Sept. 14, 1999
Opponent: Virginia TechDate: September 23, 1999Site: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA (52,000)Kickoff: 8:00 PM Television: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso Dr. Jerry Punch)
Series Notes: Clemson leads 17-8-1at Blacksburg: Clemson leads 6-1 (won 6 in row)at Lane Stadium: Clemson leads 4-0Last Year: Virginia Tech won 37-0Last Meeting at Lane Stadium: Clemson 27, Virginia Tech 7 (in 1989) Clemson in 1999: 1-1 overall, 1-0 in ACCVirginia Tech in 1999: 2-0 overall, 0-0 in Big East Rankings: 10th in AP, 10th in USA Today
Virginia Tech Coach: Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech ’68)at Virginia Tech: 79-59-2 (13th year)Overall: 121-82-4 (19th year)vs. Clemson: 1-3
Internet Site: www.HokieSports.com
Clemson Coach: Tommy Bowden (West Virginia ’77) at Clemson: 1-1 (1st year)Overall: 19-5, 3rd
ACC Satellite Feed Each Wednesday the ACC provides a one-hour highlight and interview package on the upcoming games in ACC football. The feed is from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM on Telstar 5, transponder 6 (C-band). The downlink frequency is 3820 MHZ and the audio is 6.2/6.8
Tickets: Call Clemson Ticket office 1-800-CLEMSONInternet Site: clemsontigers.com
Clemson Personnel Update
Clemson Veterans vs. Virginia Tech
Keith Adams–Had five tackles, including a caused fumble in 19snaps against the Hokies last year. Alex Ardley–Had a career high10 tackles in 74 snaps in 1998. Terry Bryant-had three tackles in39 plays as a starter in 1998. Robert Carswell-had 9 tackles in 74plays as a starter in ’98. DoMarco Fox-had seven tackles, arecovered fumble and a 30-yard interception return vs. VirginiaTech last year. Jason Holloman had four tackles in 47 snaps as areserve in 1998 vs. Virginia Tech. Mal Lawyer had 2-31 receivingand 3-68 in kickoff returns against VPI in 1998. Damonte McKenzie 4tackles and two quarterback pressures in 43 snaps last year.Brandon Streeter was 6-23 for 64 yards with four interceptions vs.Virginia Tech last year. Brian Wofford had 1-20 receiving againstVPI last year. Travis Zachery–10-15 rushing in 35 snaps vs. VPIlast year.
Tommy Bowden Call-in Show Coach Tommy Bowden is joined by Jim Phillips, the voice of the Tigers, every Thursday evening at 7:00 PM for his Tommy Bowden Call-in Show. The one-hour broadcast can be heard on Clemson radio affiliates across the state. Locally, it is heard on WCCP FM, 104.9 in Clemson.
Bowden Press Conference on the Internet Tommy Bowden’s weekly press conference can be seen and heard at www.clemsontigers.com every Tuesday. The first 25 minutes of the question and answer period will be shown live and then put into the internet site’s archives.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Notes Clemson 33, Virginia 14
Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter completed 24 of 32 passes for a school record 343 yards and linebacker Keith Adams racked up 16 tackles to hold the Virginia running game in check, as Clemson defeated Virginia 33-14 on September 11th at Death Valley. It was Clemson’s first win under Tommy Bowden and Clemson’s first win over a top 25 team in Memorial Stadium since 1996.
Streeter completed 9-10 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. The first score was set up by a sack by Braxton K. Williams. His aggressive play forced a fumble by Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis that was recovered by Jason Holloman. Streeter took the Tigers right in to score on a 43-yard drive. He hit a wide open Brian Wofford with an 18-yard pass for the score.
Clemson’s defense held Virginia on the next drive. Streeter was at it again, taking Clemson 79 yards in 10 plays for another touchdown, this time a 15-yard scoring pass to tight end Pat Cyrgalis. It was the first touchdown reception by a Clemson tight end in 10 years.
Clemson scored two field goals by Tony Lazzara to close the scoring in the first half. At intermission, Clemson had 273 yards of total offense, including 232 passing by Streeter, who connected on 17 of 23 passes. Virginia had 170 yards total offense in the first half, but most importantly, no points.
