Sept. 16, 2002
Game Four: Ball State at Clemson
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002 1:00 PM (EST) Memorial Stadium Clemson, SC
Television Replay: CSSPlay By Play: Matt HogueColor: Will Merritt
Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports PropertiesPlay By Play: Jim Phillips Color: Rodney WilliamsSideline: Pete Yanity
Series History: Clemson leads 1-0
Download Complete Release in Adobe Acrobat format
Clemson and Ball State Coming Off Big Wins Both teams in Saturday’s game between Clemson and Ball State will be entering Death Valley after emotional home victories last weekend. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech 24-19 thanks to the first career interception by Eric Sampson at the Clemson 16-yard-line with just 1:12 left in the game. Ball State defeated state rival Indiana State 23-21 in Muncie last Saturday.
Clemson showed a much improved offense and the continued improvement of its defense in gaining its second straight victory over Georgia Tech, and handing Chan Gailey his first loss as Georgia Tech head coach. The Tigers had a balanced attack with 195 yards rushing and 176 yards passing.
Derrick Hamilton had the best all-around game of his Clemson career with 256 all-purpose yards, fifth best in Clemson history. A receiver by trade, Hamilton had 97 yards rushing in just five attempts. That performance included a 77-yard run in the first period that gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead. It was the longest run by a Clemson player since 1993 when another Derrick, Derrick Witherspoon, raced 89 yards for a score against Maryland.
Hamilton also had a 79-yard punt return in the game and finished the day with 96 yards on punt returns. It was the longest punt return by a Tiger since Brian Mance went 88 yards against Georgia Tech in 2000. Hamilton came close to becoming the first player in Clemson history with at least 100 yards rushing and 100 yards in punt returns in the same game. Hamilton’s 256 all-purpose yards were just 18 short of Terrence Flagler’s single game record of 274 at Wake Forest in 1986.
Willie Simmons had another solid performance hitting 18-31 passes for 176 yards and two scores. His favorite target in terms of yardage was senior walk-on Willie Simmons that resembled an Edward Scott chest pass in an ACC basketball game.
Yusef Kelly supported Hamilton with a workman like 20 carries for 89 yards, including a 25-yarder late in the fourth quarter when Clemson was trying to run time off the clock. But, it was the defense in the end that made key plays for the Tigers. Georgia Tech drove to the Clemson 29 with under 1:30 left. But A.J. Suggs pass over the middle was intercepted by Sampson, who returned the theft 35 yards to ice the game for the Tigers.
The play might have erased the memory of last year’s Virginia game, also the third contest of the year. A year ago Clemson led Virginia 24-20 with under two minutes left. The Cavaliers drove 44 yards to score the winning touchdown with just one second left. This time Tech trailed Clemson by almost the same score (24-19), but the Tiger defense came up with the turnover to clinch the victory.
Sampson Interception Ends Georgia Tech Threat Clemson sophomore Eric Sampson intercepted a Georgia Tech pass at the Clemson 16 with just 1:12 left and returned the theft 35 yards to ice the 24-19 victory for the Tigers in Death Valley on September 14th. Clemson then ran out the remaining time to clinch the victory.
Sampson’s interception marked the first time since 1993 that a Clemson player came up with a turnover inside Clemson territory within the last two minutes with Clemson leading by seven points or less. In other words it was the first time in nine years that a defensive player made a game saving turnover with two minutes or less left.
The last time it happened was in 1993 at Duke when Dexter McCleon, now with the St. Louis Rams, intercepted a Duke pass at the Clemson eight-yard line with just three seconds remaining. Clemson held on for a 13-10 victory. That was actually the second straight week a defensive player made a game saving play late in the contest. The previous week, October 2, 1993, linebacker Tim Jones broke up an NC State pass in the endzone with :00 on the clock to give Clemson the victory. The Pack snapped the ball from the Clemson 12 on that down.
Clemson fans have suffered through some close last second losses in recent years. Seven times since 1997 the opposition has driven for a winning field goal or touchdown with inside two minutes left in the game. That included last year in the third game of the season when Virginia scored with just one second left to defeat the Tigers 26-24. It also had included the last two times Georgia Tech had come to Clemson. They scored a touchdown with a minute left to defeat Clemson 24-21 in 1998 and scored a touchdown with seven seconds left in 2000 to defeat a third ranked Clemson team, 31-28.
Ball State Comes to Clemson Off Big Victory Ball State will come to Clemson off a two-point victory over Indiana State. The two schools are state rivals, but had not played since the 1991 season. Senior Marcus Merriweather rushed 27 times for 146 yards and three scores to lead Ball State.
The Ball State offense was balanced and efficient. The Cardinals of Bill Lynch had 185 yards rushing as a team, and quarterback Tallmadge Hill completed 20-26 passes for 150 yards. Jason Barnes led the receivers with seven catches for 54 yards.
Lorenzo Scott leads the Ball State defense with 23 tackles, including 11 stops in the win over Indiana State. Douglas Owusu had an interception, a tackle for loss and five tackles to provide support. Ball State’s defense gave up one big play, an 84-yard pass completion. The Cardinals were sound other than that play, allowing Indiana State to convert on third down just 2-9 occasions
Eason Has Big Day against Georgia Tech Nick Eason had a lot to do with Clemson’s victory over Georgia Tech. The graduate student had two tackles for loss and three total tackles for loss in the victory. He was a big reason Tech quarterback A.J. Suggs had -50 yards rushing in the game. Eason had six tackles and two quarterback pressures.
