Sept. 5, 1999
Tigers Face Another Ranked Virginia Team Clemson has beaten a top 20 Virginia team three of the last seven seasons and will have a chance to increase that total on Saturday when the Cavs come to Clemson with a #19 ranking in USA Today. In 1992 Clemson won at #10 Virginia, 29-28, and in 1993 the Tigers defeated the #18 Cavs, 23-14. Clemson won in 1996 at 15th-ranked Virginia, 24-16 in perhaps the biggest win of the Tigers season.
The Cavs were 5-0 entering the 1992 contest,7-2 entering the 1993 game, and 6-2 in 1996 entering the contest. Virgnia won 9-6 in 1994 in the 1,000th football game in ACC history. In 1995 Virginia won at Clemson 22-3, the Cavs first victory ever at Death Valley. Clemson outgained the Cavs 393-303 and outrushed Virginia 180-132, yet still lost the game. Clemson had four turnovers on offense during a five-possession streak and that stat told the story. Virginia also won at Clemson in 1997, meaning they have now won two in a row at Clemson after never gaining victory in Memorial Stadium over the first 40 years of the series.
The Clemson victory in 1992 was a landmark triumph for Clemson, as the Tigers overcame a 28-0 deficit to win, 29-28. That is still the ACC record (involving two ACC teams) for the largest deficit overcome to gain victory. That might be the most ironic record on file, because the comeback was executed by freshman option quarterback Louis Solomon. Now a high school coach in New Jersey, Solomon gained 116 yards rushing in 16 attempts in the victory. Rarely will an option quarterback lead a comeback.
In 1993, Dexter McCleon, making his first appearance at quarterback, rushed for 127 yards in 12 attempts and scored one touchdown to lead the Tigers to the 23-14 win. McCleon, now with the St. Louis Rams as a defensive back, had 127 yards rushing and 102 passing in that game, second highest rushing game in Clemson history for a quarterback. That win over Virginia was the last time Clemson has defeated a top 20 team in Death Valley. Clemson did defeat Georgia Tech in 1996 when the Yellow Jackets were 22nd.
In 1996, it was the rushing of Kelton Dunnican and Raymond Priester that keyed the Clemson victory. Dunnican had a career high 123 yards in just 13 attempts, while Priester had 122 in 20 carries. Five different Clemson players, Anthony Simmons, Raymond White, Mond Wilson, Antwan Edwards and Andy Ford, had at least 10 tackles to lead the Clemson defense. The group’s play was a prime reason Tiki Barber had just 82 yards in 25 carries, breaking his string of consecutive 100-yard games at nine.
Clemson Faces Virginia in ACC Opener This is the second straight year the Cavs have been Clemson’s league opener. The Tigers have struggled in ACC openers in recent years, losing six of their last seven conference openers. Clemson broke a five-game losing streak in ACC openers in 1997 when it defeated NC State, 19-17 in Raleigh. Recently, Clemson played Florida State as its first ACC opponent three times and lost all three of those contests (1992, 1993, 1995). Clemson lost to NC State in its first ACC game in 1994 and lost at North Carolina in 1996 the league opener. Clemson has a 27-18-1 all-time record in ACC openers, 13-9-1 on the road, 13-9 at home and 1-0-0 at neutral site.
Can We Move this Game to November? Clemson holds a commanding 32-5-1 lead in the series with Virginia, but Virginia holds the lead in the series 5-3-1 in the decade of the 1990s. The Cavaliers gained their first victory in the series in1990, by a 20-7 score in Charlottesville. Clemson had won 29 straight games in the series dating back to 1955. Ironically, Clemson’s first win in the series in 1955 was also by a 20-7 score.
Virginia has been a team that has gotten off to a great start in recent years and you can see that in the series with Clemson. Virginia is 4-0 in the month of September against Clemson in the 1990s, but just 1-3-1 in October and November against Clemson in the 1990s. Overall, Clemson is 24-1-1 against Virginia in October and November combined, but just 8-4 in September games against the Cavs.
Clemson has a 17-2-1 record against Virginia in Death Valley over the years and a 15-3 record at Virginia. The only tie took place in 1991, a 20-20 score at Death Valley. Virginia has won four of the last five, including a 20-18 heart-breaker at Charlottesville last season, a result that set a tone for Clemson’s 1998 season. A controversial pass interference call against Clemson’s Antwan Edwards was a key to Virginia’s drive to a winning field goal with under a minute left.