Clemson put the game away with two touchdowns within the first six minutes of the third period. Clemson took the second half kickoff and drove 77 yards in nine plays. Travis Zachery scored his first touchdown of the year on a two-yard run. Virginia fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Brian Mance recovered. Javis Austin scored five plays later, giving Clemson a 33-0 lead.
Virginia scored two touchdowns in the remaining minutes, but Clemson came away with a 19-point victory over the 19th ranked team. Adams led the defense with 16 tackles, while Chad Carson had 14 and Robert Carswell added 11. Clemson had five sacks on defense and four other tackles for loss.
Two Tigers in Top 25 in Nation in Receiving One of the greatest examples of Clemson’s improvement in the passing games is the presence of two Tiger players among the top 25 pass receivers in the nation. Both Rod Gardner (8th) and Brian Wofford (24th) are listed in the top 25 in the nation on a receptions per game basis. Clemson has had just five players since 1951 rank in the final top 25 of the nation’s pass receivers.
Gardner is tied with Florida State All-American Peter Warrick for eighth in the nation and first in the ACC in receptions per game with an 8.5 figure. Wofford is 24th in the nation and fourth in the ACC in receptions per game with 6.5. A third Tiger, Mal Lawyer, is eighth in the ACC in receptions per game with a 4.5 figure.
Wofford and Gardner are gaining yards on those receptions. Wofford is 29th in the nation in reception yards per game with a 96.0 figure. Gardner is 36th with 88.5 receiving yards per contest.
Here is a list of Clemson players who have ranked in the final top 25 in the nation in receiving:
Year Player Rec/G Rk1951 Glenn Smith *35 19th1953 Dreher Gaskin *22 21st1978 Jerry Butler 4.9 10th1980 Perry Tuttle 4.8 13th1997 Tony Horne 6.2 14th
*Receivers ranked on total receptions
Wofford Records Career High in Receiving Yards Clemson senior wide receiver Brian Wofford had eight catches for 143 yards and one touchdown in Clemson’s victory over Virginia on September 11. The reception yardage total was the highest of his career and the 11th highest total in Clemson history. It was the most reception yards by a Clemson player since Tony Horne accumulated 152 yards on seven catches against Wake Forest in 1997. Wofford’s total against the Cavs was just the third game of 140 yards receiving or more in the decade of the 1990s.
Wofford now has 13 receptions for 192 yards, a 14.8 average. He leads the Clemson team in receiving yardage and plays of 20 yards or more. Wofford, who also returns kicks, leads the team in all-purpose running yards with 128.0 per game. Wofford’s eight receptions against Virginia were his second highest single game total as a Tiger. He had nine catches for 128 yards against NC State in 1998.
Wofford’s 18-yard touchdown reception against Virginia gives him 11 scoring receptions in his career, tied for seventh in Clemson history with Jerry Butler, Joe Blalock and Gary Cooper. Another score will move him into a tie for sixth place with former Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl Champion John McMakin, who played at Clemson between 1969-71.
Lawyer Nearing 1000 Yards Mal Lawyer, also a senior receiver, has nine catches for 103 yards so far this season. He now has 962 receiving yards and needs just 38 yards against Virginia Tech to become the 15th player in Clemson history to reach 1000 receiving yards in a career.
Both Lawyer and Wofford rank in the top 20 in Clemson history in both receptions and reception yards. They have a chance to become the greatest receiving duo (same class) in Clemson history. They have combined for 160 receptions in their career, the fifth highest classmate duo in Clemson history. Perry Tuttle (150) and Jerry Gaillard (66) have the record with 216 receptions between them.
Wofford has jumped to eighth place on the Clemson reception list with 91 and obviously needs just nine catches to become the sixth player in Clemson history to reach triple digits in terms of catches. Lawyer is 13th with 69 receptions. In terms of yardage, Wofford has 1256, now 10th in school history, just one yard ahead of McMakin. Lawyer is 17th in reception yardage with 962.
Clemson Career Reception Leaders
Rk. Player Years Rec 1. Terry Smith, WR 1990-93 162 2. Perry Tuttle, WR 1978-81 150 3. Jerry Butler, WR 1975-78 139 4. Tony Horne, WR 1994-97 120 5. Phil Rogers, WR 1965-67 106 6. John McMakin, TE 1969-71 93 7. Terrance Roulhac, WR 1983-86 92 8. Brian Wofford, WR 1996-99 91 9. Glenn Smith, TE 1949-51 8810. Gary Cooper, WR 1985-89 7911. Keith Jennings, WR 1985-88 7812. Antwuan Wyatt, WR 1993-95 7613. Mal Lawyer, WR 1996-99 69
Sign the Apocalypse is upon us Within the last year Clemson Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez flew to Brigham Young during the offseason to help the Cougars coaching staff improve their passing offense.