It marked the first time in Eason’s career that he had two sacks and three tackles for loss in the same game. He now has 25 career tackles for loss, first among active Clemson players. Clemson’s defense had five sacks against Georgia Tech and continually forced pressure on A.J. Suggs. Clemson allowed just 303 yards of total offense and the Tigers now allow 266 yards per game for the season. That is an improvement of nearly 130 yards per game over last year.
Second Meeting between Tigers and Cardinals This will be the second meeting between Clemson and Ball State on the gridiron. The two teams met at Clemson on September 5, 1992 and the Tigers came away with a 24-10 victory under Head Coach Ken Hatfield. It was the season opener for both clubs.
Clemson entered the game 13th in the country according to Associated Press and was coming off a 9-2-1 season and an ACC Championship. But, the Tigers had lost many outstanding players to the pro ranks, including Chester McGlockton and Levon Kirkland, who are both still in the NFL today.
The contest proved to be a defensive struggle as the two teams both failed to reach 330 yards of total offense. In fact, Ball State out-gained Clemson 328 to 291 and ran 84 plays to Clemson’s 65. The Tigers ran the ball successfully, gaining 255 yards, while Ball State had 208 yards through the air.
Clemson was led by Rodney Blunt, who had 20 carries for 96 yards. Ronald Williams, who is still a professional in the Canadian Football league, added 8-58 rushing and a touchdown. Williams was coming off a 1991 season in which he had suffered a torn ACL. Quarterback Richard Moncrief had 10-57 rushing, but completed just 4-11 for 36 yards in Clemson’s option offense.
Ball State’s offense was led by Mike Neu who completed 25 of 48 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown, and Corey Croom, who rushed 32 times for 135 yards. The carry total is still fifth most ever against Clemson.
The Clemson defense was led by Tim Jones, who had 12 tackles, an interception and two tackles for loss, and Robert O’Neal, who had 11 tackles. Brentson Buckner, now in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, had nine tackles.
Clemson held just a 10-7 lead at intermission, as a five-yard scoring pass from Neu to Brian Oliver with just 12 seconds left in the half made the score a three-point game at intermission. Clemson scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, however to put the game away.
The only Clemson coach still around who coached in that game is Tigers wide receivers coach Rick Stockstill. Current Ball State Head Coach Bill Lynch, was the Ball State offensive coordinator for that game, while Bob Bartolomeo, the current defensive coordinator, was the inside linebackers coach on that Cardinal staff. Rich Spisak, currently offensive coordinator, and Scott Pethtel, current outside linebackers coach, also coached for Ball State in that game.
Clemson and Ball State are scheduled to meet again at Clemson on November 2, 2006.
ACC vs. MACBelieve it or not, today’s game between Clemson and Ball State is one of three matchups of the Atlantic Coast Conference vs. the Mid-American Conference on Saturday. Heading into games of September 21, the MAC had a 2-1 lead in head-to-head matchups so far this year. In addition to the Clemson vs. Ball State game Saturday, Akron will play at Virginia and Eastern Michigan travels to Maryland in the other MAC vs. ACC matchups. Earlier this year, Miami (OH) won at North Carolina, 27-21 and Wake Forest lost at Northern Illinois 42-41 in overtime.
The ACC’s only win over the MAC so far this year took place at Maryland, where the Terps defeated the Akron Zips, 44-14 on September 7. Clemson has a 1-1 lifetime record against the MAC. The Tigers defeated Ball State, a member of the MAC since 1973, by a 24-10 score in 1992.
Marshall defeated Clemson 13-10 in 1999, the first game of the Tommy Bowden era. The only previous contest for Ball State against an ACC team was at Clemson in 1992.
Merriweather Will Challenge Clemson Defense Clemson’s defensive front seven will have its hands full this Saturday when it faces one of the top running backs in the nation. Ball State senior Marcus Merriweather is a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate who has the stats to back up his candidacy. He is one of 10 returning starters for Ball State’s offense this year. Merriweather already has a pair of 1000-yard seasons to his credit, as he ranked 10th in the nation a year ago with a 124.4 yard average. He set a school record with 1244 yards and was a first-team All-MAC performer. In 2000, as a sophomore, he gained 1004 yards (exact same total Woody Dantzler had last year) to rank 26th in the nation on a per game basis.
Merriweather needed just 1,100 yards this year to become the school’s career leader. That record is held by Bernie Parmalee, who played at Ball State from 1987-90 before a nine-season NFL career with Miami and the New York Jets. Parmalee was the only Miami Dolphins running back to have consecutive 100-yard rushing games between 1994-01. Merriweather had seven 100-yard games last year after recording four 100-yard performances over the last five games of his sophomore year. That stretch run included a career best 257 yards in 42 carries against Central Michigan on October 28th. That performance shows the durability of the 6-1, 215 pound running back from Fort Wayne, IN.
So far this year Merriweather is among the national rushing leaders with 261 yards in 53 attempts in two games, an average of 130.5 yards per game. He has gone over 100 yards in each of the first two games. He also has four receptions out of the backfield.