Turnovers & Rushing a Key in Recent Series You can probably make this statement in most football series, but it seems the Clemson/Virginia series is normally determined by rushing margin and turnovers. In the last four meetings between Clemson and Virginia the winning team has had a total of four turnovers, while the losing team has had 14. Last year, Clemson had three turnovers to just two for the Cavs, and Virginia won by two points. In 1997 at Clemson, the Tigers had four turnovers on offense, all in the second half, in a 21-7 loss. Clemson had just one turnover compared to three by Virginia in the Tigers win three years ago. In 1995 Clemson had four turnovers to just one for Virginia, a 22-3 Cavaliers win.
The team that has won the rushing margin, has gone on to win eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams. The only time a team has lost in the last 10 years when it has won the rushing margin was in 1995 when Clemson out-rushed Virginia 180-132, yet lost the game. Virginia won the rushing game 136-101 last year.
Over the last 20 seasons Clemson has rushed for at least 200 yards against Virginia 15 times. The Tigers are 15-0 against Virginia in those contests. Clemson won all 10 games over Virginia in the decade of the 1980s and averaged 316 yards rushing per game, while Virginia averaged just 126.7 yards per game.
In Clemson’s last three wins over Virginia (1992-93-96), Clemson has averaged 342 yards per game rushing and 6.1 yards per rush. In Virginia’s last four wins, Clemson has averaged just 110.3 yards rushing and just 2.8 yards per attempt. Clemson has just 58 total points against Virginia in the last six games.
Marshall 13, Clemson 10 Clemson opened its final season of the century with a three-point loss to Marshall at Death Valley. The game was played in front of 80,250 fans, the third largest opening day crowd in Clemson history. Chad Pennington passed for 333 yards to lead Marshall, now 39-4 under head coach Bob Pruett.
The Tigers were led offensively by quarterback Brandon Streeter and wide receiver Rod Gardner. Streeter connected on 23-36 passes for 187 yards, and also added 12 yards rushing, nearly reaching the 200-yard mark in terms of total offense. Gardner tied a Clemson single game receiving record with 11-111. Clemson wide receivers accounted for 24 of Clemson’s 27 receptions.
The Tigers were led defensively by Robert Carswell and Chad Carson, who had 13 tackles apiece. Clemson had 10 tackles for loss and four sacks to go with two interceptions. Clemson held Marshall to just 13 points and no passing touchdowns. It was the second time in 50 games that Marshall had just 13 points, the first time in 26 games that Pennington went without a touchdown pass.
Marshall had a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, outgaining Clemson 124-13. The Tiger defense settled down in the second quarter and Clemson drove to a field goal at the 9:29 mark, a 42-yarder by Tony Lazzara. That was the score at intermission, 6-3.
There was no scoring in the third period. Clemson took the lead 10-6 with 7:13 left in the game. Javis Austin culminated a 67-yard, 10-play drive with a three-yard scoring run. But, Marshall came back and drove 76 yards in 11 plays to take a 13-10 lead on a Chapman seven-yard scoring run. The drive,which took 6:03 off the clock, actually gained 126 yards of total offense for the Herd, who overcame 17 penalties in gaining the victory.
Clemson had 1:10 left on the clock to tie the score. Brandon Streeter took Clemson 66 yards in nine plays to put the Tigers within a 33-yard field goal of tying the score. But junior Chris Campbell missed the 33-yard attempt. It was the third missed field goal of the game by the Tigers. Lazzara had missed from 29 and 39 yards earlier in the game.
Clemson suffering close losses The 13-10 loss against Marshall was Clemson’s eighth loss by a touchdown or less over the last 15 games. Over the last 12 games, opponents have scored the winning points with less than 70 seconds remaining in the game four times. Virginia, NC State and Georgia Tech did it last year within the last minute, and Marshall scored a touchdown with 1:10 left last Saturday. One a fifth occasion, Clemson fumbled the ball into the endzone at North Carolina with under a minute left, a score that would have tied the game.
In Clemson’s 3-8 season of 1998, Clemson lost five games by a touchdown or less. Clemson closed the 1997 season with two losses by a touchdown or less within the last three games, at North Carolina and against Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Auburn was coached by Terry Bowden, brother of current Clemson coach Tommy Bowden.
