Sept. 10, 2001
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Game Three: Clemson vs. Duke
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001 1:00 PM (EST) Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,474) Clemson, SC
In the Rankings Clemson – #19 AP, #18 USA Today/ESPN Duke – Unranked
Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports NetworkPlay By Play: Jim Phillips * Color: Mike Eppley* Sideline: Rodney Williams
Series History: Clemson leads 9-3Tickets: $25, Available
Special Day: Hall of Fame
Duke Update Duke enters Saturday’s game with an 0-2 record. The Blue Devils lost to top 10 Florida State 55-13 in the opener, then lost at Rice last Saturday night, 15-13. The Owls are coached by former Clemson mentor Ken Hatfield.
Clemson boasts an offense that is balanced, as 13 different players have caught a pass and four different backs have at least 50 yards rushing. Duke has more of a star system when it comes to running, receiving and returns. Tailback Chris Douglas has been one of the most productive players in the nation two weeks into the season. The sophomore is second in the nation in all-purpose running.
Douglas does a little bit of everything. The native of Sherrils Ford, NC leads the Blue Devils in rushing with 143 yards. The entire team has just 171, so he has 84 percent of the club’s rushing yardage. Douglas also has three receptions for 86 receiving yards, including a 78-yard touchdown. He has added 210 yards on kickoff returns, giving him 439 all-purpose running yards, 219 per game. Clemson is familiar with Douglas. He scored twice against the Tigers last year in Wallace Wade Stadium.
Reggie Love is the top receiver for the Blue Devils with eight catches for 115 yards. The 6-4 sophomore will not be making his first trip to Clemson. He was a reserve on Duke’s ACC Championship men’s basketball team a year ago. He made more than just token appearances. His basketball season included an eight-rebound performance against North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, a 26-point Duke win. Clemson likes to run the football and the Tigers will be challenged this weekend by Duke. The Blue Devils held Rice to 154 yards rushing in 57 attempts last Saturday night, 2.7 yards per attempt. For the season, Duke opponents average just 3.7 yards a rush. Ryan Fowler is a player to watch on Duke’s defense. The third-team freshman All-American had 87 tackles last year, including 13 tackles for loss. Ronnie Hamilton is an experience cornerback who will be someone Woodrow Dantzler will have to keep his eye on. Hamilton had 63 tackles last season and has started 29 college games in his career.
Bowden Coached at Duke Clemson head Coach Tommy Bowden was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke from 1983-86. That was his third different assistant coaching assignment, but his first job as a coordinator. During that time, Duke was 0-4 against Clemson, including a 21-9 Tiger victory at Duke in 1985.
In Bowden’s first year as Clemson head coach, the Tigers defeated Duke in Death Valley 58-7. Last year, he improved his record as a head coach against Duke to 2-0 with a 52-22 victory. Clemson has scored 110 points in two games against the Blue Devils.
Clemson vs. Duke Series Notes
Clemson holds a 29-15-1 lead in the series with Duke, a seriesthat dates to a 20-6 Duke win in Durham in 1934. Duke won the firstfour games of the series, all played at Duke. Duke never played atClemson until 1959, a 6-0 Tiger victory. While Clemson holds acommanding 15-4-1 lead in the series at Clemson, Clemson has anarrow 12-11 advantage in games played in Durham. Clemson has wonnine of the last 11 overall and 16 of the last 20. Duke lastdefeated Clemson in 1998 at Duke, 28-23. Duke has not won atClemson since 1980, a 34-17 Blue Devil triumph that was led by BlueDevil quarterback Ben Bennett. Duke defensive coordinator Bob Trottwas Clemson’s defensive coordinator in 1990, the year Clemson ledthe nation in total defense. The Tigers finished that season with a10-2 record, the last time Clemson had a 10-victory season.
Last Year vs. Duke Clemson jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 52-22 in at Duke last year. Woodrow Dantzler eluded Duke defenders for 22 rushes for 134 yards and three touchdowns. He was again effective through the air, connecting on 11 of 19 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown. The game marked the third consecutive outing in which Dantzler had accounted for more than 300 total yards, a feat never previously accomplished in Clemson history.
Dantzler’s first completion of the game came early on the team’s second drive. He found Rod Gardner for a 17-yard pass that put the Tigers’ in Duke territory. Dantzler handed off to Travis Zachery on three consecutive plays of 27, 4 and 1 yards. The one-yard plunge put Clemson in front 7-0.
Clemson held a seven-point lead at the end of the opening period. The Tigers rebounded with their biggest quarter of the year. Clemson scored 28 points in a 7:18 time span and opened at 35-0 lead by intermission. Dantzler rushed for his first score of the day on the opening play of the second quarter.