Facts About Ball State
The list of Ball State alums includes CBS Late Night talk showhost David Letterman. Other well known Ball State alums includeJames Davis, the creator of the cartoon “Garfield the Cat”, KentNelson, CEO of UPS, ESPN Sportscenter anchor Betsy Ross, and Dr.John Seffrin, Chief Executive Officer of the American CancerSociety. The Ball State record for yards per carry over the courseof a career is held by Merv Rettenmund, who went on to play 13years and over 1000 games in the Major Leagues with four teams,including the Baltimore Orioles. Rettenmund averaged 7.6 yards percarry between 1962-64 for the Cardinals. Ball State has been amember of the MAC conference since 1973. It has had a football teamsince 1924. It last won the MAC and went to a bowl game in 1996when it was 7-1 in the conference and 8-4 overall. Both teams canboast of academic excellence. Clemson has eight graduate studentson its team this year, including seven starters, most on one teamin school history. Ball State had a team GPA of 2.90 for the springsemester last year and 36 players had a GPA of 3.0 or better. Bothschools are similar in size when it comes to enrollment. Ball Statehas a student enrollment of 17,622, just about 500 more thanClemson’s enrollment figure. Both schools have athletic directorsin their first years with the program. Clemson’s Terry Don Phillipscame to Clemson from Oklahoma State in July, while Ball State’sBubba Cunningham came to Ball State after serving as an associateAD at Notre Dame in August.
Clemson Defense Much ImprovedClemson continued to show improvement on defense in its 24-19 victory over Georgia Tech. The Tigers held the Yellow Jackets to 303 yards of total offense and just 102 yards rushing. Seventy-two of those yards came on one rushing play. Clemson allowed just 293 yards of total offense to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs the previous week, the second straight game the opposition has failed to reach the 300-yard mark. Clemson had allowed the opposition at least 300 yards in 17 straight games heading into the 2002 season. So far this year Clemson is 17th in the nation in total defense and 19th in rushing defense. Clemson was not in the top half of the nation in those categories last year. Clemson has now given up just 799 yards of total offense in three games, an average of 266 yards per game. Clemson allowed 395 yards a game last year, so it is easy to see the 266 figure for the first three games this year is considerably better. Clemson has allowed just 4.1 yards per play, much improved from the 5.3 allowed per play a year ago. Many of the times the opposition has scored it has been the result of difficult field position after a turnover or a long kick return. Over the first three games the opposition has taken possession of the ball at their own 38 or worse 28 times. They have driven for a touchdown just three times in those 28 possessions. The defense had a streak of 18 straight possessions without yielding a touchdown in that situation broken in the Georgia Tech game. Forcing turnovers has also been a plus. Clemson has forced nine turnovers in three games. It took Clemson seven games to reach nine forced turnovers a year ago. Clemson has a +3 turnover margin through three games, a reversal of the -5 turnover margin Clemson had last year. Clemson is currently 29th in the nation in turnover margin at +1.0 per game.
What is especially encouraging to Clemson coaches is that Clemson has achieved these numbers against teams that are solid on offense. Georgia has eight offensive starters returning from a team that averaged 432 yards a game last year, but got just 203 yards against Clemson. Louisiana Tech averaged over 400 yards and 30 points a game last year, but got just 13 points and 293 yards against Clemson. Georgia Tech also has a bright offensive outlook and currently is fourth in the ACC in total offense with an average of nearly 400 yards per game.
Clemson Defense Comparison
Category 2001 Avg2002 First Downs/Game 21.9 16.0 Total Yards/Game394.9 266.0 Rushing Yards/Game 154.3 89.3 Passing Yards/Game 240.6177.0 Yards/Play 5.3 4.1 Yards/Reception 13.4 9.2 Yards/rush 3.82.8 Turnovers Forced 1.58 3.0
John Lovett New Clemson Defensive CoordinatorJohn Lovett, defensive coordinator at Auburn for the last three seasons, was named Defensive Coordinator at Clemson last spring. Lovett has been an assistant coach at the college level for 23 years, including 13 seasons as a defensive coordinator. He has experience working with all levels of the defense, but has spent most of his seasons in the game coaching the secondary and outside linebacker position. Lovett is coaching the secondary at Clemson. Jack Hines, who coached the secondary at Clemson the last three years, has moved to the linebackers.
Lovett helped Auburn to bowl games each of the last two years. His 2000 defense ranked 14th in the nation in total defense and 15th in rushing defense, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan. Auburn won the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference that season.
In 2001, his defense had a lot to do with Auburn’s berth in the Peach Bowl. One of Auburn’s victories was a 23-20 triumph over then #1 ranked Florida. Lovett’s defense held Florida to 20 points, -36 yards rushing and 328 yards of total offense, season lows in all three categories for Steve Spurrier’s team that finished the season ranked third in the nation. The Tigers also forced five turnovers in the game, including four interceptions of passes thrown by Heisman Trophy finalist Rex Grossman. Lovett’s defense also held Georgia’s high-powered attack to but 17 points in a 24-17 Auburn triumph.
The 51-year-old coach, who was born in Nyack, NY, worked under Tommy Tuberville, the last seven years, four at Mississippi (1995-98) and three at Auburn (1999-01). He coached the secondary all four years he was at Mississippi, including the 1997 season when the Rebels had an 8-4 record, including a victory in the Ford Motor City Bowl.
Prior to coming to Mississippi in 1995, Lovett worked as defensive coordinator at the University of Maine for two stints. He first went to Orono in 1985 and served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 1985-88. He also served as defensive coordinator for the Black Bears in 1994. The 1987 team won the conference championship and qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs.
Clemson Celebrates 50 Years of ACC ExcellenceClemson will celebrate its 50 years of excellence in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday. Throughout the summer and fall the ACC has named 50-Year Anniversary teams in all sports. Most teams are composed of a top 50 in each sport and Clemson has been well represented. In all the sports combined, Clemson had 145 selections to these teams and many of the selections will be on hand Saturday and will be honored at halftime. Clemson had nine players named to the 50-Year anniversary football team, more than any other school. Clemson also had the top figure for men’s tennis (15), men’s golf (12), men’s soccer (12) and baseball (12). Two of the selections are still playing for Clemson, golfer D.J. Trahan and women’s basketball player Chrissy Floyd.