Marshall Ends Bowden’s Streak Marshall’s 13-10 victory at Clemson on September 4 ended Tommy Bowden’s personal 12-game winning streak. At Tulane last year, he posted a perfect 11-0 regular season (he was not on the sidelines for Tulane’s bowl victory over Brigham Young). In 1997, he closed the season with a 44-10 win over Houston. The last time he tasted defeat was November 15, 1997, a loss at home to Mississippi by a 41-24 score. Bowden now has an 18-5 record as a head coach.
Over 80, 000 Fans at Opener The estimated crowd of 80,250 for the Clemson vs. Marshall game was the third largest home opening day crowd in Clemson history. The only home openers larger took place in 1989 against Furman (80,508) and against Georgia in 1985 (80,473). As far as the decade of the 1990s is concerned, it was the largest non-South Carolina, no-Florida State crowd since the 1995 Georgia game when 81,670 attended. This was the 28th crowd of at least 80,000 fans in Death Valley’s 58-year history. The record is 85,872 for the 1994 game with South Carolina.
Gardner Ties Clemson Reception Record Clemson wide receiver Rod Gardner tied one all-time Clemson record and set two others in the season opener against Marshall. The junior from Jacksonville, FL caught 11 passes for 111 yards. That is a lot of ones for his night’s work, and that effort has led to his number-one ranking among the receivers in the ACC.
It is still very early (Duke and Wake Forest haven’t even played a game yet), but Gardner does lead the league in receptions per game. He is just ahead of Peter Warrick, the Heisman Trophy candidate from Florida State, who will be on display on national TV on Saturday night when FSU meets Georgia Tech.
Clemson has been a team that has enjoyed success running the ball for many years, so no Tiger has led the ACC in receptions per game since 1980 when Perry Tuttle was the ACC leader. In fact, only Tuttle and Jerry Butler have been Tigers who have led the league in receiving. Thus, it is unusual to see a Clemson receiver at the top of that list.
Gardner’s opening day performance tied the Clemson single game mark held by Phil Rogers, who had 11 receptions at North Carolina in 1965. Gardner’s performance was the most ever for a Tiger in Death Valley (58 years) and the most ever by a Clemson player in the opening game of the season. Six times a Clemson player has had 10 catches in a game. Tony Horne did it twice in his 70-reception season of 1997, while Perry Tuttle had a pair of 10-catch games, one in 1980 and one in 1981. Hank Walker was the first Clemson receiver to have a double-digit reception game, as he had 10 against Auburn in 1947. Charlie Waters, more famous for his exploits as an NFL defensive back, had 10 catches against Alabama in 1969.
Clemson Single Game Reception Bests
No Yds Player Opponent Year11 111 Rod Gardner Marshall 199911 129 Phil Rogers at North Carolina 196510 110 Tony Horne Appalachian State 199710 131 Tony Horne Florida State 199710 148 Hank Walker Auburn 194710 144 Charlie Waters Alabama 196910 124 Perry Tuttle at Wake Forest 198010 151 Perry Tuttle Maryland 1981
Wofford, Lawyer Move up Career Lists While junior Rod Gardner was tying the single game reception record, seniors Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer were continuing their pursuit of the Clemson career record. Ironically, Wofford and Lawyer combined to reach Gardner’s exact numbers. Lawyer caught six for 62 yards, while Wofford had 5-49, or a combined 11 receptions for 111 yards, the totals Gardner accumulated. That is 22 catches for 222 yards by Clemson’s top three receivers, a very productive evening.
With his five catches, Wofford moved into the top 10 in Clemson history. He now has 83 for his career for 1113 career yards. He is just 17 catches away from becoming just the sixth player in Clemson history to accumulate 100 receptions in a career. He is now 10th on the list with his 83 receptions, and is 13th on the yardage list. Fifty-four of those yards came on a touchdown reception from Brandon Streeter at Virginia last year. Lawyer now has 66 catches for his career for 921 yards, good enough for a tie for 15th in total receptions and 17th in reception yardage.
Both players have a chance for a big all-purpose yardage season. Lawyer is the team’s top punt return man, while Wofford will field most of the kickoff returns. Lawyer had 75 all-purpose yards against Marshall, while Wofford had 83 yards.