Clemson Leads ACC in Passing Clemson leads the ACC in passing offense this week with an average of 293.5 yards per game, 17th best in the nation. The Tigers have not led the ACC in passing offense since 1975 and have done it just three times in history. The other years Clemson led the ACC in passing offense were 1969 and 1957.
So far this year, Clemson quarterbacks have completed 68.9 percent of their passes for 587 yards. The Tigers have 51 completions in two games. To the best of our knowledge, Clemson has not led the ACC in passing at any point over the last 20 seasons.
Clemson is on a school record pace in just about every passing category. Here is a comparison:
Category 1999 Clemson RecordPassing Yards/Game 293.5 191.6 (1997)Completion % .689 .605 (1997)Completions/game 25.5 15.7 (1997)Pass Attempts/Game 37.0 28.1 (1969First downs passing/game 13.5 8.9 (1969)
Streeter National Player of the Week by USA Today Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter was named National Player of the Week by USA Today for his 24-32 passing performance against Virginia. He completed those passes for 343 yards and two scores. The passing yardage total was an all-time Clemson record. He also rushed for 23 yards, giving him 366 yards of total offense, second highest total in Clemson history.
Streeter is the first Clemson offensive player to be named national player of the week by any service since 1966 when Jimmy Addison was named National Back of the Week by Associated Press for his 12-19-283 passing performance in Clemson’s 40-35 win over Virginia. The only other Clemson offensive player to win a national back of the week honor was earned by Harvey White for his performance at Vanderbilt in 1958. The last Clemson player to earn a national player of the week honor was Brian Dawkins for his three interception performance in a win over Duke in 1995.
Four times a Clemson defensive player has been named national defensive player of the week, all by Sports Illustrated.
Clemson National Player of the Week Honors
Year Player, Pos Opponent Service1958 Harvey White, QB Vanderbilt Associated Press1966 Jimmy Addison, QB Virginia Associated Press1974 Willie Anderson, DE S. Carolina Sports Illustrated1978 Bubba Brown, LB NC State Sports Illustrated1980 Willie Underwood, DB S. Carolina Sports Illustrated1995 Brian Dawkins, DB Duke Sports Illustrated1999 Brandon Streeter Virginia USA Today
Streeter Breaks His Own Record Clemson graduate student Brandon Streeter broke his own school passing yardage record against Virginia when he threw for 343 yards. As you can see by the list below, he now owns three of Clemson’s top four passing yardage games in history, three of the four 300-yard passing games in school annals. Streeter has accomplished the top two passing yardage games in Clemson history within his last five games. He had 329 yards through the air against NC State in the ninth game of the 1998 season.
Streeter had 366 yards of total offense against Virginia, the second highest single game figure in Clemson history, the highest in 52 years. You have to go back to the 1947 Auburn game to find the last time a Clemson player gained that many yards in a game. Bobby Gage, an All-American in 1948, had 141 yards rushing and 233 yards passing in a 34-18 victory over Auburn at Death Valley. Last Saturday’s performance was the third 300-yard total offense game of Streeter’s career. He now has three of the 12 300-yard total offense games in Clemson history.
Finally, Streeter has had 23 and 24 completions in the first two games, respectively. Those rank seventh and fifth highest single game figures in school history. Thus, he has three of the top seven single game completion totals in Clemson history.
Heading into games of September 18th, Streeter was 17th in the nation in total offense with 282.5 yards per game, and he was 34th in passing efficiency with a 142.6 figure. He was just four spots behind Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington, who has a 147.5 figure. He is the prime reason Clemson is 17th in the nation in passing yards per game.