The selections date to the 1960s when Jim Moorhead competed for the Tigers in men’s track and Rusty Adkins earned All-America honors on the baseball diamond. Other prominent former Clemson athletes expected to be in attendance on Saturday for the halftime ceremonies are Tree Rollins, Terry Kinard, Joe Bostic Jeff Davis, Steve Fuller, Barbara Kennedy, Jamine Moton, Tina Krebs, Bert Heffernan, Pam Hayeden, Jean Desdunes, Clyde Browne and Rusty Gerhardt.
Clemson Graduate Designed LogoWhat started out as an internet search for fresh ideas has turned into a ticket to some of the ACC’s most exciting upcoming 50th Anniversary events, not to mention a place in the conference’s history books for Clemson graduate T.J. Harley. Harley needed some ideas back in the summer of 2001 for some t-shirt designs he was planning for Clemson’s 20th anniversary celebration of the school’s 1981 football national championship. At the time, Harley was working as a student at one of Clemson’s downtown t-shirt stores, Tigertown Graphics. The search took him to TheACC.com for what he thought would be a search for some different logo ideas. Harley had no idea the ACC was looking for some ideas of its own. In May of 2001, the ACC announced a contest that gave current students, faculty, and staff members at all nine member institutions the opportunity to submit ideas for the conference’s 50th anniversary logo. “Some of the most creative minds in the country reside on our campuses, and we’d love to have their quality of work represent our conference in this important celebration,” stated ACC Commissioner John Swofford at the time of the contest’s announcement. For Harley the contest meant another opportunity to display his talents, but there was one problem, his discovery of the contest was almost too late. “I noticed that the contest deadline was the next day so I immediately stopped working on the Clemson shirt and spent the next couple hours working on a design for the ACC,” Harley recalled. Those couple of hours turned out to produce the ACC’s 50th Anniversary logo. The logo will represent the conference’s expansive marketing efforts to promote the ACC’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Founded in 1953, the ACC is celebrating its 50th year this year and will the year with a Gala at the Greensboro Coliseum in March.
For his efforts, Harley will receive two tickets to the Gala as well as tickets to the 2003 ACC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The vast nature of the 50th Anniversary celebration will expose Harley’s work through several mediums, including newspaper, television, internet, souvenir and apparel items. The exposure won’t stop there though. As part of the celebration, the ACC has a historical book and video in the works. Harley’s design potential hasn’t gone unnoticed. The recent graphic communications graduate has secured a job with Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which is based in Atlanta.
Clemson Has More ACC Wins than Any Other SchoolClemson was a charter member of the ACC in 1953 and the Tigers began their 50th ACC season on a high note with a 24-19 victory. Clemson has a record of 194-104-6 in conference play for its previous 49 seasons plus one game, a winning percentage of .647. Clemson’s 194 victories are first among all conference teams in league games, 15 more than second place North Carolina, who has won 55 percent of its league games. Maryland is third with 168, while NC State is fourth at 166. Clemson has a winning record against every other ACC team since the league began with the exception of Florida State. Clemson also leads the ACC in conference championships with 13. Florida State and Maryland are tied for second with nine (this includes co-championships). NC State and Duke are tied for fourth with seven wins apiece. Every current league member has won the league title at least once.
Losing First Game Not Always a Bad SignClemson lost its season opener at Georgia on August 31, but losing the opener is not always a bad sign for the Tigers. In fact, the last five times Clemson has lost its season opener, the Tigers have gone on to a bowl game or won at least nine games.
In 1999, Tommy Bowden first year, Clemson lost the opener to Marshall, but finished with a 6-6 record and a Peach Bowl bid. That Clemson team played the 10th toughest schedule in the nation that year and four of the six losses were to teams who finished the year ranked in the top 15 in the nation.
Clemson lost the season opener to North Carolina in 1996, 45-0, but came back to finish 7-4 in the regular season and played in the Peach Bowl. Clemson lost the opener at home in 1986 to Virginia Tech, then lost just one more game the rest of the year on the way to a Gator Bowl bid and a top 20 season.
The Tigers lost the opener of 1982 at Georgia, 13-7, then went the rest of the year without a loss, finishing 9-1-1. Clemson was on probation that year and could not go to a bowl. The 1977 team lost the opener to 10th ranked Maryland, then finished 8-4 with its first bowl bid in 18 years.
Leake Leads DefenseThe top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior John Leake and he has led the team so far this year with 39 tackles, 11 against Georgia and Georgia Tech and 17 against Louisiana Tech. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated Chad Carson. Leake’s quickness in the middle of the Clemson point prevention unit has been a big reason Clemson has limited teams to but 4.1 yards per play and just nine yards per pass reception. He had 17 tackles to lead the Clemson defense against Louisiana Tech. Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Leake has football in his blood. His father played for Wyoming as a wide receiver in the 1960s. He opened the 2002 season with a strong game, as he had eight tackles to rank second on the team. He also led the team with a pair of tackles for loss and had much to do with Clemson’s ability to hold Georgia to but 203 yards of total offense.