Dextra Not So Polite in Opener One of the most improved players on the Clemson defense this year is senior cornerback Dextra Polite. A reserve who had played just 170 snaps in 19 games prior to this season, Polite got his senior year off to a great start against Marshall.
The junior college transfer who is in his third year with the Tigers had six tackles in 51 plays last Saturday. He also contributed a tackle for loss, his first career interception, and a pass broken up. He was a prime reason Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Tiger defense, the first time in 26 games he failed to throw a scoring strike. The future NFL signal caller had thrown 70 touchdown passes in his last 26 games.
Polite has been solid all Spring practice and had two interceptions in scrimmages. He followed that with two more thefts in fall scrimmages. Last season he had 16 tackles and three passes broken up for the year. As a member of the 1997 Clemson team he had eight tackles, but half of those were on special teams.
Carswell Records Career Tackle High Clemson free safety Robert Carswell had 13 tackles in the opener against Marshall, his high mark as a Clemson player. That covers a 24-game period, 18 games as a starter. Carswell was all over the field, especially early in the game when he made a couple of touchdown saving tackles in the open field. He had six tackles in the first quarter.
Carswell, a preseason candidate for the Thorpe Award, had 10 first hits in his 72 plays in the secondary. Like Polite, Carswell was a big reason Chad Pennington failed to threw a touchdown pass, holding the Thundering Herd to just 13 points, tied for their lowest point total in 50 games, or since Pennington became the quarterback.
Carswell, who ranked ninth in the nation in total tackles by defensive backs last year, now has 168 tackles for his career and is ahead of the pace set by Terry Kinard, who set a school record for tackles by a defensive back when he had 294 between 1978-82. Carswell now has nine double digit tackle games in his career, including three in a row.
Jones Outstanding vs. Clemson While Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring had to devise a plan to stop the passing of Chad Pennington and the Marshall offense last week, this week he must develop a strategy to stymie the running game of Thomas Jones and the Virginia Cavaliers. Both are ranked among the top seniors at their respective positions in the nation.
Unlike Pennington, the Tigers do have experience against Jones. The experience has not been a pleasant one for the Tigers, as Jones has rushed for at least 100 yards each of the last two years. He had 27-100 rushing and a touchdown in Death Valley in 1997, then had 24-118 in Charlottesville last year. Jones also had 55 receiving yards against the Tigers in that 1997 game, still his career high in that category. Those are strong rushing figures considering Clemson has ranked in the top 15 in the nation in rushing defense each season.
Jones led the ACC in rushing last season with 1303 yards, and ranked 11th in the nation overall. He is the fourth leading returning rusher in the nation for 1999 with his 118.5 yard average. His career high mark game is 207 in 27 carries against Georgia Tech last year.
A first-team All-ACC performer who will be an All-America candidate this year, Jones got his senior year off to a great start with a 35-149 performance against North Carolina last week. His performance was a big reason the Cavaliers won in Chapel Hill for the first time since 1987. Jones is one of seven children in his family, which resides in Big Stone Gap, VA. His brother Julius is a freshman running back at Notre Dame.
Welsh a Model of Consistency The Virginia program has been a model of consistency, recording at least seven wins for each of the past 12 seasons, something only Michigan, Florida State and Nebraska can also claim. Last season Virginia continued that streak with a 9-3 record and another top 20 national ranking. Under George Welsh in 17 previous seasons, the Cavaliers have won 121 games and gone to 10 bowl games. Five times Welsh has been named the ACC Coach of the Year.
A surefire College Football Hall of Fame coach shortly after his retirement, Welsh is the winningest coach in ACC history. He broke Frank Howard’s record with a 13-10 win over Duke in 1997 and now has 76 ACC wins in his tenure at Virginia. Prior to his arrival, Virginia had a 33-121-1 ACC record. Since he arrived, Virginia is 76-45-3 in ACC games.
Welsh is an outstanding coach in terms of Xs and Os, but he will be the first to admit that bringing outstanding players to Charlottesville has been the key. Welsh and his staff have produced seven NFL first-round draft picks since 1986 and he have coached 11 first-team All-Americans. Among his protege’s is Detroit Lions All-Pro receiver Herman Moore.
