Oct. 31, 2005
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Clemson Successful on Homecoming Saturday will be Homecoming at Clemson, a celebration that has included a Clemson victory nearly 75 percent of the time since its first celebration in 1922. Clemson has an overall record of 59-19-3 for its previous 81 Homecoming games, a .747 winning percentage. That includes a 29-3-2 record on Homecoming games since the 1971 season.
The first homecoming game at Clemson was in 1922, a 21-0 loss to Centre. Clemson was actually 0-4-1 through its first five homecoming games, so it is surprising that the tradition continued. Clemson defeated Auburn in 1927 by a 3-0 score for its first homecoming victory.
There is no record of a homecoming game in 1930 or 1938, but the event has been held in conjunction with a football game every year since 1939, even through the war years. Clemson has just three losses on Homecoming since 1971, a 1989 defeat to Georgia Tech, 1997 to Virginia and 2001 to North Carolina. Tommy Bowden is 5-1 in his previous six Homecoming games, including three wins in a row. Clemson defeated a 24th ranked Virginia team on Homecoming by a 30-27 score in overtime in 2003. Clemson downed Utah State 35-6 last year. Four of Tommy Bowden’s five Homecoming wins have been against ACC foes.
This will be the first time Duke has been Clemson’s Homecoming opponent since 1992, a 21-6 Tiger victory. Overall, Clemson is 7-0-1 against the Blue Devils on Homecoming. Tommy Bowden was on the Duke sidelines for two of those Clemson wins, a 54-21 victory in 1984 and a 35-3 Clemson win in 1986. The tie took place in 1976 when Duke kicker Vince Fusco booted a 57-yard field goal on the last play of the game to tie the contest, 18-18. The kick actually hit the crossbar and bounced over. It was the sixth field goal of the game for Fusco, an ACC record that was tied earlier this year by Clemson’s Jad Dean when he booted six against Texas A&M.Clemson vs. Duke Series Clemson holds a 32-16-1 lead in the series with Duke, including a 17-4-1 lead in games played in Death Valley. But, the Tigers have just a 13-12 lead in games at Duke. That includes last year’s 16-13 Duke victory that was won on the last play of the game on a 53-yard field goal by Matt Brooks.
Duke has not won at Clemson since a 34-17 victory over a Danny Ford’s second Clemson team in 1980. A freshman quarterback named Ben Bennett led the Duke offense and Dennis Tabron had three interceptions for 128 return yards to lead the Blue Devil defense in that game. Clemson has won 12 in a row over the Blue Devils in Death Valley, including the last meeting, a 40-7 Clemson victory in 2003. Clemson’s average victory margin in those 12 consecutive wins over Duke at home is 25.6 points per game. The only game that has been within double digits was a 29-20 Clemson victory in 1997 that was the first overtime game in ACC history.
Clemson and Duke have split the last eight meetings at Duke, and three of the four wins have been by seven points or less. Clemson’s only resounding win at Duke since 1981 was a 52-22 win in 2000. Seven of the last eight meetings between Clemson and Duke in Durham have been decided by seven points or less. Overall, Clemson has won 12 of the last 15 in the series dating to a 21-17 loss at Duke in 1989, Danny Ford’s last year as Clemson head coach. Steve Spurrier was the coach of the Blue Devils for that game. Clemson entered that 1989 game with a 4-0 record, a #7 AP ranking and had recently won at Florida State.
Some of Clemson’s single game records have been set against the Blue Devils. In 1995, Raymond Priester rushed for a record 263 yards to lead the Tiger offense in a 34-17 Tiger victory. On the other side of the line of scrimmage that day, Brian Dawkins had three interceptions in the first quarter to set a school record for a quarter and a half, and tie the record for a single game.
In 2002, Charlie Whitehurst made his first career start against the Blue Devils and completed 34 of 52 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns. The 420 passing yards set a record that still remains today. The same goes for the 34 completions, and the four touchdown passes tied the Clemson single game record.
The top two instances of the quickest back-to-back touchdowns in Clemson history took place against Duke. In 2003, Derrick Hamilton caught scoring passes from Whitehurst just 14 seconds apart, a record for the quickest back to back touchdowns in Clemson history. In 1999 Brian Wofford scored on an 18-yard TD pass from Brandon Streeter, then Terry Jolly ran an interception back from 20 yards out, scores that took place just 21 seconds apart, the second fastest back-to-back touchdown scores in Clemson history.
From a Duke standpoint, just three players in Clemson football history have caught 13 passes in a single game against the Tigers and all three are Duke players. Henley Carter had 13 catches against Clemson in 1968, Wes Chesson had 13 against the Tigers in 1970 and Mark Militello turned the trick in 1983. Tommy Bowden was the Duke quarterbacks coach for that performance. Those all tie for the second most catches in a game against Clemson. Kelly Campbell had a record 14 against the Tigers in 2000.
There have been many noteworthy performances in the Clemson vs. Duke series: · 1957: In just the fourth meeting between the two teams, an 11th ranked Duke team defeats a 14th ranked Clemson team 7-6 in Durham. It is the fourth straight win to open the series for the Blue Devils. · 1965: Clemson kicks a field goal to defeat Duke, 3-2, the only 3-2 score in Clemson football history, and tying a school record for the fewest points in a Clemson victory. · 1971: Clemson upsets a 14th ranked Duke tam in Norfolk, VA by a 3-0 score. Eddie Seigler booted a 39-yard field goal for the Tigers. · 1976: Vince Fusco sets and ACC record with six field goals, including one from 57 yards on the last play of the game that hit the goal post and bounced over in an 18-18 Homecoming tie at Death Valley. · 1980: Duke upsets a 4-1 Clemson team in Death Valley 34-17 behind Dennis Tabron’s three interceptions and Clemson opponent record 128 return yards. That was Duke’s last win in Death Valley. · 1981:Clemson gained over 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in a dominant 38-10 victory on the way to the National Championship. · 1983:Both teams gained over 500 yards total offense, but the Tigers held on with a 38-31 victory. Tommy Bowden was Duke’s quarterback coach in this game. · 1988: Clemson defeats a 22nd ranked and 5-0 Duke team by a 49-17 margin. It is the last time both teams were ranked in the top 25 entering the game. · 1989: Duke upset a 4-0 and seventh ranked Clemson team 21-17 in Durham. Clemson had upset Florida State in Tallahassee earlier in the season. Duke went on to win seven straight games and the ACC Championship. · 1995: Raymond Priester set Clemson single game rushing record with263 yards in 34-17 victory. Brian Dawkins had three interceptions in one quarter for the Tigers. · 1997: Clemson wins first overtime game in ACC history with 29-20 victory over Duke at Clemson. Rahim Abdullah returned interception 63 yards for a touchdown. · 2001: Woody Dantzler became first 2000/1000 quarterback in NCAA history in 59-31 Clemson win. · 2002: Charlie Whitehurst threw for school record 420 yards on 34 completions and Aaron Hunt kicked the game winning field goal with eight seconds left in 34-31 Clemson win. · 2003–Charlie Whitehurst threw for 33 yards on 27-40 passes and three touchdowns in 40-7 Clemson victory. Two of the scores came just 14 seconds apart, both to Derrick Hamilton.