Youngblood Ranked in Top 20 in NationKevin Youngblood has already exceeded the reception total of his freshman season with his 20 catches in three games this year. The junior from Jacksonville, FL missed all of last year with a broken leg, but has started fast in 2002. He has led Clemson in total receptions in all three games so far this year. Youngblood had six catches for 66 yards at Georgia to establish a career high in terms of receptions. He also caught a 21-yard scoring strike from quarterback Willie Simmons. He then trumped that with 10 receptions for 89 yards in the win over Louisiana Tech. He leads the ACC in receptions per game entering the Ball State game. No Clemson player has led the ACC in receptions per game over the course of the season since 1980 when Perry Tuttle led the league. The only other Clemson player to be the receptions champion for a season is Jerry Butler in 1978. Youngblood had a promising freshman year (2000) as an understudy to first-round draft choice and former high school teammate Rod Gardner. Youngblood was to replace Gardner’s big plays last year until he suffered the injury. Gardner was in attendance on the Clemson sideline in Athens as he took a day off as he prepares for his second year with the Washington Redskins. Perhaps his presence brought out the best in Youngblood, whose previous career high was just two catches in a game four times in 2000. Youngblood had 13 catches for 225 yards as a freshman, a 17.3 average.
Kelly Leads Ground GameYusef Kelly (formerly Keith Kelly his first two years at Clemson) had a career high 25 attempts for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Louisiana Tech. Kelly now has four touchdowns for the year to exceed his previous career high and ranks ninth in the nation in scoring with 12 points per game. Kelly’s 97 yards against Louisiana Tech broke his previous career high of 93 yards against Wake Forest in 2000. Kelly sat out last year as a red-shirt. He got his chance in the lineup when Bernard Rambert was in street clothes due tendonitis in a foot. He added 20 carries for 89 yards last week in the win over Georgia Tech. He showed his durability as 57 of his 89 yards came in the fourth quarter.
Hunt Records Career Best GameAaron Hunt established a career best for field goals in a game with four in the win over Louisiana Tech. The junior from Tennessee was 4-4 in the game and scored 15 of Clemson’s 33 points. He became the first Clemson player to record four field goals in a game since 1998 when David Richardson had four in the season opener. Hunt’s day included a 47-yard field goal, second longest boot of his career. Hunt had field goals of 47, 22, 37 and 38 yards, distances that total to 144 yards. That was the seventh most yards on made field goals in a single game in Clemson history. Hunt was 10-12 last year on field goals and is now 5-8 this year. He ranks 15th in the nation in field gals per game.
Simmons Establishes Career HighsClemson quarterback Willie Simmons completed 25 of 43 passes for 242 yards in the win over Louisiana Tech. Simmons did a good job of taking what the Bulldog defense gave him and completed passes to 10 different receivers. That was a career high in terms of completions, attempts and passing yards for Simmons, who was making his first start in Death Valley and just his second start anywhere.
Simmons set a school record for pass completions and attempts by an individual in a Clemson victory. The Clemson team threw 44 passes in the game and it was just the second time Clemson had thrown 40 or more passes in a game and gained victory in the process. Clemson was 1-16 prior to the Louisiana Tech game when throwing at least 40 passes. The only other victory came at Wake Forest in 1999.
Simmons 25 completions rank in a tie for fourth in Clemson history for a single game. The record is 27 set by Brandon Streeter against NC State in 1998 and at Virginia Tech in 1999. Simmons 43 attempts was tied for fifth highest, most ever in a Clemson victory. It was the most pass attempts by an individual without an interception in school history.
Miller Shows All-Around AbilitiesFreshman defensive back Justin Miller had a reception and an interception against Louisiana Tech, an example of his fine all-around abilities. The first-year player had a nine-yard reception in the first half and an interception in the endzone at a key juncture of the second half to thwart a Bulldog drive.
It marked the first time since 1964 that a Clemson player had an interception and a reception in the same game. Pat Crain was the last to do it as he had a 15-yard interception return and a reception against Virginia on Halloween of 1964. It should be noted that players went both ways in those days, so Miller was the first to do it in the two-platoon era. Miller also had three tackles in the game and played 29 snaps. With the season ending injury to starter Toure Francis, Miller will get a lot of action this season.
Byrd Leads Offensive LineGary Byrd is the leader of Clemson’s offensive line. With the injury to Derrick Brantley, a veteran of eight career starts, the leadership burden is even heavier for Byrd. A graduate student from Stone Mountain, GA, Byrd has started two bowl games at Clemson, the 2001 Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech and the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl against Louisiana Tech. He is a veteran of over 1300 career plays and has been a common denominator on two of the most productive offenses in Clemson history.
Byrd has played well so far this year. In the win over Louisiana Tech he had an 85 percent total performance grade, including an 80 percent technique grade from Clemson line coach Ron West. He led the Tigers in knockdown blocks in the game with 11 and was a big reason Clemson scored 33 points in the contest. He had six knockdowns in the season opener against Georgia.
Four Appearances on ESPN for Tigers The Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game will be the second of four appearances for the Tigers on ESPN during the regular season. This will be the most live regular season appearances on ESPN for Clemson. Clemson’s season opener was also on the network. This Saturday’s game will be shown live at 12:00 Noon and will be broadcast by the team of Mark Jones and former Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie.
Clemson has been on ESPN four times in a season in 1989, 1997 and 1999, but each of those seasons included a bowl game appearance on the world’s top sports network. Clemson was 4-0 in games on ESPN in 1989, 1-3 in 1997 and 0-4 in 1999.
Clemson is 13-22 in live broadcasts on ESPN over the years, but won its last outing of last year on the network, the 49-24 win over Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. Clemson has played 24 games on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN, all between 1979 and 1984. Clemson was 15-8-1 in those games. Thus, Clemson’s all-time record on ESPN is 28-30-1 lifetime.
In addition to the two games mentioned above, The Clemson vs. Florida State game (Oct. 3) and Clemson vs. NC State game (Oct. 24) will be part of the ESPN Thursday night package.