Individual Clemson Single Game Passing Bests
Yds Cmp-Att Player Site-Oppon Date343 24-32 Brandon Streeter H-Virginia 9-11-99 329 27-38 Brandon Streeter H-NC State 10-31-98 323 21-43 Thomas Ray A-N. Carolina 11-6-65319 18-32 Brandon Streeter H-Wake Forest 9-26-98286 18-25 Nealon Greene A-Wake Forest 11-1-97283 12-19 Jimmy Addison H-Virginia 9-24-66273 25-55 Patrick Sapp A-Maryland 11-14-92273 12-21 Nealon Greene H-Duke 11-8-97271 21-53 Rodney Williams H-NC State 10-24-87270 20-29 Homer Jordan H-Maryland 11-14-81
Clemson Individual Total Offense Games
Yds Rush, Pass Player Site-Opponent Year374 141, 233 Bobby Gage H-Auburn 1947366 23, 343 Brandon Streeter H-Virginia 1999337 51, 286 Nealon Greene A-Wake Forest 1997335 12, 323 Thomas Ray A-N. Carolina 1965329 0, 329 Brandon Streeter H-N C State 1998326 76, 250 Nealon Greene A-NC State 1997322 116, 206 DeChane Cameron A-S. Carolina 1991
Streeter On Hot Streak last Five Games Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter had his best game as a Tiger against Virginia, but he has been on a hot streak over his last five games, a stretch that goes back to the last three games of 1998. In many ways, Streeter is one of the most improved quarterbacks in the nation from the beginning of last year to his current most recent five games.
In the last five games Streeter has completed 102 of 159 passes for 1186 yards, nine touchdowns and just five interceptions. That computes to an efficiency rating of 139.2 and a completion percentage of 64.2. He has averaged 20.4 completions and 237 yards per game over the five game period.
The 1186 yards passing in the last five games is the most ever by a Clemson quarterback in a five-game period. Nealon Greene had the previous five-game best at 1139 yards during a five-game stretch in 1997.
Here is a comparison of Brandon Streeter’s first 8 games as Clemson quarterback vs. his last five:
Category First 8 Last 5Completions/Game 11.9 20.4Completion % .503 .642Yards/Game 161.5 237.2Yards/Att 6.8 7.5TD/Int 6/11 9/5Efficiency 106.5 139.2
Clemson Triumphs over a Ranked Team Clemson had a landmark victory over Virginia on September 11th. Clemson’s 33-14 win over Virginia was the Tigers first triumph over a top 25 team since 1997. Virginia entered that game ranked 19th in USA Today and 22nd by Associated Press. Clemson had not defeated a top 25 team since 1997 when Clemson downed a 25th ranked (USA Today), NC State team in Raleigh.
Clemson’s victory over Virginia was also a landmark win for many other reasons:
First win over a top 25 team in Death Valley since 1996 whenClemson defeated 22nd ranked Georgia Tech, 28-25. Highest rankedvictory since the 1996 season when Clemson defeated 15th rankedVirginia on the road, 24-16. Largest margin of victory over aranked team since 1992, a 40-7 win over 18th ranked North Carolina.Largest margin of victory over a Virginia team since 1984, a 55-0Clemson win in Charlottesville.
Clemson Faces Top 10 Virginia Tech Team While Clemson gained great confidence in defeating 19th ranked (USA Today) Virginia on September 11th, Tommy Bowden’s team must now meet 10th ranked Virginia Tech. The 2-0 Hokies own wins over James Madison and Alabama-Birmingham. Frank Beamer’s team is one of only 10 teams nationally to go to a bowl game six straight years. The program has ranked in the final top 25 of at least one poll five of those six seasons. That includes a #19 ranking in USA Today in the final poll last season.
With its 33-14 win over Virginia, Clemson now has a chance to record victories over top 25 teams in consecutive games, something the Tigers have not done since 1988. Clemson has defeated a top 25 team in consecutive games just three times in history, all in the 1980s under Danny Ford. In 1988, Clemson downed #25 South Carolina in the final regular season game, then stopped #10 Oklahoma in the Citrus Bowl, 13-6. In 1982 and 1983 Clemson defeated top 20 teams from North Carolina and Maryland on consecutive Saturdays.
Highest Ranked Wins Away from Home A win for Clemson over 10th-ranked Virginia Tech would tie for Clemson’s second highest ranked road win in Clemson history. The 1981 Tigers defeated 8th ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill and that is the Clemson record for the highest ranked road victory in history.
Clemson last defeated a top 10 team on the road in 1992. Clemson trailed 10th ranked Virginia 28-0 in Charlottesville. The Tigers then went on a 29-0 run to close the game, scoring the game winner on a field goal by Nelson Welch with 55 seconds left. Regardless of site, Clemson has eight wins over top 10 teams in its history, three in Death Valley.