Clemson Veterans versus Duke Gaines Adams (DE) — Had four tackles including two tackles for loss in 2003. Had three tackles, including a sack at Duke in 2004. Curtis Baham (WR) — Caught two passes for 23 yards and his first career touchdown in 2003. Did not catch a pass at Duke, but started the game in 2004. Charles Bennett (OG) — Had five tackles, including career high three tackles for loss and a sack at Duke in 2004. Tremaine Billie (WHIP) — Had two tackles in 14 snaps in 2003. Had five tackles, including a sack in 44 plays as a starter, in 2004. Kyle Browning (TB) — Ran three times for 21 yards in 2003. Cole Chason (P) — Punted two times for a 37.5 yard average with both punts being downed inside the 20-yard line in 2003. Had 6 punts for 40.3 average and had a 40.0 net, his second best of the 2004 season. Jad Dean (PK)–Made 2-2 field goals (20 and 32 yards) and 1-1 on extra points in 2004. David Dunham (LB) — Made four tackles in only six snaps last season. Had 1 tackle in 14 plays at Duke in 2004. Jamaal Fudge (ROV) – Had six total tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and two pass break ups in 2003. Had two tackles in 67 plays at Duke in 2004. Tye Hill (CB) — Had three tackles in 2003. Made one special teams tackle in 2002. Had five tackles and a pass break up at Duke in 2004. Reggie Merriweather (RB)–Had 18 rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead Clemson ball carries at Duke in 2004. Chansi Stuckey (WR) — Completed one pass for 13 yards and rushed three times for 12 yards and a touchdown in 2003. Also caught two passes for 10 yards in that game. Had two receptions for 23 yards and one rush for five yards at Duke in 2004. Trey Tate (DT) — Had three tackles in only 15 snaps in 2003. Added three tackles in 37 plays as a starter in 2004. Anthony Waters (LB) — Tied his career high in tackles with six in 2003 game as a freshman. Had eight tackles in 52 snaps as a starter in 2004. Nick Watkins (LB)–Had five tackles, including one for loss as a reserve at Duke in 2004. Charlie Whitehurst (QB) — Is 2-1 as a starter against the Blue Devils completing 73 of 118 passes in those three games for 868 yards and seven touchdowns. Set the Clemson single game passing record by throwing for 420 yards in 2002. Also had a record 34 completions and record tying four touchdown passes. That was his first career start. Has 136.5 career efficiency rating against the Blue Devils, his best against an ACC opponent.
Last Year vs. DukeDuke 16, Clemson 13 Matt Brooks’ 53-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired to give Duke a 16-13 come-from-behind victory over Clemson. The Blue Devils scored 10 points in the final 1:21 to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1998. In the first quarter, Clemson moved 66 yards in eight plays, and the drive ended in a Jad Dean 20-yard field goal. The key play on the drive was a Charlie Whitehurst 40-yard pass to Airese Currie. Duke answered the Tiger score with a field goal of its own, as Brooks connected from 27 yards out.
Clemson then fumbled the ensuing short kickoff and the Blue Devils recovered the ball at the Tiger 19. Brooks hit his second field goal of the day, this time from 21 yards away. The Tigers came back with a field goal of their own when Dean drilled a 32-yarder 1:56 into the second quarter. Reggie Merriweather carried six times on the drive for 46 yards. The final quarter began with Clemson on its only touchdown drive of the day. It was a scoring march that covered 76 yards in 11 plays and ended with a Merriweather three-yard touchdown run.
The two defenses began to take over, as each team punted twice before Duke took over at its own 46-yard line with 4:25 remaining. Mike Schneider completed five of six passes and hit Ronnie Drummer for a four-yard touchdown pass with 1:21 left in the game. ACC Defensive Player of the Year Leroy Hill was injured and did not play on the final two Blue Devil drives. Clemson began its next drive at its 26-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Whitehurst threw over the middle for Michael Collins, but Collins was on the ground when Deonto McCormick came up with an interception at the 50. He returned it eight yards to the Tiger 42.
Three passes gained six yards to the Clemson 36-yard line to set up Brooks. The Tigers used two of their three timeouts to try and ice Brooks, but it did not work, as he was good on his third-straight attempt of the day, and Clemson saw its chances at winning season in the conference fade away. The 53-yarder was a career long for the senior kicker. Merriweather led the Tiger rushing attack with 76 yards on 18 carries. Currie caught a game-high six passes for 75 yards and went over the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
The Clemson defense played well, as it allowed only 21 yards rushing and 234 total yards, while Duke had an average starting field position at its own 43. The rushing defense tied for the best by a Tiger team over the last 25 years in a loss. Clemson also had 14 tackles for loss and five sacks. Travis Pugh and Hill each had 10 tackles to lead the Tigers.
Last Duke-Clemson Meeting at Death ValleyClemson 40, Duke 7 At Clemson, SC Clemson followed up one of the most emotional wins in school history, a 26-10 win over 3rd ranked Florida State the previous week, with a 40-7 victory over Duke in Memorial Stadium. Duke was coached by Ted Roof, who had taken over for Carl Franks in October. The Tigers outgained the Blue Devils 486-174 in total yardage. Clemson’s secondary allowed just 57 passing yards the entire game. Duke averaged just 3.2 yards per play as well.
Clemson scored 14 points in the opening quarter and never looked back. Eric Coleman got a quarterback sack to end an early Duke threat. From there, Charlie Whitehurst and the Clemson offense took over. After spreading the ball around the field, Whitehurst found Hamilton across the middle. He made just one move, and was in the endzone for a 31-yard touchdown catch.
On the ensuing kickoff, fullback Steven Jackson stripped Blue Devil receiver Senterrio Landrum of the ball. Buddy Williams pounced on the loose football and gave Clemson possession at the Blue Devil 25-yard line. On the very next play, Whitehurst again hooked up with Hamilton. The touchdowns were just 14 seconds apart, the quickest back to back touchdown scores in Clemson history.
The Tigers got the ball back quickly, and struck again. This time, Whitehurst again hooked up with favorite target Hamilton for a 40-yard gain. Hamilton cradled the ball in a miraculous catch down the left sideline. That set up Whitehurst on a four-yard touchdown strike to Curtis Baham in the back of the endzone. For Baham, it was his first career touchdown and it gave Clemson a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Clemson received the ball to start the second half, and the offense continued to shine. Whitehurst directed a 13-play, 77-yard drive that ended with Hunt’s second field goal. His 20-yarder put Clemson ahead 27-0. Following a Duke punt, the Tigers put the game away. Justin Miller took the punt at his own 37, made one slight move to the left and raced 63 yards for his first career punt return for touchdown. It was his second returned touchdown in just two years as a Tiger. He joined Bobby Gage as the only Tigers with a kickoff return and punt return for a score.
Duke got on the board in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter after Kelvin Grant fumbled in Tiger territory, giving the ball to the Blue Devils. Chris Dargan ran up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown, cutting the score to 34-7. Clemson tacked on a final touchdown with Chansi Stuckey playing quarterback. Stuckey had caught two passes at wide receiver earlier in the contest. He directed a 60-yard scoring drive that ended in his four-yard draw for a touchdown.
Whitehurst became the first Clemson quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season after his 331-yard performance in this game Hamilton set the single-season record for touchdown receptions after he caught two against Duke. That gave him nine for the year, eclipsing the previous mark shared by Perry Tuttle (1981), Terrance Roulhac (1984), and Tony Horne (1997). Defensively, several Tigers contributed to the cause. Donnell Washington had a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Jamaal Fudge was all over the field, as he had a tackle for loss, two pass breakups, and an interception. Miller also had his second interception of the season, as well as a pass deflection.
Roof and Bowden Worked on Same Staff Duke coach Ted Roof began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant at Alabama under Bill Curry. One of the assistant coaches on that Alabama staff was Tommy Bowden. They were on the same staff under Curry in 1987 and 1988. Bowden remained another year before moving on to Kentucky for the 1990 season as offensive coordinator. Roof has also served as an assistant coach at Massachusetts, Western Carolina and his alma mater, Georgia Tech. During his time with the Yellow Jackets he was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented to the top assistant coach in the nation.
A four-year letter winner with the Yellow Jackets as a player, Roof was a starter for the 1983-84-85 seasons. He was one of the leaders of Georgia Tech’s “Black Watch Defense” of 1985, helping Bill Curry’s Tech team to a 9-2-1 season that included a bowl victory over Michigan State. A first-team All-ACC player, he still ranks in the top 10 in Georgia Tech history with 417 career tackles. A member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame, Roof was the top tackler for Georgia Tech in its 14-3 win at Clemson in 1985. Roof took over as Duke’s head coach in October of 2003 and he coached his fourth career game at Clemson in November of that year. He then defeated the Tigers in Durham last year.
Bowden Coached at Duke Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden was the quarterbacks coach at Duke from 1983-86. He was named offensive coordinator in 1985. Among the players Bowden tutored was Anthony Dilweg, a Duke quarterback who went on to play in the NFL.