Streeter, Dantzler Complete 64 Percent Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was certainly not satisfied with his team’s performance in the season opening loss to Marshall. But, he did feel that quarterbacks Brandon Streeter and Woodrow Dantzler were productive. The quarterback pair combined for 27-42 passing, a percentage of 64.3 percent. They threw for a combined 244 yards in the contest, 187 by Streeter and 57 by Dantzler. The two players also combined for 26 yards of rushing, giving them 270 yards of total offense between them.
Streeter started slowly, but picked up steam in the second half. When he had to lead the Tigers to a touchdown to take the lead, he did so. For the game, he completed 23-36 passes. That was the fifth highest single game completion total in Clemson history. Streeter now has 182 career completions, ninth highest in Clemson history, while his 2225 career passing yards is now 12th best. With his 23-36 performance against Marshall, he has moved into the top five in Clemson history in career completion percentage with a .534 mark.
Dantzler was 4-6 passing for 57 yards, including a 45-yard completion to Rod Gardner, Clemson’s longest play of the evening. The play of Streeter and Dantzler was a big reason Clemson showed improvement in the second half. For the third and fouth period combined, Clemson gained 245 yards of total offense and completed 17-24 passes.
Romano Had Solid First Game Ryan Romano was one of many Tigers making his debut in a Clemson uniform last Saturday night. The Tiger punter had seven punts for a 39-yard average. That included four punts inside the 20 and a 56-yard punt. More importantly, Marshall had just seven total punt return yards, so he had a 38-yard net average.
How good is a 38-yard net punting average? The only Clemson punter who has exceeded that average over the course of a season in the last eight years is Chris McInally in 1995, who had a 38.3 net figure. Prior to that you have to go back to Chris Gardocki, who had a 39.3 net figure in 1990, a year in which he was an honorable mention All-American. Gardocki has gone on to an All-Pro career and is now with the Cleveland Browns.
Romano, a red-shirt junior, is in his fourth year with the program, but the Marshall game was his first appearance. A three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll, Romano is studying to be a medical doctor and majors in biological sciences. He is from an athletic, kicking family. His brother Todd was a kicker for Iowa from 1991-95, his brother Chad was a punter at Kansas State between 1992-96 and his older brother Eric was a walk-on tight end at Florida State. His father also played football at Florida State.
Clemson Schedule Gets tougher Clemson’s taxing early season schedule is about to get tougher. It was well documented that each of Clemson’s first five opponents went to bowl games last year. Marshall is ranked 27th in the latest USA Today poll, while each of the next two Clemson opponents are ranked in the top 20 of the same ranking. Virginia, Clemson’s opponent this Saturday, is 19th, while Virginia Tech, Clemson’s foe on a Thursday evening in Blacksburg (September 23) is ranked 11th. After a meeting with North Carolina on October 2, Clemson must travel to 2-0 and 24th ranked NC State on October 9.
Five of Clemson’s future opponents, or half of the remaining schedule, are ranked in the top 25 of the latest USA Today poll. If all five teams hold their ranking when they play Clemson, this would be just the second time in history that the Tigers have played five top 25 teams in the same season. The only previous season that has taken place was in 1988. That year Clemson met the number-10 team twice, the number-25 team twice and the number-22 team once.
Clemson has faced four top 25 teams five previous season, 1956, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997. The 1956 season list of opponents actually consisted of all top 20 teams, the only time Clemson has played four top 20 teams in the same season.
Young Linebackers Combine for 30 Tackles Clemson has been regarded as one of the top linebacker producing schools in the nation. Eleven former Clemson linebackers have been drafted in the last nine years and Clemson has had at least one All-ACC linebacker for 11 straight years. Clemson alumni include current NFL All-Pros Levon Kirkland (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Ed McDaniel (Minnesota Vikings), and first-round draft choice Anthony Simmons (Seattle Seahawks).
This year the three linebacker positions are loaded with young players. The three starting linebackers are all sophomores and Clemson has just one junior and no seniors at linebacker on the roster. Those three sophomores played well in the season opener against Marshall. The Tigers held the Thundering Herd to just 13 points and 61 yards rushing and the play of Keith Adams, Chad Carson and Braxton K. Williams had a lot to do with it.
