Thursday practice.
Clemson Record by Uniform Combination Under Bowden Jersey Pant 2005 Record Pct Purple White 1-0 1.000 Purple Orange 4-0 1.000 Orange White 20-6 .769 White Orange 9-9 .500 White White 3-3 .500 Orange Orange 1-0 6-6 .444 White Purple 2-5 .286 1-0 45-29 .608
Quick Notes On Clemson PlayersGaines Adams (DE)–Played eight man football in high school for former South Carolina quarterback Steve Tanneyhill. Curtis Baham (WR)–His father played running back for the Seattle Seahawks in 1987. Charles Bennett (DE)–Clemson’s leading returning tackle for loss player from last year when he had 14. Tramaine Billie (LB)–Wears number-20 because his favorite pro athlete is former Clemson All-American and current Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro Brian Dawkins. Came to Clemson as a running back. Kyle Browning (TB)–Averaged 5.7 yards per rush over his career, best among active Tigers. Duane Coleman (TB)–Had 49 career receptions entering the 2005 season, more than any active Tiger. Team’s leading rusher in 2003. Jad Dean (PK)–Would compete with Charlie Whitehurst as the top golfer on the Clemson team. Shoots consistently in the 70s when he has the time during the summer. Cole Downer (TE)–Senior tight end who has yet to catch a pass, but had six touchdowns among 10 receptions his sophomore year at Hampden-Sydney College. Had three receptions in the opening win over Texas A&M. Marion Dukes (OT)–Had 61 knockdown blocks in 2004, most among returning Tiger offensive linemen in 2005. Dustin Fry (C)–Strongest player on the Clemson team based on a 485-pound bench press. Played his high school football for Summerville’s John McKissick, the winningest coach in high school football history. Jamaal Fudge (FS)–Sixth among active ACC players in career tackles entering 2005. Named by his mother after former Los Angeles Lakers forward Jamaal Wilkes. C.J. Gaddis (CAT)–Member of Clemson’s 2004 NCAA baseball team. Tye Hill (CB)–Starting cornerback who is one of three active Tigers who has had a 100-yard rushing game in his Clemson career. Ranked as fifth best NFL prospect at cornerback by collegefootballnews.com. Steven Jackson (FB)–Transfer from East Tennessee State after the Bucs dropped football. Listed as the top special teams play in the ACC by one preseason publication. Aaron Kelly (WR)–Came to Clemson after former Alabama wide receiver Curt Brown contacted Dabo Swinney while Kelly was in high school. Brown had played with Swinney at Alabama. Reggie Merriweather (RB)–Scored seven touchdowns in the last three games in 2004, including game winner in overtime against Miami (FL). Gave invocation at Clemson graduation ceremony last May. Barry Richardson (OT)–Started eight games at left tackle last year, the most ever by a first year freshman offensive lineman at Clemson. Chansi Stuckey (WR)–Chevrolet Player of the Game in Clemson’s season opening win over Wake Forest on ABC in 2004. Nick Watkins (LB)–In his first year as starting linebacker, his brother played at LSU and passed away in 2004 just prior to Clemson’s game with Florida State. Watkins responded with season high seven tackles. Charlie Whitehurst (QB)–His dad, David Whitehurst, played for nearby Furman in the 1970s and for Green Bay in the NFL. Charlie on the way to becoming accomplished golfer, he won long drive contest at ACC Football kickoff at The Homestead this past July. Bobby Williamson (TE)–Only married player on the team. Starting tight end in 2003, reserve defensive end with five sacks in 2004, who is now back to starting tight end in 2005.
Clemson Has Two New CoordinatorsClemson enters the 2005 with new coordinators on both sides of the football. Vic Koenning comes to Clemson as defensive coordinator from Troy, while Rob Spence comes to Clemson by way of Toledo.