Clemson Faces Tough Schedule in 2002In many ways this will be Clemson’s most difficult schedule. The 2002 Tigers have nine games against teams who had winning records last year and eight of the 2002 opponents played in bowl games last year. Nationally, Clemson is tied for third in number of games against teams who had winning records in 2001 and tied for fourth in number of 2001 bowl opponents on the 2002 schedule. Clemson has had some difficult schedules under Tommy Bowden. The 1999 schedule is listed as the 10th toughest in the nation according to the 2002 NCAA Record Book. In 2001, Clemson had five wins over teams with winning records, one off the Clemson single season record.
Most Difficult Schedules of 2002
Based on 2002 Opponents Who Played in 2001 Bowls
Rk Team 2002Games 2001 Bowl Opp 1. Florida State
Based on 2002 Opponents who had 2001 Winning Record
Rk Team 2002Games Winning Opp 1. Florida State
Clemson has Eight Graduates on RosterThe 2002 Clemson team has already broken a school record and the kickoff of the season opener has not even taken place. This year’s team has eight graduates on its roster, a record for a Clemson team. The list includes three players who will travel to roster with two full seasons yet to play.
Clemson starting quarterback Willie Simmons, starting defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and reserve tackle William Henry are listed as graduates on the roster, but still have this year and 2003 in terms of eligibility. Simmons received his degree last May, accomplishing his course requirements in just three years and three summer schools. That is the earliest a Clemson scholarship football player has ever graduated. Vaughn and Henry both graduated this past August 10th and still have two years to play.
The list of graduates on the 2002 Clemson team includes starting wide receiver Jackie Robinson, starting roverback Altroy Bodrick, starting defensive tackle Nick Eason and starting offensive tackle Gary Byrd. Nathan Gillespie is a reserve offensive lineman who also has his Clemson diploma. Eason graduated in August of 2001, so he also had his degree with two years to play. The previous high for graduates on a Clemson football team was seven set just last year. By the end of the 2002 academic year 18 of the 22 seniors on the 2001 football team already had their degree. Two of those players are in school this year and plan to graduate by May of 2003.
Clemson Graduates on 2002 Team
Name PosGraduation Degree Jackie RobinsonWR Dec. 2001 Health Science Khaleed Vaughn DE Aug. 2002 MarketingWillie Simmons QB May 2002 Marketing William Henry OT Aug. 2002Sociology Altroy Bodrick ROV Aug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm. Gary Byrd OTAug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm. Nick Eason DT Aug. 2001 Sociology NathanGillespie OG Dec. 2001
18 Tigers on NFL Rosters Clemson had 18 former players on NFL rosters entering play on September 8th, the opening day of the NFL season. The list includes four players who are now in double digits in the league in terms of years of service. Woody Dantzler, who is on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, is the only member of the 2001 Clemson team to make a roster. The list of veterans includes Chris Gardocki, who is in his 12th year in the NFL as a punter. The former pro bowl punter is with the Cleveland Browns. Gardocki holds the career punting average record for both the Browns (44.1) and the Indianapolis Colts (44.8). Chester McGlockton (Denver Broncos) and Levon Kirkland (Philadelphia Eagles) are both in their 11th seasons in the NFL. Kirkland made his 124th consecutive NFL start for the Eagles on Sunday against Tennessee. James Trapp, who is in the Clemson Hall of Fame for his track accomplishments from 1989-93, is in his 10th year in the NFL and is with the Baltimore Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers all have two players apiece from Clemson on their respective roster. Twelve of the 18 players are defensive players, including four defensive linemen. Two former Tigers stood out in week one. Rod Gardner had seven receptions for 131 yards and a score to help Washington to victory in Steve Spurrier’s first game as head coach. Adrian Dingle had two sacks to help the San Diego Chargers to a victory over Cincinnati.
Former Clemson Players on NFL Rosters
Name Pos HgtWgt CU Yrs NFLExp NFL Team Keith Adams LB 5-11 23098-00 2nd Dallas Cowboys Lorenzo Bromell DE 6-6 275 96-97 5thMinnesota Vikings Brentson Buckner DE 6-2 305 90-93 9th CarolinaPanthers &Jim Bundren OT 6-5 305 94-97 4th Miami DolphinsRobert Carswell DB 5-11 215 97-00 2nd San Diego Chargers #WoodyDantzler QB 5-11 205 98-01 R Dallas Cowboys Brian Dawkins DB 5-11200 92-95 7th Philadelphia Eagles Adrian Dingle DE 6-3 272 95-984th San Diego Chargers Antwan Edwards DB 6-1 205 95-98 4th GreenBay Packers Rod Gardner WR 6-3 218 97-00 2nd Washington RedskinsChris Gardocki P 6-1 200 88-90 12th Cleveland Browns Lamont Hall TE6-4 260 94-97 4th New Orleans Levon Kirkland LB 6-1 270 88-91 11thPhiladelphia Eagles Dexter McCleon DB 5-10 195 93-96 6th St. LouisRams Chester McGlockton DT 6-4 329 89-91 11th Denver Broncos TrevorPryce DT 6-5 295 1996 6th Denver Broncos Anthony Simmons LB 6-0 23095-97 5th Seattle Seahawks James Trapp DB 6-2 190 89-92 10thBaltimore Ravens # Practice Squad & Injured reserve
Leake Leads DefenseThe top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior John Leake. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated Chad Carson.
Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Bowden Offenses Among Best in Clemson HistoryClemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden came to Clemson with the reputation of producing big numbers on offense. His Tulane team of 1998 averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game and was the only squad in the nation to average at least 300 yards passing and 200 rushing.