During those four years, Clemson was 4-0 against the Blue Devils, but the two games in Durham were close. In 1983, Bowden’s first year at Duke, a 9-1-1 Clemson team that finished the year ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll, defeated the Blue Devils 38-31. Duke had the ball on the Clemson nine for a fourth-down play on its last drive, but Clemson lineman James Robinson batted down Ben Bennett’s final pass. Bennett was 34-53 for 367 yards and four touchdowns that day under Bowden’s direction.
Close Games Continue Clemson’s run of close games continued at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets won by a 10-9 score. Clemson had the ball in Georgia Tech territory with under three minutes left, but could not convert a fourth-and eight play. Over the last 14 games, Clemson has a 9-5 record. All five of the losses have been by six points or less. Clemson has lost four games this year by a total of 14 points. That list includes two overtime games, so the point difference in regulation in those four losses this year is just five points.
This is the longest stretch without a loss by more than six points since the 1986-87 era when Clemson went 15 consecutive games without a loss by at least seven points. That streak started with a 28-20 win at Wake Forest on November 1, 1986 and ended when South Carolina defeated the Tigers 20-7 in Columbia on November 21, 1987.
Over the last 14 games the only blemishes on Clemson’s record have been a 16-13 loss at Duke, a 36-30 triple overtime loss to Miami (FL), a 16-13 overtime loss to Boston College, a 31-27 loss to Wake Forest, and the 10-9 loss to Georgia Tech. Four of those five losses the winning opponent points were scored within the last 33 seconds of the game. Clemson’s first five games of the 2005 season were decided with offensive or defensive plays within the last minute of play. That includes four of the five that were decided within the last two seconds, four on the last play of the game.
Clemson and Navy were the only schools in the nation to have each of their first five games decided by seven points or less. As far as Clemson history is concerned, this was the first time since 1906 that Clemson played five consecutive games in the same season that were decided by seven points or less. That year Clemson had three scoreless ties (Virginia Tech, NC State and Davidson), had a 6-0 win over Georgia and a 6-4 win over Auburn, to start the season. The streak was broken at NC State when Clemson came away with a 31-10 victory.20-20-20 Clemson has scored an even 200 points this year compared to 158 for the opposition, yet the overall record is 4-4. Clemson has scored 20 touchdowns, has made 20 extra points and kicked 20 field goals for perfect symmetry in the scoring area so far this season. While Clemson has a +42 in the scoring column there are many other areas that very close with the opposition and certainly are further indicators to a many close games over the course of the season.
Tigers Have Just Nine Turnovers and 40 Penalties Clemson lost four turnovers and committed eight penalties in the 10-9 loss to Georgia Tech on October 29. Those mistakes contributed to the loss, but certainly were the exception for this 2005 Clemson team. The Tigers lost three fumbles in the first half after going 499 consecutive offensive plays without a fumble. Clemson was the last team in the nation to lose a fumble after going the first seven games without losing. Reggie Merriweather broke string with a lost fumble on a play that was first called down, but later changed to a lost fumble by instant replay. It was Merriweather’s first lost fumble as a Tiger on his 238th career carry.
While Clemson made mistakes against Tech, the Tigers are still ranked high nationally in terms of not committing turnovers or penalties. Clemson has lost nine turnovers for the season on three lost fumbles and six interceptions, tied for the eighth fewest in the nation. With three lost fumbles, Clemson is tied for seventh in the nation in fewest fumbles lost. Rutgers is now the national leader with one lost fumble for the season. The Tigers are also 11th in the nation in fewest penalties committed with 40 in eight games.
Whitehurst Needs 163 Yards for Third 2000-yard Season Charlie Whitehurst needs just 163 yards passing to reach the 2000-yard passing mark for the third time in his career. When he does he will own three of the top five 2000-yard passing seasons in Clemson history. Whitehurst owns the Clemson record with 3561 yards during Clemson’s 13-game schedule in 2003. He had 2067 last year, which is the fourth most passing yards in a season. Woody Dantzler and Nealon Greene are the only other Clemson quarterbacks with a 2000-yard passing season. Whitehurst ranks sixth in ACC history in passing yards, but will move into the top five with his next completion. Spence Fisher, ironically a Duke quarterback (1992-95) is just two yards ahead of Whitehurst.
ACC Career Passing Yardage Leaders
Clemson Single Season Passing Yards Bests
Merriweather Has Back to Back 100-Yard Games Reggie Merriweather rushed for a career high 128 yards in 23 carries against Georgia Tech, his second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and fourth of his career. Merriweather had 108 yards in the win over Temple and is now the first Tiger running back to have consecutive 100-yard rushing days since Travis Zachery had 147 against NC State and 151 against Maryland in consecutive games in 2000. Woody Dantzler had consecutive 100-yard games against South Carolina and Duke to close the 2001 regular season.
A 100-yard day against Duke would make Merriweather the first Clemson player to have three consecutive 100-yard days since Dantzler had four in a row in 2000. The last running back to have three consecutive 100-yard rushing days is Raymond Priester, Clemson’s career rushing leader, who had four in a row to close the 1996 season.
Entering this week, Merriweather is Clemson’s top rusher with 555 yards in eight games, an average of 69.4 yards per game. That is fourth best in the conference behind Chris Barclay of Wake Forest (124.8), Tyrone Moss of Miami (96.4) and P. J. Daniels of Georgia Tech (84.9). Merriweather out-rushed Daniels in their head to head battle last weekend, 128-100. Merriweather now has 1281 career rushing yards, tops among active Tigers. He has four touchdowns this season and 15 for his career.
Merriweather Sets Clemson Record Clemson running back Reggie Merriweather scored the game winning touchdown for the Tigers in the 28-24 win at Maryland on September 10. His 38-yard jaunt around right end on a third-and-seven play with 2:58 left marked the second straight year and third time in his career that he had scored a game winning touchdown with three minutes or less left in game. In fact, it was the third time he had done it in a seven-game period.
Merriweather scored from two yards out with 23 seconds left to give Clemson a 10-7 win over Maryland in 2004, then scored from a yard out in overtime against Miami just a couple of weeks later. Clemson kept the Hurricanes out of the endzone and Clemson had the victory.
When Merriweather scored his game winner at Maryland he became the first player in Clemson history to score three fourth-quarter game winning touchdowns in a career. Prior to the Maryland game, Merriweather was joined in the Tiger record books in that category by Fred Cone, Doug Cline, George Usry, Lowndes Shingler and Jerry Butler. Merriweather is now one game-winning play behind David Treadwell. Treadwell booted a fourth-quarter game winning field goal for Clemson four times in his career, including consecutive years within the last 10 seconds against Georgia (1986-87).
Two of NCAA Career Leaders in Interceptions on Display Two of the career leaders in interceptions among active Division I players will be on display when Clemson meets Duke this Saturday. The Blue Devils John Talley has 11 career interceptions to rank sixth nationally, while Clemson’s Jamaal Fudge has nine career pass thefts to rank in a tie for 13th among active players.
Talley has five interceptions in nine games this year and ranks tied for ninth in the nation in that category. His 11 career picks have been returned for 245 yards, also among the national leaders in that category. An All-ACC selection last year, he already ranks second in Duke history in interception return yards, trailing only Fred Folger (1946-48) by 38 yards.
Talley is a native of nearby Duncan, SC and Byrnes High School where he helped Byrnes to the State 4A championship game as a senior in 2002. In addition to his contributions on interceptions this year, Talley has 42 tackles to rank in a tie for fifth and has seven passes broken up, giving him 12 passes defensed, also first on the team. He is already in the top 10 in Duke history in that category.
Fudge has two interceptions this year and nine for his career. He is attempting to lead Clemson in interceptions for a third consecutive season, something no Tiger has ever done. Currently, Tye Hill is ahead of him with three interceptions. Fudge has a fumble recovery this year and two caused fumbles, including one last week at Georgia Tech. He has four caused fumbles in his career. He has two career fumble recoveries to go with the nine interceptions, giving him 11 career takeaways.
