Oct. 12, 2001
RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina State’s defense has yet to surrender the big play. The odds are good Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler will change that this weekend.
No player in the Atlantic Coast Conference has done more against the Wolfpack (3-1, 1-1 ACC) than the elusive Dantzler, who has 610 yards in two games against N.C. State.
Last season, the senior quarterback ran a career-high 100 plays against the Wolfpack, passing for 220 yards and running for 103 in a 34-27 victory by No. 16 Clemson (3-1, 1-1).
This time around, Dantzler had a week to rest after coming off one of his more spectacular games, registering 418 yards in a 47-44 overtime win at Georgia Tech.
“Do you call Dantzler a tailback who throws the ball 25 times a game or do you call him a quarterback who runs the ball 25 times a game?” N.C. State coach Chuck Amato said. “What that means is they take advantage of all 11 players on their offense.”
Amato laughed when asked if the Wolfpack would attempt to use a defensive spy to track Dantzler.
“Who? Who would spy?” Amato said. “Deion Sanders, maybe. He’s retired from the NFL – maybe we can get him for one game. When he throws it, we’ve just got to do a real good job of squeezing the pocket and don’t open up a lot of lanes. That’s discipline.”
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has seen his share of defenses aimed at trying to stop Dantzler, who holds 23 school records. None really has worked.
Bowden said the Wolfpack, with All-American linebacker Levar Fisher in the middle, are sound enough on defense to keep Dantzler, fourth in the nation in total offense, in check if they tackle well.
Heading into Saturday’s game, N.C. State is 17th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 15.5 points a game. No opponent scored more than 17.
“There are not too many tricks in football because it has been played for over 100 years now and they’ve always had 11 guys,” Bowden said. “There are not a lot of things that haven’t been developed.
“Our offense hasn’t been slowed over the years by trick defenses, but by recognition. Week-to-week you have to do certain things to stay ahead of the game.”
Clemson will have an eye on Fisher, who leads the ACC in tackles.
“He runs really, really well,” Bowden said. “If you run away from him his speed will get you. If you run at him he’s pretty good about taking on a blocker and shedding him. Anytime you’ve got a guy who makes so many tackles you always have to know where he is.”
The winner of this game the last three years has scored at least 34 points, so there’s some question whether the Wolfpack’s offense can keep pace with the Tigers, who are averaging 11 more points a game than N.C. State.
By DAVID DROSCHAK AP Sports Writer
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