Carson was the co-leader in tackles with 13, while Adams had 11, including eight first hits. The first-year sophomore also had three tackles for loss, including one sack. Williams, a second generation Clemson gridder, had six tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack. The three players combined for 30 tackles and six tackles for loss on the evening.
Youth is the watchword for Clemson’s team and the defense. Of the top nine tacklers for Clemson against Marshall, just one, Dextra Polite, is a senior.
Young Offensive Linemen Go the Distance Much has been made about the youth of Clemson’s offensive line. This is the first time since 1943 that Clemson does not have a returning starter on the interior line. And, it took a World War for that to happen. The United States government drafted Clemson’s entire junior and senior classes (student body, not just the football team) into military service in the summer of 1943.
This past Saturday, Akil Smith (OT), Will Merritt (OG), Theo Mougros (OG) and John McDermott (OT) made their first career starts. Smith played 240 snaps last year as a first-year freshman, so he had some degree of experience. But, Mougros, McDermott and Merritt all played more snaps against Marshall than they had played previously in their Clemson careers.
McDermott had played 56 snaps prior to Saturday, then played all 76 snaps against the Thundering Herd. Mougros had played 24 snaps, but all of those were as a defensive player. He also went all 76 snaps on Saturday. Merritt had played just six plays prior to Saturday, then played 64 snaps against Marshall.
How did the group do? Of course, Clemson coaches would like to see more points on the boards. But, the Tigers did gain 245 yards in the second half and 348 for the game, ahead of the 304 yards per game Clemson averaged last year when it had a much more experienced line. Tiger quarterbacks were sacked just twice on the evening in 42 attempts.
Turnovers, Rushing Margin Should Mean Victory Clemson had a +1 turnover margin and outrushed Marshall 104-61, yet lost the season opener 13-10 last Saturday. It was an unusual loss for the Tigers because Clemson is now 112-9-2 over the last 22 seasons when it wins the rushing margin and turnover margin in the same game. That computes to a winning percentage of 92 percent.
Clemson Has Young Squad Clemson played 53 players in last week’s loss to Marshall and all but 10 are underclassmen. Of the 41 players who played on offense or defense (non-special teams) 33 are slated to return next year. Twenty-one of the 41 players who were on the offense or defensive units are freshmen and sophomores.
Head Coach Tommy Bowden played nine freshmen against Marshall, including four first-year freshmen. The first-year players who participated were Eric Meekins (DB), J.J. McKelvey (LB), Rodney Thomas (LB) and Marcus Lewis (DE). There were five other red-shirt freshmen who played in the game, tight ends Pat Cyrgalis and Jason LeMay, defensive end Nick Eason, wide receiver Jackie Robinson and and defensive end Bryant McNeal.
Clemson played 19 players on offensive scrimmage plays and just four were seniors, receivers Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer, quarterback Brandon Streeter and fullback Terry Witherspoon. Of the 22 defensive players who appeared in the game, only four of those were seniors: Damonte McKenzie (DT), Dextra Polite (DB), DoMarco Fox (DB) and David Evans (DB).
Tigers in Professional Football Clemson has 21 former players on NFL rosters heading into the first week of the regular season (September 12). The list includes three players off of last year’s team, Rahim Abdullah, Antwan Edwards and O.J. Childress. Lamont Hall, a tight end on the 1997 season who did not play in the NFL last year, is another first-year player.
The list below does not include two players on various injured list. Raymond Priester is on injured reserve with the New York Giants, while Adrian Dingle is on the injured list with the San Diego Chargers. Other players could join NFL practice squads, but those transactions were not known as of this writing.
Terry Allen, one of the top running backs in the league in the 1990s, is in his 10th NFL season and he has the most NFL experience among former Clemson players in the NFL.
The new Cleveland Browns have the most former Tigers with three. Rahim Abdullah, Jim Bundren and Chris Gardocki are all on the Browns roster. That team has former Clemson wide receiver Dwight Clark as its general manager, while former Clemson All-America wide receiver Jerry Butler is the team’s wide receivers coach.