His offensive numbers have not been quite as striking at Clemson, but they have been noteworthy. Here is a list of the Bowden offensive stats as they relate to Clemson history in his three years at Clemson:
*3 of the top 4 completion totals in Clemson history *The top 3 passing yardage single season figures *The top three seasons in terms of passing yards/game *3 of the top four completion percentage figures *2 of the top 3 yards per play figures, and top two since 1950 *3 of the top 5 total offense per game figures *3 of the top 4 first downs/game figures * 2 of the top 7 scoring teams in school history
Clemson Offense Averages 416 Yards, 30.6 Points Under Bowden Clemson has a 24-15 record under Tommy Bowden and a consistent balanced offense has been a big reason. Over the his four years he has been the head coach the Tigers have averaged 416 yards per game in total offense. Clemson has gained an average of 184 rushing and 232 passing over the 39 games. In an average game under Bowden the Tigers have averaged 30.6 points a game and scored four touchdowns. On average, the Tigers run the ball 44 times and throw it 32 times under Bowden. Clemson has scored 156 touchdowns in the 39 games, over four per game. Twenty-one of the 39 games Clemson has had at least 400 yards of total offense.
Clemson Offense in the Tommy Bowden Era (Figures are for 37 games)
Category Total PerGame Points 1135 30.6 Touchdowns 150 4.0 First Downs 83622.4 Rushing Attempts 1640 44.0 Rushing Yards 6895 184.0PassAttempts 1195 32.5 Pass Completions 675 18.4Passing Yards 8621232.0Completion % .565 .566 Plays 2835 76.6Total Offense 15,516416.2 Record 22-15 .615
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl ExperienceClemson’s nine current assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 81 bowl games. Of the current staff, Rick Stockstill has coached in the most bowl games with the Tigers, as the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl was his 10th as a Clemson assistant. Brad Scott leads the way in total bowl games coached with 15 between his time at Clemson, Florida State and South Carolina.
Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl games. Scott led South Carolina to its first bowl win in history when he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. Mike O’Cain, hired as Clemson’s quarterbacks coach in December of 2000, served as NC State’s head coach in three bowl games. As you can see by the list below, eight of the 10 coaches on this staff have been together all three years of the Bowden era. Mike O’Cain has coached in two of the three bowl games. John Lovett is the only newcomer to the staff this year.
Name PositionPlayer CU BowlOverall Tommy Bowden Head Coach 1 3 11RodneyAllison Defensive Ends 3 3 8Burton Burns Running Backs 3 3 4JackHines Linebackers 1 3 8John Lovett Defensive Backs 0 0 5Mike O’CainQuarterbacks 0 2 @10Brad Scott Tight Ends 0 3 *15Thielen SmithDefensive Line 2 3 5Rick Stockstill Wide Receivers 3 10 10Ron WestOffensive Line 2 3 5Totals 1530 81
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina @Includes three games as head coach at NC State Overall is total as a coach only
Some Tigers using New Helmet The latest in equipment use in football at all levels is the Revolution Helmet manufactured by Riddell. Many Clemson players have switched to the new helmet for this season and Clemson equipment personnel estimate 30 players are using it this year. Many of the players are first-year freshmen. Among the veterans using the helmet are starting outside linebacker Khaleed Vaughn, starting middle linebacker and top returning tackler John Leake, and running backs Yusef Kelley, Chad Jasmin and Tye Hill. Linebacker David Dunham was troubled by a concussion early in preseason and switched to the Revolution. He has not had problems since.
The helmet is the result of five years of research conducted by the NFL, who concluded that 70 percent of concussions result from hits to the side of the head. The sides of the new helmet extend farther down toward the chin, creating a firm shell along the jaw line.
Currie All-American on the Track Sophomore wide receiver Airese Currie had a solid freshman season on the gridiron. The native of Columbia, SC and Richland Northeast High School played in all 12 games, three as a starter and had 18 catches for 320 yards, a 17.8 average. That 17.8 average was a Clemson record for a freshman. He had one touchdown receiving and one rushing, a 19-yard run for a score on a “Panther Play” against Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. While Currie had a good year on the gridiron he was even better on the track where he made All-American. Currie was a member of Clemson’s 4X100 relay team that finished second in the nation at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Baton Rouge, LA. He also had a strong year individually and finished sixth at the ACC Championships in the 100 meters.
Currie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Clemson Hall of Fame athlete James Trapp, who was an NCAA Champion in track and still continues to play in the NFL for the Baltmore Ravens. Trapp won a Super Bowl Championship Ring two years ago and has been in the NFL since the 1993 season. Currie opened the season with one catch for 12 yards against Georgia.
Tiger TeammatesClemson has 15 different sets of football players who went to the same high school or junior college. The list includes three schools that have sent Clemson three players apiece. Orangeburg-Wilkinson, the high school that sent 2001 senior Woody Dantzler to Clemson, still has three representatives on the current Clemson team in Jackie Robinson. Shanks High School in Quincy, FL sent the Tigers Willie Simmons and Ronnie Thomas in the 1999 recruiting class and has since added defensive back Charles Harper. Fork Union Prep has sent Clemson Eric Coleman, Maurice Fountain and Gaines Adams. Fountain was a high school teammate of wide receiver Kelvin Grant. The only brother combination on the list is the Vaughn brothers, Khaleed and Nigel, who both played at North Atlanta High in Atlanta, GA.