Clemson has had success against ranked teams on the road in this decade. Four times in the 1990s Clemson has gained wins over ranked teams on the opponent’s home field. The 1997 win at 25th ranked NC State was the last time Clemson downed a ranked team on the road.
Clemson’s Top 10 Victories
Year Opponent Site Rk Score1981 Georgia Clemson, SC 4 13-31981 Nebraska Miami, FL 4 22-15 1959 Texas Christian Houston, TX 7 23-71981 North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 8 10-81967 NC State Clemson, SC 10 14-61983 North Carolina Clemson, SC 10 16-31988 Oklahoma Orlando, FL 10 13-61992 Virginia Charlottesville, VA 10 29-28
Clemson’s Top 25 Wins On Opponent’s Home Field
Year Opponent Rk Score1948 Wake Forest 19 21-141950 Wake Forest 17 13-121950 Miami (FL) 15 15-141954 Florida 14 14-71959 North Carolina 12 20-181977 Georgia 17 7-61978 Maryland 11 28-241981 North Carolina 8 10-81982 Maryland 18 24-221983 North Carolina 10 16-31986 Georgia 14 31-281989 Florida State 16 34-231992 Virginia 10 29-281994 North Carolina 12 28-171996 Virginia 15 24-161997 NC State 25 19-17
Clemson Facing Tough Schedule in 1999 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 25th in the latest USA Today poll, while Virginia Tech, Clemson’s foe on a Thursday evening in Blacksburg (September 23) is ranked 10th. After a meeting with North Carolina on October 2, Clemson must travel to 3-0 and 20th ranked NC State on October 9. Of course, Clemson must also face number-one ranked Florida State on October 23rd and #13 Georgia Tech on November 13 in Atlanta.
Four of Clemson’s future opponents are ranked in the top 25 of the latest USA Today poll. This would be just the second time in history that the Tigers play 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.
Clemson on Thursday Evening This will be just Clemson’s second Thursday night game since ESPN adopted the package a few years ago. Clemson was the last ACC team to play a Thursday night game and that took place last year when Clemson played host to Georgia Tech and suffered a 24-21 defeat. Georgia Tech was ranked 22nd in the nation entering that game and ended the season ranked ninth in the nation in both final polls.
Now, Clemson must face another ranked team on a Thursday night game. This will be Clemson’s first road Thursday night game. Prior to last year, Clemson had not played a Thursday game since 1963 when the South Carolina game was moved to Thanksgiving Day due to the death of President John F. Kennedy.
Two Sophomores Win ACC Player of the Week Honors Two of Clemson’s starting linebackers were named ACC Defensive players of the week for their performance in Clemson’s victory over Virginia on September 11. Keith Adams and Braxton K. Williams were honored by the conference, but fellow linebacker Chad Carson also did his part. All three players recorded career highs in tackles and combined for 39 total tackles.
Adams was named ACC Defensive lineman of the Week. The native of Georgia had a team best 16 tackles, including four for loss and one sack against Virginia. He was a big reason Thomas Jones failed to get 100 yards rushing and Virginia had just 112 yards for the entire game on the ground, well below their ACC best 213 yards rushing per game of a year ago.
Williams had a career high nine tackles and provided the Clemson team with the two biggest defensive plays of the game. In the first period he sacked Virginia QB Dan Ellis and forced a fumble in the process. Clemson recovered and drove for a touchdown. In the second period he dove to keep a loose ball in bounds, allowing Clemson to recover at their own 15 and end an almost certain Cavalier scoring drive.
Carson was not honored by the league, but he had 14 tackles, his high total as a Tiger. Carson and Adams now have 27 tackles for the year and they are the co-leaders in the ACC in terms of tackles per game.
Cyrgalis Breaks Tight End TD Drought Tight end Pat Cyrgalis ended a 10-year drought when he caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Streeter against Virginia. He became the first Clemson tight end in the decade of the 1990s to catch a scoring pass. You have to go back to a Stacy Fields four-yard scoring pass from Chris Morocco in 1989 against NC State to find the last time a Clemson tight end caught a touchdown pass. Cyrgalis has one reception in each game so far this season. He is a converted fullback who is a red-shirt freshman from New Jersey.