The native of Jacksonville, FL is following in the footsteps of Jacksonville native Brian Dawkins, now an All-Pro with the Philadelphia Eagles, when it comes to tackling. Fudge is known for his fierce tackling from the secondary and the 43 tackles for the season to rank fourth on the Clemson team. He now has252 for his career, more than any other active Tiger. Fudge has now started 32 consecutive games, second among active Tigers behind Charlie Whitehurst’s 37 consecutive starts, and has played in 45 in a row. Fudge has never missed a Clemson game.
Stuckey Leads ACC in Receptions Chansi Stuckey had a solid game at Georgia Tech and got some help from his defensive teammates, enabling him to move past Calvin Johnson into the ACC lead in terms of receptions per game. Stuckey had eight catches for 89 yards at Tech (including 49 yards after the catch), and now has 42 catches in eight games for the season, a 5.25 average. Johnson was held to four receptions for 46 yards by the Clemson defense and now has 36 receptions in seven games for 5.14 catches per game, just below Stuckey’s average.
Stuckey’s 5.25 receptions per game would be fifth best in Clemson history if the season ended today. The record is 6.75 catches per game by Rod Gardner in 1999, a year in which he had a school record 80 receptions. Airese Currie had 61 catches in 11 games last year for a 5.55 average when he led the ACC. In addition to his pass catching, Stuckey is ranked in the top five in the ACC as a punt returner with a 9.1 average on 16 returns. His season in that area included a 47-yard punt return for a touchdown in the season opener against Texas A&M.
Stuckey Attempting to Join Exclusive Club Clemson Chansi Stuckey is on the verge of joining an exclusive club in Clemson football history. The junior receiver has accounted for a touchdown three different ways in his a career. He threw two touchdown passes as a freshman quarterback at Wake Forest in 2003. He ran for a touchdown as a reserve quarterback at South Carolina in 2003. He scored a touchdown on a punt return against Texas A&M in 2005.
Now he just needs to score a touchdown on a reception to become the third player in Clemson history to account for a touchdown by four different means. The other two Tigers to account for touchdowns four different ways are Bobby Gage and Ray Mathews. Both did it four different ways in the same season. Gage scored on a run, pass, reception and kickoff return in 1947, while Mathews scored on a run, pass, reception and punt return in 1948.
Stuckey has 34 receptions to lead the Tigers in that category this year and rank in a tie for second in the ACC with 4.9 catches per game. But, he is yet to get that elusive touchdown reception. He has 69 career receptions to rank first among active Tigers in that category.
The junior receiver was very productive in the win over NC State. In the win at NC State, he had eight receptions for 103 yards, the second 100-yard receiving game of his career. His total included a 39-yard reception, the longest catch of his career. He also had 22 yards rushing on two attempts, including a 21-yard run, the longest run of his career. In the win over Temple he had another 100-yard all-purpose running game. He had 58 receiving yards, 23 rushing yards and 21 punt return yards in that game.
Defense Coming on Strong Clemson’s defense has held the opposition to 10 points or fewer in three consecutive games. That is the first time Clemson’s defense has done that since the first four games of the 2000 season. Clemson held NC State to 10 points on a Thursday night ESPN National TV victory on October 13, then held Temple to seven in a 37-7 Clemson win. Last Saturday the Clemson defense held Georgia Tech and All-America wide receiver Calvin Johnson to just 126 yards passing and 10 points.
Over the last three games, Clemson has allowed the opposition just 906 yards of total offense, 27 points and just three touchdowns, including just one touchdown pass. For the season, Clemson is now up to 30th in the nation in scoring defense and 33rd in total defense. And, that includes overtime periods. Clemson has given up 22 overtime points so Clemson has allowed just 17 points per game in regulation play. A scoring defense of 17.0 would rank 15th in the nation.
Clemson Defense Allowed Last Three Games
Tigers Hold Pack to 10 Points Clemson had a strong defensive performance in the win over NC State. Overall, the 21-point victory margin was the best for Clemson in the series with the Pack since 1996 when Clemson won by 23 points in a 40-17 victory at Death Valley. The 21-point victory margin was the largest for the Tigers in any ACC game since a 40-7 win over Duke at Clemson in 2003. It was the largest margin of victory in an ACC road game since a 39-3 win at Georgia Tech in 2003.
The Tigers were outstanding on offense and defense. The 489 yards of total offense were the most by a Clemson team in any game since the Tigers recorded 542 yards of offense at South Carolina in 2003. Clemson held the Pack to 267 yards of offense and just 92 yards rushing in scoring 10 points. It was the fewest points scored by NC State against Clemson since a 30-10 Tiger victory at Clemson in 1989. It was the fewest points scored by NC State against the Tigers in Raleigh since 1988.
The 267 yards of total defense ranked as the best by the Clemson defense this year, as was the 4.2 yards per play allowed and the 88.1 passing efficiency defense, and the one touchdown allowed.
Clemson Defense Solid vs. Miami The NCAA overtime rule can play havoc with the evaluation of various statistics. That is the case with Clemson’s defensive performance against Miami (FL) in the most recent game, a 36-30 Miami triple overtime win. Miami scored 16 of its 36 points in the three overtime periods, which will hurt Clemson’s scoring defense stats all year. The same goes for total offense and yards per game, as Miami gained 73 yards in the overtime.
Through the 60 minutes of regulation, the Hurricanes gained just 264 yards of total offense, 49 yards less than they gained against Florida State’s famed defensive unit. The Hurricanes threw for just 109 yards on 23 pass attempts during regulation as Vic Koenning’s defensive unit allowed less than five yards per pass attempt. Clemson allowed just 5-14 third-down conversions in regulation and allowed just 15 first downs. Miami gained just 4.0 yards per play during regulation.
Anthony Waters led Clemson in tackles for the second consecutive game in the Miami loss with 11. C.J. Gaddis had his second consecutive double figure tackle game with 10, while Sergio Gilliam had a career high nine stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
In common opponents between Clemson and Florida State this year, Clemson has had a better total defensive statistic in regulation play than the Seminoles against Miami (FL), Boston College and Wake Forest.
Hill on Thorpe Award List Clemson cornerback Tye Hill was a mid-season addition to the Jim Thorpe Award list. The Tiger senior was not on the preseason list because he was not a returning all-conference player, but he has reached the award’s radar screen with his strong performance so far this season. Hill is fifth on the Clemson team in tackles with 43, including 32 first hits. He has three interceptions to lead the Clemson team and rank 36th in the nation and he leads the Clemson team in takaways with four (three interceptions and one fumble recovery).
In his September listing of top senior NFL Draft prospects, Mel Kiper ranked Hill 14th overall, third among defensive backs. Hill made a seven-place jump in Kiper’s rankings since the season began. Kiper ranks Southern Cal quarterback Matt Leinart first in his rankings of draft eligible players, followed by Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk. The only defensive backs ranked ahead of Hill are Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams and Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen.
Hill had a career high 11 tackles at Wake Forest, including three tackles for loss. That was a Clemson single game record for tackles for loss by a defensive back. He followed that up with an impressive game at NC State in front of a press box that had 15 NFL scouts. He had five tackles and a 24-yard interception return in that contest.
Hill was part of a Clemson secondary that held Georgia Tech star receiver Calvin Johnson to four receptions for 46 yards, his low reception yardage total of the season. Most importantly, Johnson did not score a touchdown and the Yellow Jacket offense scored just 10 points for the entire game.
Mel Kiper’s Top Senior Prospects (September 2005)
Hill Preseason Honors for 2005*Writers All-America Watch List *Honorable mention All-American by collegefootballnews.com *First-team All-ACC by Street & Smith *First-team All-ACC by Rivals.com *First-team All-ACC by collegefootballnews.com *First-team Preseason All-ACC by ACC Sportswriters Association *Second-team All-ACC by Athlon *Second-team All-ACC by Lindy’s *Second-team All-ACC by Phil Steele *#5 NFL prospect at cornerback by collegefootballnews.com *#6 Best Cornerback in nation by collegefootballnews.com *#7 Cornerback in the nation by Lindy’s * #16 Cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele *#17 Best Player in the ACC by collegefootballnews.com *Clemson’s “Star of the team” by collegefootballnews.com
Dean Leads Nation in Two CategoriesNeeds Three Field Goals to Tie Record Clemson kicker Jad Dean leads the nation in two categories. The junior from Greenwood paces the nation in field goals per game with 20 in eight games, an average of 2.5 field goals per contest. He has made 20 of his 24 attempts this year. Dean also leads the nation in kick scoring with 80 points in kick scoring points with 80 in eight games for 10.0 per game. He is ninth in the nation in scoring overall.