Tigers in the National Football League
Name Pos Team NFL YrsRahim Abdullah OLB Cleveland Browns RTerry Allen RB New England Patriots 9 Mike Barber LB Indianapolis Colts 4Lorenzo Bromell DE Miami Dolphins 1Brentson Buckner DE San Francisco 49ers 5Jim Bundren C Cleveland Browns 1O.J. Childress LB New York Giants R Brian Dawkins DB Philadelphia Eagles 3Antwan Edwards CB Green Bay Packers RLeomont Evans DB Washington Redskins 3Chris Gardocki P Cleveland Browns 8Lamont Hall TE Green Bay Packers RTony Horne WR St. Louis Rams 1Levon Kirkland LB Pittsburgh Steelers 7Dexter McCleon DB St. Louis Rams 2Ed McDaniel LB Minnesota Vikings 7Chester McGlockton DT Kansas City Chiefs 7Trevor Pryce DT Denver Broncos 2Patrick Sapp LB Arizona Cardinals 3Anthony Simmons LB Seattle Seahawks 1James Trapp SS Baltimore Ravens 6
#Practice Squad. $ injured reserve.
Last Meeting in Death Valley, 1997 Virginia 21, Clemson 7 Four second-half Clemson turnovers led to 14 Virginia points as the Cavaliers escaped Death Valley with only their second victory ever, 21-7. The Cavs scored all of their points in a 5:17 span over the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter. The win tied Coach George Welsh with Clemson legend Frank Howard for the most ACC victories with 66.
Clemson scored with 24 seconds to play in the first half to stake a 7-0 lead at the intermission. Clemson took over at its own 40 with 2:07 to play in the half and broke into a hurry-up offense. Nealon Greene scrambled for 16 yards on the first play of the drive. Following a running play, Greene hit Brian Wofford moving over the middle for 20 yards. After an incompletion, Tony Horne hauled in an 11-yarder to the nine. On first-and-goal, Greene went around right end for six and then spiked the ball on second-and-goal to kill the clock. Freshman Javis Austin then rushed up the middle for three yards and his first collegiate touchdown.
Trailing 7-0 midway through the third quarter, Virginia cornerback Dwayne Stukes fell on an errant option pitch to give Virginia possession at midfield. Seven plays later, quarterback Aaron Brooks found fullback Charles Kirby out of the backfield for 25 yards and a touchdown. Brooks finished the day 14 of 26 for 212 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The score tied the game at seven.
Clemson’s ensuing possession again ended in a turnover. This time safety Anthony Poindexter picked off a Greene pass and returned it 22 yards to the Tiger 31. On the first play of the Cavs’ drive, Brooks found tailback Thomas Jones for 24 yards to the seven. After an incompletion, Jones carried the ball the final seven yards to paydirt. Jones carried the ball 27 times for 100 yards on the evening.
The Virginia defense held Clemson three-and-out on its next possession, giving the Wahoo offense the ball at their own 47. Brooks hit receiver Germane Crowell on two of the three plays of the ensuing drive. The first was good for 15 yards, while the second went for 28 and the final score of the night. Crowell had six catches for 100 yards in the game.
The Tigers’ comeback attempt was thwarted by two more turnovers. After getting down 21-7 with 14:16 to play, Clemson marched 55 yards to first-and-goal at the Virginia 5. Tony Horne, who operated some at tailback, was then thrown for a five-yard loss. On second-and-goal, Greene threw over the middle for Horne, but the ball was tipped into the air and into the hands of defensive back Adrian Burnim.
Clemson’s defense then held, giving the offense another opportunity with 7:25 to go. Three first downs later, the Tigers were at the Cavs’ 36. Disaster struck again, when Greene completed a pass to Horne who was then hit in the back, causing him to cough up the football. The fumble was recovered by linebacker Wali Rainer and ended the Tigers hopes of a comeback. During the comeback attempt, Greene completed his last 13 passes, which set a Tiger record.
Last Season at Charlottesville Virginia 20, Clemson 18 Todd Braverman’s 30-yard field goal with 0:49 left in the game gave Virginia a 20-18 victory over Clemson at Scott Stadium. Clemson had rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to take a 18-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Tiger cornerback Antwan Edwards led the Tiger comeback with a 93-yard fumble return for a touchdown. He also had a 85-yard kickoff return earlier in the contest to set up Clemson’s first quarter field goal.
Virginia scored on its second possession when Thomas Jones, who had 118 yards rushing on 24 carries, ran 31 yards off-guard for six. Edwards returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the Wahoo 10, but Clemson could not punch it in, settling for a David Richardson 21-yard three-pointer.