Tigers Lead ACC in Sacks Clemson ranks 27th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 13.5 points per game. The squad is also 31st in rushing defense, allowing just 86.5 yards per game. A good pass rush has been a big reason for the defensive success. Clemson led the ACC in sacks last year with 37 and they are at the top of the league again this year with nine in the two games. It has been a sack by committee defense as seven different players have collected the nine sacks. Keith Adams and Braxton Williams have two sacks apiece. Adams leads the ACC in tackles for loss with seven.
It has been a consistent defensive effort for the Tigers. In the first game, Clemson held Marshall ot 13 points, then Virginia scored 14. The Tigers had four sacks in the opener and five in the second game. Clemson had 10 minus yardage plays in the opener, nine in the Virginia game. The Tigers have yielded one rushing touchdown in each game. The team had 56 first hits credited in each game.
Clemson Improved in Turnover Margin One of the areas Tommy Bowden has stressed in the Spring and preseason has been improving the Tigers turnover margin. Clemson was -11 for the year and ranked 103rd in the nation out of 112 teams in 1998 in that important stat. Clemson is +2 in turnover margin and Clemson ranks 27th out of 114 teams so far this season.
Tigers Face Former Tigers Two coaches for Virginia Tech will be coaching against their alma mater on Sept. 23. Ricky Bustle and Dan Pearman are both Clemson graduates and former Clemson players who will be involved in the Virginia Tech braintrust. Bustle is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Virginia Tech and is a 1977 Clemson graduate. Pearman is the tight ends and offensive tackles coach at Virginia Tech and has two degrees from Clemson, his undergrad in 1987 and his graduate degree in 1989.
Bustle was a three-year letterman for the Tigers in 1974-75-76. He had 16 catches for 258 yards and two TDs in his career. His touchdowns came in consecutive games his sophomore year, against Tennessee and Wake Forest. He has been an assistant coach at Virginia Tech since 1987 with the exception of 1994, when he was at South Carolina. That was the year the Gamecocks gained their only victory in a bowl game.
Pearman started all 11 games for the Tigers 1987 ACC Championship team that defeated Penn State, 35-10 in the Citrus Bowl. He caught a pass in that game, the worst bowl game defeat in Joe Paterno’s career. Pearman coached at Alabama between 1990-97, earning a National Championship ring with the Tide in 1992.
Clemson Graduates in College Coaching This is quite a year for former Clemson players in coaching. In addition to the two former Tigers coaching for Virginia Tech, two former Tiger players are serving as head coaches. Bobby Johnson is the head coach at Furman, while Mike O’Cain will play host to the Tigers in Raleigh October 9. His NC State team is ranked 20th in the nation this week. There are many other former Tiger players in college coaching this year.
Here is a list:
Name at CU Current School Position Ricky Bustle 1973-76 Virginia Tech Offensive Coor.J.C. Harper 1985-88 McNeese State Defensive LineLawson Holland 1972-74 Florida Wide ReceiversBobby Johnson 1970-72 Furman Head CoachChris Lancaster 1985-87 Sam Houston St. Offensive LineKevin Mack 1980-83 Texas Southern Running BacksArlington Nunn 1987-90 Stephen F. Austin SecondaryMike O'Cain 1973-76 NC State Head CoachDanny Pearman 1984-87 Virginia Tech Offensive LineTodd Schonhar 1985-88 Sam Houston St. Wide ReceiversRon West 1977-78 Clemson Offensive Line
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Series This is the second straight year that Clemson and Virginia Tech will meet on the gridiron. Virginia Tech defeated Clemson 37-0 in Death Valley last season. That was the first meeting between the two teams since 1989. The series actually dates to 1900 when Clemson defeated Virginia Tech 17-5 to increase its record to 5-0-0 on the way to a perfect 6-0 mark under first-year coach John Heisman.
Clemson has a 17-8-1 lead in the series, including a 6-1 record in games played in Blacksburg, 4-0 in Lane Stadium. Clemson has won six in a row in Blacksburg and has not lost on Virginia Tech’s home field since 1923. The Tigers are 3-1 against Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and have won 12 of the last 14 against any VPI coach. Clemson was 6-1 against Virginia Tech in the decade of the 1980s.