For his career, Dean is now 32-39 on field goals for a .821 figure, third best among active kickers. He has made 20 consecutive extra points and 43 percent of his kickoffs have not been returned.
Dean’s 20 field goals already rank fifth best in Clemson history for a single season and he still has at least three games to play. He is just three made field goals off the school record of 23 held by Obed Ariri in 1980. Ariri led the nation in field goals that year, the first Clemson football player to lead the nation in any statistical category.
Dean’s top performance of the year took place in Clemson’s 25-24 win over Texas A&M in the season opener. The junior was a perfect 6-6 on field goals, including a 42-yarder with two seconds left to give the Tigers the one-point win. Dean was successful on attempts from 21, 21, 25, 18, 44 and 42 yards in breaking the single game record of five field goals set by Nelson Welch three times. Welch had five against NC State in 1991, Maryland in 1992 and North Carolina in 1994.
For his performance, Dean was named the National Player of the Week by USA Today. In addition to setting the Clemson record for field goals in a game, Dean also established a Clemson record for kick scoring points in a game with 19.
National Leaders in Field Goals 2005
Clemson Single Season Field Goals Bests
Freshmen Making Contributions When it came time to decide on nominations for ACC Rookie of the Week after the Temple game, it was a difficult decision. Of the 68 Tiger players who appeared against Temple, 19 were freshmen (red-shirt or first-year). On defense, seven Clemson players were credited with five or more tackles and four of the seven were freshmen. Many made significant contributions to the victory and could have been ACC Rookie-of-the-Week nominees. · Antonio Clay led the Tigers in tackles with nine in his team high 62 plays of action. Clay had two tackles for loss for nine yards, including a seven-yard sack and one quarterback pressure. He was the first Clemson first-year freshman to lead the Tigers in tackles since Leroy Hill did it in 2001 against Duke.· Dorell Scott played 31 snaps and had a career high six tackles, including his first career sack. He also had two fumble recoveries, the first Clemson player in nine years to recover two fumbles in the same game. It also tied the Clemson single game record for fumble recoveries, as he was the 15th player in Clemson history to do it.· Aaron Kelly had seven receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown to lead the Clemson offense. His 155 receiving yards established a Clemson freshman record and it was the sixth most receiving yards by any player in a game in Clemson history. Kelly now ranks second on the Clemson team in receptions with 33 and is second in yardage with 408. Freshman James Davis is second in rushing yards with 434 and is fourth in receptions with 13. Freshman safety Michael Hamlin is seventh on the team in tackles with 38 and third in interception return yards with 31.
Tigers Had 300-yard Passer, 150-yard receiver, 100-yard Rusher vs. Tempe Clemson had a 300-yard passer, a 150-yard receiver and a 100-yard rusher in the win over Temple, a first in Clemson history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 307 yards, Aaron Kelly caught seven passes for 155 yards and Reggie Merriweather ran for 108 yards on 17 attempts to lead the 514-yard total offense effort. It was Clemson’s first 500-yard game since the 2003 season when the Tigers had 542 yards in a 63-17 win at South Carolina.
The closest Clemson had come to that three-way accomplishment took place in 1981 in a victory over Maryland. That day, Perry Tuttle had 161 receiving yards, Cliff Austin had 101 rushing yards and Homer Jordan threw for 270 yards. Jordan threw for 214 yards in the first half of that game when Clemson took a 21-0 lead. But, Danny Ford played conservatively in the second half on offense and the Tigers won the team 21-0 to clinch the ACC Championship and continue an undefeated season that concluded in a National Championship.
Tigers Gain 7.7 Yards/Play The yards per play statistic had not been a good indicator of success in Clemson football games for the first five games of the season. In each of Clemson’s first five games the team with the higher yards per play statistic lost the game. But, Clemson averaged 7.7 yards per play in defeating Temple. The 7.7 yards per play figure in the win over Temple ranked third best since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach at Clemson (80 games). The only yards per play figures better than the Temple game were the 8. 0 against Duke in 2001 and the 8.1 at South Carolina in 2003.
Clemson is now averaging 5.6 yards per play this season, much improved over the 4.4 figure in 2004. The current 5.6 yards per play average is third best in Clemson history. The school record for a season is 6.2 per play in 1950.Browning Always Productive Over his career it seems that every time Kyle Browning gets a chance, he makes the most of it. That trend continued in the victory over Temple when the red-shirt senior caught a 41-yard scoring pass in the first quarter from quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. It was the first touchdown of the game in Clemson’s 37-7 victory. Browning, the smallest player among the regular Tiger players at 5-7, had 8-23 rushing and 3-49 receiving, giving him 72 yards in 11 touches. He continued the fine play with 6-33 rushing at Georgia Tech.
Browning has made a habit of making big plays throughout his career. In 2003 he scored on a “Panther Play” in the Peach Bowl victory over sixth-ranked Tennessee. It was an eight-yard run that gave Clemson a lead it would never relinquish. Then 2004 began with Browning scoring the winning touchdown in overtime against Wake Forest on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst. He also had a 54-yard run for a touchdown against Georgia Tech in the second game of the season. For his career, Browning now has four touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving.Tigers Throw for 359 Yards Clemson threw for 359 yards as a team in the win over Temple, the third highest single game performance in Clemson history and the most by the Tigers in the history of Clemson Memorial Stadium. Charlie Whitehurst had his Clemson record eighth career 300-yard passing game, as he accumulated 307 yards on 19-27 passing. Backup quarterback Will Proctor had his most extensive action as a passer as he completed 3-6 passes for 52 yards and his first career touchdown.
The only passing yardage totals higher in Clemson history are the 420 yards at Duke in 2002 (Charlie Whitehurst’s first career start) and a 364-yard passing performance at Duke in 1963. The previous record for Clemson Memorial Stadium by a Clemson team was 350 yards against Wake Forest in 1998. Clemson has now thrown for at least 330 yards in a game 10 times, and Tommy Bowden has been the Tigers head coach for seven of those 10 games.
Clemson’s Highest Passing Yardage Games
Kelly Sets Freshman Record Wide receiver Aaron Kelly set a Clemson single game freshman record against Temple when he had seven receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown. The yardage total broke the Clemson freshman record of 139 yards (on six catches) by Roscoe Crosby against Duke in 2001 and was the sixth most by any player in Clemson history. Kelly’s seven receptions were two off the single game record for a freshman. Derrick Hamilton had receptions for 90 yards against Virginia in 2001 and Terry Smith had nine for 84 against Maryland in 1990.
Kelly, a native of Georgia, has 33 receptions for 408 yards so far this season. He still has a ways to go to catch Hamilton’s freshman records in both areas. In 2001, Hamilton had 53 receptions for 684 yards. Kelly has had at least two receptions in every game this year and at least four in six of the eight contests. He and Chansi Stuckey are the only Tigers to have at least one reception in every game this year.
He had his first career kickoff return at Georgia Tech, an 81-yard run that set up a Clemson score. It was the third longest non-scoring kickoff return in Clemson history and first play for over 80 yards this season.
Clemson’s top Reception yardage Games
Book Ends Post Top Game Senior defensive end Charles Bennett and junior bandit linebacker Gaines Adams had their most productive game of the season against Temple. The Clemson “Bookends” combined for five tackles for loss and three sacks in the victory, a big reason the Owls had just 12 yards rushing in the game. For the first time this year, the Bookends met at the quarterback to combine on a sack.