Aaron Brooks, who connected with 10 different receivers, showed his pin-point passing in the following drives as he ended the first half with 210 yards passing on 11 of 14 passing. Brooks hit Kevin Coffey from 20 yards to cap a six-play, 87-yard drive to put the Cavaliers ahead 14-3 with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter.
But Clemson’s “bend but don’t break” defense stepped up for the rest of the game, allowing only a field goal for the last three quarters. Ironically, Clemson’s defense outscored the Cavalier offense 8-3 in the final three quarters of the game.
After Brandon Streeter was intercepted by Adrian Burnim in the second quarter, Virginia set its sight on seven more points from the Tiger seven. But after two stops, Howard Bartley knocked the ball from Brooks while dropping back to pass and Adrian Dingle fell on the ball. At halftime, the Cavs out-yardaged Clemson 309-91.
Clemson’s first drive of the second half stalled, but Kevin Laird landed his punt inside the 10 and the ball was downed at the Cavalier two. After two incompletions, Thomas Jones was tackled on the goal line by a stunting Gary Childress for a safety.
Edwards returned the ensuing punt 39 yards into Virginia territory, but he was stripped and the Cavaliers recovered at their own 37. Virginia drove to the Tiger three-yard line after the turnover. Jason Holloman then stripped Tyree Foreman and Edwards scooped up the ball and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown. The turnover meant the Tiger defense created turnovers on both Cavalier first-and-goal opportunities. Streeter’s two point conversion attempt sailed over Mal Lawyer’s head, leaving the Virginia lead at 17-11.
After a Clemson punt and two Cavalier punts, Clemson drove 87 yards on six plays for its first offensive touchdown. The drive was highlighted by Streeter’s 54-yard pass to Brian Wofford. It was Streeter’s longest hookup of his career and first career touchdown pass. Richardson’s extra point gave the Tigers a stunning 18-17 lead with 12:08 remaining in the game.
After a Clemson holding penalty on third down extended the Virginia drive late in the fourth quarter, the Wahoos faced another third down, this time a third-and-10. Brooks threw over the middle on a short post pattern to Coffey. Edwards knocked the ball away, but was flagged for pass interference. The Wahoos eventually drove the Tiger 12 and Braverman booted a 30-yard field goal inside the left upright for the 20-18 lead and victory.
The Clemson defense, which held Virginia to 2-13 on third downs and just 137 total yards in the second half, was led by Harold Means, who started his first game of ’98. He tallied 11 tackles, three for-loss, and a sack. Edwards, Alex Ardley, and Robert Carswell had two pass breakups apiece as well. Clemson also had five sacks, while Virginia had none.
Hall of Famers Inducted this Weekend This weekend is Hall of Fame weekend at Clemson. This year’s class, the largest and perhaps most prominent in history of the organization (first induction 1973), will be honored during pregame and halftime ceremonies at the Clemson vs. Virginia football game. The list includes two former Clemson football players, and athletes who combined to win five World Championship rings as professionals.
Danny Ford is the only former coach entering the Clemson Hall of Fame this year. He guided Clemson to the 1981 National Championship and posted a 96-29-4 record between 1979-89. Two of his former players are going into the hall also. John Phillips was a two-time All-America guard between 1984-87, while Bubba Brown is still the school’s all-time leading tackler (515). He was first-team All-ACC in 1978 and 1979.
Horace Grant and Jimmy Key are two former Tigers who went on to even more prominence as professionals. Grant was the MVP of ACC Basketball and a second-team All-American in 1986-87. He is still the only ACC basketball player in history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and shoot 65 percent from the field. The current member of the Seattle Supersonics has played on three NBA World Championship teams. Key was first-team All-ACC as a hitter and a pitcher in 1982, then played on a World Series Championship team with Toronto and New York Yankees.
Mark Dickson was the ITCA National Senior of the Year in 1982 as a member of Chuck Kriese’s men’s tennis team. He played professionally for many years and once reached the quarterfinals of the US OPen.
Three women will also be inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame this year. Denise Murphy was a two-time Academic All-American btween 1983-86. Janet Ellison was Clemson’s first female All-American in any sport. She was a six-time All-American altogether between 1977-80. Janet Knight is still second in Clemson history in career scoring in women’s basketball and was a third-team All-American in 1985.
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