Clemson players who played together in high school or prep school:
High School CityState PlayersC.A. JohnsonColumbia SC Eugene Koon, Todd McClintonCamden Camden SC MauriceFountain, Kelvin GrantEasley Easley SC Eric Meekins, JoshSmithFairfield Central Fairfield SC Charles Bennett, AltroyBodrickFork Union Prep Fork Union VA Eric Coleman, MauriceFountain, Gaines AdamsJames Island Charleston SC Ryan Charpia,Tony ElliottLexingtonLexington SC Fletcher Anderson, Phillip DieckmannManning Manning SCBrian Mance, TravisPughNorth Atlanta Atlanta SC Khaleed Vaughn, NigelVaughnOrangeburg-Wilkinson Orangeburg SC Ryan Hemby, JackieRobinsonRichland Northeast Columbia SC Airese Currie, ToureFrancisShanks Quincy FL Charles Harper, Willie Simmons, RonnieThomasSummerville Summerville SC Dustin Fry, Bernard RambertSWMiss. CC Summit MS Brandon Jamison, Kelvin MorrisUnion Union SC
Kyle Browning, Roscoe Crosby
ACC Announces 50th Anniversary All-Time Football Team Clemson Leads All Schools With Nine SelectionsNine former Clemson football players have been named to the 50th Anniversary All-ACC team, the conference announced in July. Clemson’s nine selections are the most among ACC schools. Players who have been named to the team are Joe Bostic, Jerry Butler, Bennie Cunningham, Jeff Davis, Steve Fuller, Terry Kinard, William Perry, Michael Dean Perry and Anthony Simmons.
All nine players were All-Americans at Clemson. Five of them earned such honors on more than one occasion. The honorees have won 10 ACC titles collectively, with three of the players earning a National Championship ring in 1981. Eight of the nine players were named to Clemson’s All-Centennial team in 1996. Butler, Davis, Fuller and Kinard are also honored in Clemson’s Ring of Honor.
Each of the honorees has played in the NFL at some point after their Clemson careers. Anthony Simmons, the youngest Clemson player honored by the ACC, is currently a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks. The group collectively has played 76 years in the NFL and combined to win five Super Bowl Championship rings. Joe Bostic was a four-year starter and two-time All-American between 1975-78 on Clemson’s offensive line. He is also in Clemson’s Hall of Fame. In 1999, A panel of Clemson historians ranked him as the 11th best player in Clemson history. Bostic went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the Cardinals organization.
Jerry Butler earned first-team Associated Press All-American honors in 1978 and was ranked as the 4th best player in school history in 1999. He was famous for a diving backward touchdown catch that helped beat rival South Carolina in 1977. Butler, also a member of Clemson’s Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor, played nine seasons for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.
Bennie Cunningham, Clemson’s most decorated tight end, was a two-time All-American. He was a consensus first-team All-American as a junior in 1974 and a first-team choice by the Sporting News in 1975. He was also ranked among Clemson’s greatest players in 1999. Cunningham won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers between 1976-85.
Jeff Davis was an All-American in 1981, the year Clemson won the National Championship. Davis is the third leading tackler in Clemson history. “The Judge” is a member of Clemson’s All-Centennial team, Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor. He was inducted into the state of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2001. He played for six seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steve Fuller was a third-team All-American on the field in 1978 as well as a two-time Academic All-American. He was also the ACC Player-of-the-Year in 1977 and 1978, the only two-time selection in Clemson history. He was ranked as a top 5 player by Clemson historians in 1999, and is in the Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor. Fuller won a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears in 1985.
Terry Kinard, perhaps Clemson’s most decorated athlete, was a two-time first-team AP All-American in 1981-82. He was a starting safety on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team. He was named the 1982 National Player-of-the-Year by CBS. Kinard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last fall and the state of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2002. He is still Clemson’s career leader in interceptions with 17, now a 20-year-old record. He won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants and played eight seasons in the NFL.
William Perry was a three-time All-American at middle guard for Clemson, a first in school history. He still ranks among Clemson’s career leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. Also a member of the 1981 team, Perry was named to the All-Centennial team and will be inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame this fall. “The Refrigerator” won a Super Bowl ring in 1985 with the Chicago Bears.
Michael Dean Perry, Clemson’s career leader in both sacks and tackles for loss, was a first-team All-American in 1987 when he was an Outland Trophy finalist. A member of the All-Centennial team, Perry was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2000. He went on to considerable success in the NFL as he played in six Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro with the Cleveland Browns.
Anthony Simmons was Clemson’s second three-time All-American. He likely would have been just the second player in NCAA history to achieve such honors four times had he not left for the NFL after his junior year. He is second on Clemson’s career tackles list, an impressive feat to accomplish in only three years. Simmons is currently a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks
The Tommy Bowden Show The Tommy Bowden Coaches Show willbe televised across the state of South Carolina every Sunday. Hereis the Schedule: WASV (62), Greenville/Spartanburg, 12 Noon SundayWOLO (25), Columbia, 12:00 Noon, Sunday WTAT (24), Charleston,11:00 AM, Sunday WBEK (16), Augusta, GA, 11:00 AM, Sunday WFXB(43), Myrtle Beach, 11:30 AM, Sunday Fox Sports Net South, 1:30 PM,Friday Comcast/Charter Comm SE, 7:30 PM, Thursday Sunshine Network,2:30 Pm Thursday WHHI (3), Hilton Head, 10:00 PM WednesdayComporium Cable, Rock Hill, SC– Ch 21, 6:30 PM, 11:30 PM WednesdayCh 21, 6:30 PM, 11:30 PM, Friday Ch. 2, 11:30 AM, Saturday TriangleTelevision, Durham, NC 9:30 PM Wednesday 1:30 AM, Thursday 8:00 PM,Friday 10:00 AM, Saturday
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