Bennett had his best game of the young 2005 season and the second best tackle game of his career when he had eight tackles against Miami (FL) on September 17. The native of Camden, SC had five first hits and three assists for his eight tackles. Two of the eight were behind the line of scrimmage, including an eight-yard sack on Miami’s last possession of regulation, a stop that gave Clemson the ball back with a chance to tie the game. He also had three quarterback pressures in the Miami game.
Bennett’s career high for tackles in a game is 10, recorded at Florida State last year, a game in which he also had two tackles for loss. The sack against Miami (FL) was the seventh of his career and the first this season. He has now started every game over the last two years with the exception of the Texas A&M game in 2004. For the year, Bennett has 32 tackles on 21 first hits and 11 assists. He has 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks to go with eight quarterback pressures.
Gaines Adams was moved to the “Bandit” end position last spring, as defensive coordinator Vic Koenning sought to take advantage of the 6-5, 260-pounder’s athletic ability. Adams showed that athletic ability in the win over Maryland recording a career high eight tackles, including four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for that performance.
Adams continued his fine play in the win over Temple with another 2.5 sacks. He is currently in the top five in the ACC in sacks with his five for 30 yards. He also leads the team in quarterback pressures with 18. He has 38 tackles overall to rank first among Clemson’s front four players. Adams, who played eight-man football at Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, SC for former South Carolina quarterback Steve Tanneyhill, made a key sack on Maryland’s final drive. With the Terps on the Clemson 40 with a second-and-10 and just 1:45 left, Adams sacked Terps quarterback Sam Hollenbach. Clemson then held Maryland on third and fourth down, clinching the Tiger victory.Clemson Records 200-200 Game Most teams strive for offensive balance because an ability to rush and throw the ball with effectiveness usually translates to a victory. That has been the case in Clemson history. A look to the records shows that Clemson has never lost a game in which it has had at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing on offense.
That pattern continued in the victory over NC State on October 13, as the Tigers had 243 yards rushing and 246 yards passing in the 31-10 victory. It was the first time since the 2002 North Carolina game that Clemson had at least 243 yards rushing and 243 yards passing in the same game. Overall, it was the 17th time in Tommy Bowden’s career that Clemson has had at least 200 yards of each, the first time since Clemson had 302 passing and 240 yards rushing in the 63-17 win over South Carolina in 2003.
The 243 rushing yards by the Tigers were the most against NC State’s defense since the 2003 season when Florida State had 272 against the Pack. Clemson completed 71 percent of its passes in the game, the highest completion percentage against the Pack since the 2003 season when Virginia completed 41-55. Clemson is now 43-0-1 when it has at least 200 yards of each category, including 36 consecutive wins dating to 1976. The only time Clemson has failed to gain victory when it had at least 200 rushing and 200 passing took place in a 24-24 tie with Georgia Tech in 1976.
Clemson Offensive Line Young and Balanced When someone asks Head Coach Tommy Bowden to rate his top offensive linemen he usually has to pause and think about. Over the first eight games, six different offensive linemen have had the highest film grade awarded by Assistant Head Coach Brad Scott. Center Dustin Fry led the way against Texas A&M and Georgia Tech, senior offensive guard Chip Myrick was the leader against Maryland, junior tackle Marion Dukes had the high grade against Miami (FL), guard Brandon Pilgrim was the best against Boston College, and junior Roman Fry was the leader against Wake Forest and NC State. Marion Dukes had the top grade against Temple at 85 percent.
Clemson’s offensive line had its best performance against NC State, leading the Tigers to a two-year best 489 yards of total offense, including 243 on the ground. Clemson did not allow a sack even though the Tigers were going against an NC State defensive line that ranks among the best in the nation. Three of the four starting down linemen for the Pack are slated to be drafted in the first two rounds of the 2006 NFL draft.
Barry Richardson was named ACC Lineman of the Week for that game after recording an 82 percent grade. That was quite an accomplishment considering he was going head-to-head with NC State’s Manny Lawson, one of the top defensive ends in the nation. Richardson had five knockdown blocks, including a key block on James Davis’s first touchdown run. What is encouraging for Bowden is the youth of the offensive line. Chip Myrick is the only senior among the 10 offensive linemen who have played in a game this year, meaning just about everyone will be back for the Tigers up front on offense in 2006.
Clemson Knockdown Block Leaders
Whitehurst Breaks Total Offense Record Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst became Clemson’s career total offense record holder in the win over Temple. The graduate had an even 300-yard game and now has 9,122 yards for his career. Woodrow Dantzler held the Clemson mark with 8,798 yards. Whitehurst is now eighth on the ACC list. He needs just 174 yards to move ahead of Chris Rix and Shawn Jones into sixth place in ACC history.
Few observers felt Dantzler’s record would ever be broken because of his ability as a runner and passer. But, Whitehurst has already trumped Dantzler’s passing numbers and should break the total offense mark on Saturday. Whitehurst has appeared in 41 games for the Tigers, including 37 in a row as the starting quarterback. Whitehurst has at least three games remaining and should reach third place in ACC history before he hangs up his Clemson jersey. He doesn’t have a realistic shot to reach Phillip Rivers of NC State or Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech. But, he could reach the 9,630-yard total of former NC State quarterback Jamie Barnette.
Whitehurst holds 40 Clemson records, including 14 career marks. He is already the Clemson career record holder for passing yards, completions, completion percentage and touchdown passes. His 22 career victories fourth in school history. He moved ahead of Steve Fuller and Mike Eppley with the win over Temple. That career record is an unattainable 32 wins by Rodney Williams (1985-8), but Whitehurst certainly hopes to reach Nealon Greene’s 24 wins between 1994-97. So far this season, Whitehurst has completed 67.2 percent of his passes, ahead of the single season mark of 63 percent by Brandon Streeter in 1999.
ACC Career Leaders in Total Offense
Davis Leads ACC Freshman Rushers Freshman running back James Davis gained 143 yards in 12 attempts and score a pair of touchdowns in Clemson’s 31-10 win over NC State. He was named the Player of the Game by ESPN for his performance. Davis consistently made big plays, as he had six different runs of at least 10 yards. For the season, Davis now has 434 yards in 85 attempts, 5.1 yards per attempt in six games. It was the second 100-yard game of the year for the first-year freshman and the 143 yards ranked fifth best among freshmen for a single game in school history. Davis was on his way to a 200-yard game, but he suffered a fractured left wrist on his first carry of the third period and could not return. Davis is ranked seventh in the ACC in rushing yards per game entering this week’s play, first among freshmen. He had just one rush against Georgia Tech due to a broken wrist.
Davis’s rushing total at NC State was the most by any Clemson player since October 13, 2001 when Woodrow Dantzler gained 184 yards in 23 attempts at NC State (four years ago to the day on the same field). It is interesting to point out that Dantzler also wore number-one and the Tigers were dressed in white jerseys and purple pants that day. Davis’s performance was the best by a Clemson running back since Travis Zachery had 151 yards in 29 attempts against Maryland in 2000.
Top Single Game Freshman Rushing Performances
Waters 20th in Nation in Tackles for Loss One of the top Clemson players of the 1960s was Charlie Waters, who went on to fame with the Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s. Now another player named Waters (no relation) is making a name for himself at Clemson. Anthony Waters is Clemson’s top tackler so far this year with 73 stops and ranks third in the ACC and 36th in the nation in that category on a per game basis. That is saying something because the ACC might be the best conference in the nation when it comes to defense.
Waters had 11 tackles at NC State, including four tackles for loss. He now has 10.5 tackles for loss for the season to rank second in the ACC and 20th in the nation in that category. He has five more tackles for loss than any other Clemson defende.
Waters has taken over the middle linebacker position left vacant by Leroy Hill, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and a third-team AP All-American. Last year, Hill had 106 tackles for 11 games and contributed 19 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Waters level of production is not far behind so far this year. Through seven games he has played Waters has 73 stops and 10.5 tackles for loss to lead the Tigers in each category.
On a per game basis, Waters is averaging nearly 10.4 tackles per game, above the 9.6 per game by Hill. Hill averaged 1.73 tackles for loss last year, among the top 20 in the nation, and Waters stands at 1.5 per game. Waters led Clemson in tackles in four of the first six games. He had 14 at Maryland when he was in a matchup with D’Quell Jackson, the ACC’s top tackler. He then posted 11 stops in the triple overtime game with Miami (FL). Against Boston College, he led the Tigers again with 14 stops, tying his career high for the second time in three games.