Bill Dooley led the Hokies to a 20-14 win in Death Valley in Clemson’s season opener in 1986. Both teams went on to bowl games and a top 20 final ranking. A key play in the game took place when Virginia Tech’s Mitch Dove recovered a blocked Bill Spiers punt in the endzone for a touchdown. Spiers went on to an outstanding season as Clemson’s punter, averaging nearly 40 yards a punt. He of course was noted as a Tiger All-American baseball player and is now with the Houston Astros.
Defense was a key in Clemson’s three victories in 1987-88-89 over Virginia Tech. The Tigers allowed just 24 points in those three games and one of those touchdowns was on a 90-yard kickoff return for a score by Marcus Mickel in 1989 at Virginia Tech. Levon Kirkland, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in that game.
Offspring of Tiger Coaches 3-0 Three members of the Clemson coaching staff have sons that are starters on the local Daniel High Football team. Daniel is 3-0 so far this year and is the defending state champion. Head Coach Tommy Bowden, assistant head coach Brad Scott and offensive line coach Ron West all have sons starting for the Daniel High team. Coach Bowden’s son Ryan is a tight end, while Brad Scott’s son John is also a starter on the team. Scott has a son, Jeff, who is a wide receiver on the Clemson team. Ron West’s son Brad is an offensive lineman on the Daniel team.
All three coaches have made at least parts of the Daniel High games so far this year, including last week’s win at Wren High in Anderson.
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 Has Suffered close losses The 13-10 loss against Marshall was Clemson’s eighth loss by a touchdown or less over the last 16 games. Over the last 13 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. On 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.
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. He added six more receptions for 66 yards in the win over Virginia.
It is still very early but Gardner does lead the league in receptions per game. He is tied with Peter Warrick, the Heisman Trophy candidate from Florida State. 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
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 25-game period, 19 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.
He added 11 tackles in the second game, a 19-point win over Virginia. He now has 24 tackles for the season.
Carswell, a preseason candidate for the Thorpe Award, had 10 first hits in his 72 plays in the secondary against Marshall and now has 20 first hits for the year. 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 179 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 10 double digit tackle games in his career, including four in a row.
Young Offensive Linemen Go the Distance Much has been made about the youth and lack of size 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.
In the opener 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.
Four players again went the distance against Virginia. Young, Smith, T.J. Watkins and John McDermott all went the distance against Virginia. They were major reasons Clemson gained 447 yards of total offense, high total in the last two years, and allowed just one sack.
Turnovers, Rushing Margin Should Mean Victory Clemson had a +1 turnover margin and outrushed Marshall 104-61, yet lost the season opener 13-10. 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 the season opening loss to Marshall and all but 10 are underclassmen. Of the 42 players who played on offense or defense (non-special teams) 33 are slated to return next year. Twenty-one of the 42 players who were on the offense or defensive units are freshmen and sophomores. Twenty-six of the 42 players who played on scrimmage plays saw career highs in plays against Marshall.
Head Coach Tommy Bowden played 10 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), Brian Mance (DB) 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 23 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).
Clemson Has 19 on NFL Opening Day Rosters Clemson had 19 former players on NFL opening day rosters heading into the first week of the regular season (September 12). The list includes two players off of last year’s team, Rahim Abdullah abd Antwan Edwards. A third player, O.J. Childress, is on the practice squad for the New York Giants.
The list below does not include three players on various injured list. Raymond Priester is on injured reserve with the New York Giants, Jason Gamble is on injured reserve with the Tennessee Titans, and Adrian Dingle is on the injured list with the San Diego Chargers.
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.
Seventeen of the former players are defensive players, an example of Clemson’s defensive prowess in recent years. The list includes six linebackers, Levon Kirkland, Ed McDaniel, Rahim Abdullah, Anthony Simmons, Patrick Sapp and Mike Barber. O.J. Childress is a seventh former linebacker, Childress is on the practice squad for the Giants.
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 1#O.J. Childress LB New York Giants R Brian Dawkins DB Philadelphia Eagles 3$Adrian Dingle DE San Diego Chargers RAntwan Edwards CB Green Bay Packers RLeomont Evans DB Washington Redskins 3$Jason Gamble C Tennessee Titans RChris Gardocki P Cleveland Browns 8Tony 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 7 $Raymond Priester RB New York Giants 1Trevor Pryce DT Denver Broncos 2Patrick Sapp LB Arizona Cardinals 3Anthony Simmons LB Seattle Seahawks 1James Trapp SS Baltimore Ravens 6
#Practice Squad. $ injured reserve.
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