Koenning, a former linebacker at Kansas State, led Troy’s 2004 defense to a top 10 national ranking in scoring defense, rushing defense, yards per play allowed and pass efficiency defense. His team was sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense, eighth in rushing defense and 10th in scoring defense. The only other Division I team to rank in the top 10 in the nation in those three categories was National Champion Southern Cal. Troy’s defense was also first in the nation in interceptions (25) and tied for second in turnovers forced (32) in addition to ranking 16th in total defense.
Spence led Toledo to four consecutive top 13 final rankings in terms of total offense and in the top 25 in scoring, helping the Rockets to 35 wins in four years. Twice in his four years Toledo ranked in the top 20 in the nation in rushing and twice in the top 20 in passing.
Spence guided Toledo to an average of 474 yards and 35.2 points per game in 2004, helping Toledo reach the MAC Championship game and a bowl game. The Rockets gained 2013 yards rushing and 3,676 yards passing, during the regular season of 2004, joining only Louisville, Southern Cal and Oklahoma as 2000/3000 yard offenses in 2004. In each of his four seasons at Toledo, his starting quarterback ranked in the top 16 in the nation in passing efficiency.
Quick Notes on Clemson CoachesBrad Scott (OL)–Son John is a senior on Harvard,s football team in 2005. Son Jeff, who is just 24, is head football coach at Blythewood High School in South Carolina. Jack Hines (TE)–Daughter Jacquelyn is a sophomore on Clemson’s women’s soccer team. Marion Hobby (DL)–In his first year on Clemson staff. Received his first recruiting letter in high school from Clemson. It contained the William Perry lifesize Growth poster. David Blackwell (LB)–In third season at Clemson, he also serves as recruiting coordinator. Clemson had a top 20 recruiting year according to most services in 2005. Burton Burns (RB)–On of two coaches on Clemson’s staff who has been with Tommy Bowden all eight years he has been a head coach. Dabo Swinney (WR)–Played on Alabama,s 1992 National Championship team. His position coach in 1989 at Alabama was Tommy Bowden. Ron West (OLB)–Former Clemson player under Charlie Pell, his son Brad is senior starting linebacker at Appalachian State. Joins Burton Burns as the two assistant coaches who have been with Tommy Bowden all eight years he has been a Division I head coach.
Clemson Announces 2006 Football OpponentsClemson will play road games in major markets Boston and Philadelphia in addition to having ACC road trips to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest according to the list of opponents the Tigers will play in 2006. The slate of Clemson opponents was released on Monday.
Clemson only announced the list of opponents and game sites it will play in 2006. The dates of all games will be determined and released in January, 2006.
Clemson and the other 118 Division I teams will play 12 regular season games in 2006. The Tigers non-conference foes include South Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Temple and Florida Atlantic. All but the Temple game will be played in Clemson Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers will play ACC home games against Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and North Carolina in 2006, while league road games will be at Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Florida Atlantic, who finished with a 9-3 record under Howard Schnellenberger, in 2004, will come to Clemson for the first time ever. Schnellenberger coached Miami (FL) to the 1983 National Championship. Louisiana Tech will travel to Clemson for the second time. Clemson has a 2-0 lifetime record against Louisiana Tech, a 49-24 victory in the Humanitarian Bowl to close the 2001 season, then a 33-13 win at Clemson in the second game of the 2002 season. Clemson and Temple begin a three-year series in 2005 when the Owls come to Clemson on October 22. The two teams will meet in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, in 2006.
North Carolina returns to Clemson’s schedule for the first time since 2003 when the Tigers won a thrilling 36-28 game in Death Valley. It will be the only game between Clemson and North Carolina between 2004 and 2009.
The Tigers travel to Wake Forest in 2006, the second consecutive year Clemson will play in Winston-Salem. Clemson plays at Wake Forest this year on October 1. When Clemson plays at Boston College in 2006 it will be Clemson’s first trip to Boston since the 1983 season when the Tigers suffered their only loss of the year to a Doug Flutie led Eagles team.
Clemson will not play ACC teams Virginia, Duke or Miami (FL) in 2006.
Clemson Opponents in 2006 Home–Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland, Georgia Tech Away–Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Temple, Wake Forest
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