The native of Lake View, SC is averaging a tackle every 5.04 plays, better than the tackle for every 6.4 plays by Hill in 2004.
Hamlin Has Outstanding Opening Game Michael Hamlin made his first start at the CAT safety position at NC State and the red-shirt freshman responded with a career high eight tackles. He was Clemson’s second leading tackler and a big reason the Tigers held NC State quarterback Jay Davis to just 133 yards passing in 31 attempts. Davis had passed for at least 200 yards in 10 of the last 11 games and was leading the ACC in passing yards per game entering the contest.
Hamlin’s success was not a surprise, as he had contributed 19 tackles in the first five games of the season as a reserve safety. He now has 38 tackles for the season on 21 first hits and 17 assists in 282 plays on defense. He had another solid game at Georgia Tech when he had six tackles and an interception. He took the ball from All-America receiver Calvin Johnson and returned it 31 yards. He as a big reason Johnson had just 46 receiving yards on the day, his low figure of the season.
A native of Timmonsville, SC, Hamlin attended Lamar High School, the same school that sent for Clemson All-American and Pittsburgh Steeler All-Pro linebacker Levon Kirkland to Clemson. Hamlin was the leading tackler in the 2005 Spring game with 11 tackles. He was a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina his senior year. He had 23 career interceptions at the high school level.Tigers Offense Improved from 2004 Clemson’s offense has shown improvement over last season in a number of categories. The Tigers have increased their total offense from 295.6 per game to 387.4, an increase of 31 percent in yards per game. That breaks down to 41 yards per game more on the ground and 51 yards per game improvement in the air. Clemson is also improved in turnovers and that can lead directly to point prevention. Clemson has just nine turnovers in seven games, an average of 1.29 per game. The 2004 team had 24 turnovers in 11 games, an average of 2.18 per game.
The improvement is also apparent in the play of quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who has improved his completion percentage for 50.7 to 67.2, his passing efficiency from 97.3 to 133.9. He has also cut his interceptions drastically. He threw 17 last year and has just six in eight games so far in 2005. And three of the six were tipped passes by his receivers and another was on a “Hail Mary” pass at the end of the Georgia Tech game.
Clemson Offense Comparison
Charlie Whitehurst Comparison
Grant, Clark Out for the Year Clemson wide receiver Kelvin Grant suffered a torn ACL in practice on Wednesday, October 6 and will be lost for the season. The junior from Camden, SC ranked fifth on the Clemson team in receptions this season with 10 catches and is fourth in reception yards with 84.
Starting defensive tackle Donnell Clark suffered a torn ACL in the win over Temple and also is lost for the season. Both players will have surgery a week apart within the next few weeks. Grant was injured during a drill in practice on while making a cut.Grant started five games last year and played in 10 overall when he had 23 receptions for 274 yards. He has 45 career receptions in 26 career games for 437 yards and one touchdown. Grant red-shirted the 2002 season at Clemson, so he has one more year of eligibility. Clark had started six of the seven games and had 12 tackles, including a sack. He had played 191 snaps in the first seven games.
These Games are GoodClemson has played seven games this season and each of the first five were decided by a touchdown or less within the last three minutes of the game. Four of the five came down to the last play, including the last three, two of which have gone to overtime.
It has been thrill-a-minute for Clemson players, coaches and fans, and that has been the opinion of the editors of Collegefootballnews.com. The internet site devoted exclusively to college football selects its top 10 games of college football each week. In each of the first five weeks, Clemson’s game was ranked among the top seven games in college football that weekend.
In the first week of college football, Clemson’s 25-24 victory over Texas A&M ranked as the top game of the week. Jad Dean’s field goal with two seconds left was the game winner. Clemson’s game with Maryland in week II ranked seventh best, as the Tigers overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and scored the game winner on a 38-yard run by Reggie Merriweather with 2:58 remaining.
Clemson’s 36-30 triple overtime loss to Miami (FL) was the second best game of Week III, trailing only Michigan State’s overtime victory at Notre Dame. The Clemson vs. Boston College game, another overtime affair that ended in the Eagles victory column by a 16-13 score, ranked seventh.
Then, the Clemson vs. Wake Forest game in Winston-Salem on October 1 ranked as the third best game of the weekend. Wake Forest scored with 33 seconds left to take a 31-27 lead, then Clemson drove to Wake Forest’s three-yard line on the last play of the game before Curtis Baham was stopped shy of giving the Tigers a game-winning touchdown.
Clemson was the only team in the country to have played a “Top10 game” each of the first five weeks of the season according to the site. The streak was stopped the weekend of October 8 when Clemson had an open date. The internet site also ranks the best game each week by conference. Each of the first five weeks Clemson’s game was ranked as the best game in the ACC.
Clemson Played Consecutive Overtime Games Clemson played consecutive overtime games, losses at home to 13th ranked Miami (FL) 36-30 in triple overtime on September 17, and 16-13 in overtime to 25th ranked (USA) Boston College on September 24. It marked first time in ACC history that a league school played consecutive overtime games, but it has happened quite often nationally.
In fact, Clemson and TCU both played consecutive overtime games this year on the same weekends. No team has ever played three overtime games in succession. The overtime rule dates to the 1996 season. TCU won consecutive overtime games, a 23-20 win over Utah on September 15 and a 51-50 win over BYU on September 24. Clemson and TCU were the 17th and 18th occurrences of a team playing back to back overtime games. The first school to do it was Southern Cal in 1996, as the Trojans concluded their season with a loss to Southern Cal and a win over Notre Dame (Lou Holtz’s last game as Notre Dame coach).
In 2004 Texas A&M and Northwestern were the only teams to play consecutive overtime games. The last team to lose consecutive overtime games was Temple in 2003. However, the Owls had an open date in between overtime losses to Villanova and Cincinnati. Arizona State lost consecutive games in overtime on consecutive Saturdays in 2000. Both of those games were in double overtime.
Clemson won its first five overtime games between 1997-2004, but the Tigers have now lost two in a row. Entering the 2005 season there were two Division I teams with an all-time record of 5-0 in overtime, Clemson and BYU. Both lost in overtime on the same weekend this year. BYU lost to TCU, 51-50 on September 24. Clemson and NC State have played the most overtime games among ACC schools so there is another opportunity when the teams meet on Thursday. NC State has played 10 overtime games in its history and Clemson is second with seven. Clemson has been involved in five of the last eight overtime games played involving ACC teams.
Clemson in Overtime (5-2) Date Opponent OT Site Score 11-8-1997 Duke 1 H 29-20 9-29-2001 Georgia Tech 1 A 47-44 10-11-2003 Virginia 1 H 30-27 9-4-2004 Wake Forest 2 H 37-30 11-6-2004 Miami (FL) 1 A 24-17 9-17-2005 Miami (FL) 3 H 30-36 9-24-2005 Boston College 1 H 13-16
Baham Having Best Season If Clemson gave an award at midseason most improved player on offense the winner would probably be Curtis Baham. The senior from New Orleans has had a lot of distractions this fall with the events of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on his family, but it has not effected him on the football field. It has in fact motivated him. So far this year Baham has been Clemson’s big play threat with an average of 17.5 yards per reception (20-349) and four touchdowns. He is tied for the team lead in touchdowns with James Davis, who has four on the ground.
Baham had an 11-yard average as a sophomore in 2003 when he had 22 catches and an 11.8 average last year when he had 16 catches in 10 games. Baham had at least one catch in each of the first six games, and had a career high 87 receiving yards on five receptions in the triple overtime game against Miami (FL). He scored a tying touchdown in the first overtime on a fourth down pass from Charlie Whitehurst to send the game into a second OT. He had a 51-yard touchdown catch at Maryland that swayed the momentum in Clemson’s favor in the 28-24 Tiger victory.
Baham will have a chance for the mark based on a minimum of 20 receptions for a season. That record is 22.6 yards per catch by Glenn Smith in 1950 when he had 22 catches for 498 yards. Only three players in Clemson history have averaged 20 yards per reception and had a minimum of 20 catches in a season. Those are Smith, Craig Brantley (1975) and Terry Smith in 1993.
Bowden Has Coached 102 Games Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden coached his 100th game as a Division I head coach when the Tigers played at Georgia Tech. Bowden now a record of 66-37 for his first 103 games as a head coach, 22 at Tulane and 81 at Clemson. He was 18-4 in two seasons with the Green Wave and 48-33 so far in his seven seasons at Clemson. At this point in his career, Tommy has the same record as his father. Both had 66 wins over their first 103 games as a Division I head coach.
Bowden is the 24th head coach in Clemson history and he is already third in school history in coaching victories with 48. Bowden trails only Frank Howard (165) and Danny Ford (96) on the Clemson list. When Bowden defeated South Carolina in the final game of the 2004 season, he moved ahead of Hall of Fame coach Jess Neely, who had 43 wins for the Tigers in his nine seasons (1931-39). That was also the 600th win in Clemson history.
Bowden is also moving up the Clemson coaching ranks in other areas. He now has eight wins over top 25 teams at Clemson, also third among Tiger head coaches. Danny Ford had 20 top 25 wins in his career between 1978-89, still the Clemson record, while Frank Howard had 11 top 25 wins in his career between 1940-69. Howard might have had more top 25 wins than he is credited for because the AP polls only ranked a top 10 from 1961-68 and poll point totals for teams 11-25 don’t exist.
Bowden went ahead of Ken Hatfield with the win over Texas A&M. Hatfield had seven wins over top 25 teams during his tenure from 1990-93. Bowden is also third in conference wins with 29 and fourth in wins by seven points or less. He has 14 of those close victories, tied with Jess Neely who had 14 between 1931-39. Frank Howard had 49 and Danny Ford had 26 wins by seven points or less.
Clemson’s Winningest Coaches
Tigers Have Faced Difficult Schedule Clemson played three top 25 teams (USA/Coaches poll) within its first four games of 2005. Clemson played #17 Texas A&M, #13 Miami (FL) and #25 Boston College within the first four games of the season, the first time history Clemson played three top 25 teams within the first four games. Frank Howard’s 1966 team played three games against top 10 teams within its first five games. In many ways this has been the most challenging home schedule in Clemson history. Four of the six opponents who will come to Clemson (Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida State) were ranked in the preseason top 25 of the AP poll. That is a first in Clemson history. There is a strong chance all four will be ranked when they come to Clemson. Miami (FL) was 13th entering its game at Clemson and Boston College was 25th in the USA Today poll. Florida State is a consensus top 15 team at the moment. They will come to Clemson on November 12. Clemson has never had four top 25 teams come to Clemson in the same season. In fact, only the 2003 and 1988 seasons have seen as many as three top 25 teams play against Clemson in Death Valley. In 1988, Clemson lost to a 10th ranked Florida State team at home, but beat top 25 teams from Duke and South Carolina at home later in the season. In 2003, Clemson lost the opener at home to a top 10 Georgia team, then beat 25th ranked Virginia in overtime, and defeated third ranked Florida State. Overall, Clemson is 22-26-1 against top 25 teams in Death Valley over the years. Coach Bowden is 5-6 against top 25 teams at home in his seven years, including the 26-10 win over third ranked Florida State in 2003, the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in history at home. The number of games against top 25 teams at home shows how the ACC has gotten stronger over the years. Clemson played just four games against top 25 teams at home between 1942-66. That is four games in 25 years. In the last 25 years Clemson has played 34 games against top 25 teams at home. Another Last Second ThrillerNine of the last 12 and 11 of the last 18 Clemson games, including the first five this year, were decided by seven points or less, and all on plays within the last three minutes of the game or in overtime. Clemson won six of those 11 close games, but lost three in a row.
The 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean that gave Clemson a 25-24 victory over Texas A&M came with just two seconds left and was the latest game-winning field goal by a Tiger player since David Treadwell’s 21-yard field goal with two seconds left best Georgia in 1987.
The Tigers followed that with the win at Maryland on a 38-yard run by Reggie Merriweather with just 2:58 left. The Clemson defense then forced Maryland to relinquish the ball with 47 seconds remaining, thanks to a sack by Gaines Adams. Miami then defeated Clemson in three overtimes and Boston College stopped the Tigers in one overtime. Wake Forest scored its game winning TD with 33 seconds left on a six-year touchdown pass. The Tigers then drove to the Wake Forest three before time ran out after Curtis Baham was tackled.
Clemson has had many a close victory under Tommy Bowden. Since he became the head coach in 1999, Clemson has registered 10 victories in which it has overcome a deficit or a tie game to score the winning points in the fourth quarter. Eight of the 10 have come with offensive plays inside the last 23 seconds or in overtime.
Clemson Heart Stoppers the last Two Seasons (6-2)
Eighteen Freshmen Have Played for Tigers in 2005Clemson played 57 men against Texas A&M in the season opener and 14 of them were first-year or red-shirt freshmen. The list included eight first-year freshmen, the most first-year freshmen to play in the opening game for the Tigers since 1995 when Tommy West played nine in the opening game of the season against Western Carolina. The same freshmen list also played at Maryland.
The first-year freshmen who played against Texas A&M included starting running back James Davis, wide receivers Rendrick Taylor and Tyler Grisham, defensive end Philip Merling, linebackers Antonio Clay and Josh Miller, defensive end Jock McKissic and defensive back Haydrian Lewis. The red-shirt freshmen who played for the first time for Clemson included wide receiver Aaron Kelly, defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson, defensive back Chris Clemons, safety Michael Hamlin, special teams players Cortney Vincent, and Akeem Robinson. Four more red-shirt freshmen have played since the opening of the season, so Tommy Bowden has used 18 freshmen so far this year.
In the 24 years of the red-shirt rule (including this season), Clemson has now played 132 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.50 per season. Fifty-six of the first-year freshmen have been offensive players, while 72 were defensive players and four have been kickers. Clemson played three offensive first-year freshmen and five defensive first-year freshmen against Texas A&M.
Since Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 34 first-year freshmen, 12 on offense, 20 on defense and two special teams. That is an average of 4.86 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden is a bit below the Clemson average for the last 24 years. The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985. That year Danny Ford played six first-year freshmen on offense and five on defense. The 1994 Clemson team under Tommy West played 10 first-year freshmen, including a record nine on offense.
The most successful Clemson team to play a lot of freshmen is the 1995 Tiger team. That year Clemson played nine first-year freshmen on the way to an 8-4 season. The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson tam that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season. The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is nine, in 2001, just one more than what he played against Texas A&M. That year Bowden played three on offense and six on defense on the way to a 7-5 season.
Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 24 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller). Bowden already has had two first-year freshmen earn All-America honors. Justin Miller (2002) and Barry Richardson (2004) were both named to the Football Writers first-team Freshman All-American team since Bowden has been the head coach.
Bowden First-Year Freshman Participants1999: (5)–David Ellis (LB), Rodney Feaster (LB), Brian Mance (DB), Bernard Rambert (RB), Rodney Thomas (LB) 2000: (4)–Aaron Hunt (PK), Yusef Kelly (RB), John Leake (LB), Ronnie Thomas (WR) 2001: (9)–Eric Coleman (DT), Roscoe Crosby (WR), Airese Currie (WR), Moe Fountain (DE), Ben Hall (TE), Leroy Hill (LB), Tavaghn Monts (DB), Travis Pugh (FS), Eric Sampson (LB) 2002: (1)–Justin Miller (CB) 2003: (5)–Tramaine Billie (SS), Jad Dean (PK), Marion Dukes (OT), Sergio Gilliam (DB), Brandon Pilgrim (OG) 2004: (2)–La’Donte Harris (WR), Barry Richardson (OT) 2005: (8)–James Davis (RB), Rendrick Taylor (WR), Tyler Grisham (WR), Philip Merling (DE), Antonio Clay (LB), Josh Miller (LB), Jock McKissic (DT), Haydrian Lewis (DB).
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