On Duke’s next drive sophomore cornerback Brian Mance returned an interception 57 yards to the Duke 4. Zachery made the score 21-0 on his second one-yard rushing touchdown of the day. Dantzler broke free for a 34-yard rush on the third play of the Tigers’ next possession. The Tigers scored their 28th point of the period when Dantzler found Morgan Woodward for an eight-yard Woodrow to Woodward touchdown.
The Tigers lost the shutout early in third quarter. Duke registered a safety after blocking a Jaime Somaini punt into the Clemson endzone. The Blue Devils gained only four yards before punting the ball back to the Tigers. The Tigers then marched 93 yards on a 13-play drive that resulted in a one-yard Dantzler touchdown run. Dantzler rushed five times for 49 yards on the drive. The Tigers led 42-2.
Duke bounced back with their first touchdown of the afternoon. Douglas escaped for a 41-yard touchdown run. Willie Simmons took over for Dantzler late in the third quarter. Simmons connected with Kevin Youngblood on a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Duke scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the contest. Douglas rushed for his second score of the day to complete a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Jackie Robinson fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Ben Erdeljac scored on a five-yard run to make the score 52-22 with 46 seconds remaining.
Keith Adams had an enormous day in the Duke backfield. The Butkus Award candidate recorded four tackled for a loss of 28 yards and three of those were sacks. Braxton Williams tallied two sacks for a loss of 10 yards.
Clemson Veterans vs. Duke
Jovon Bush had a sack for nine yards in 27 snaps against Dukein 1999. Chad Carson has 16 tackles in three games against Duke,including eight tackles in 57 snaps in 1999. Woodrow Dantzler hscompleted 14-23 passes for 214 yards and two scores, and has 26rushes for 158 yards and three scores in three games vs. Duke. Hehas 49 plays for 372 yards in his career vs. Duke. He had 308 yardsat Duke last year in three quarters of play. Nick Eason had threetackles, including two tackles for loss vs. Duke last year. CharlesHafley has nine tackles and two PBUs in three career games vs.Duke. Aaron Hunt booted a 22 yard field goal and was 5-5 on extrapoints vs. Duke in 2000. Brian Mance had a 57-yardinterception return at Duke last year. He also had four tackles inthat 2000 game. Bernard Rambert has 12 carries for 47 yards in twoyears vs. Duke. Jackie Robinson caught his first career TD pass vs.Duke in 1999. He has five career catches for 59 yards against theBlue Devils. Braxton K. Williams has eight tackles, including twosacks against Duke. Both sacks took place at Duke last year. MorganWoodward caught an eight-yard scoring pass at Duke last year.Travis Zachery has 288 yards on 40 rushes and seven touchdownsagainst Duke in three years. That includes a 141-yard day againstDuke at Clemson in 1999. He scored a career-high four touchdownsthat day.
Tigers Seek 3-0 Start As we noted last week, Clemson has been 2-0 in a season just nine times in the last 31 years. Clemson has a 12-18-1 record in the second game of the season since 1970, and that includes wins in the second game of the year four of the last six years.
That said, it is obviously rare for the Tigers to jump out to a 3-0 start, certainly the team’s goal heading into the Duke game. Clemson has been 3-0 or better to open a season just five times since 1961. Clemson was 12-0 in 1981, 6-0 to open 1987, 4-0 to open 1989, 3-0 to open 1991 and 8-0 to open last year.
Dantzler Nearing 4,000-2,000 Mark Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler enters the Duke game with 1,712 yards rushing and 3,635 yards passing in regular season games in his Clemson career. He needs 288 yards rushing and 365 passing to become the first ACC player in history to reach 2,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards passing in a career. ACC statistics do not include bowl games, thus the above qualifier. Including bowl games, Dantzler has 3,801 rushing and 3,820 passing in his four-year career.
So far this season, Dantzler has 101 yards rushing and 361 passing for 462 total, an average of 231 yards per game in total offense. He ranks second in the conference in total offense per game and is 36th in the nation.
Dantzler is coming close to an ACC record. As listed above, he has 1,712 career rushing yards, just 228 away from Mike Dunn’s ACC record for career rushing yards by a quarterback. Dunn, a senior in 1978, had 1939 rushing yards for the Blue Devils in his career. Dunn is also the last ACC player (1976) to lead his team in rushing and passing in the same season. Dantzler currently leads the Tigers in both areas.
Dantzler became Clemson’s career rushing leader among quarterbacks in the season opener against Central Florida when he gained 46 yards rushing. That put him ahead of Steve Fuller’s 1,737 total. Dantzler now has 1,801 (including bowl games).
The graduate student has connected on 65.5 percent of his passes this year and is now at 56.7 percent for his career, second best in school history. He needs just four touchdowns rushing or passing to break Steve Fuller’s touchdown responsibility record (44). He has improved to third in school history in passing efficiency and is also in the top five in total offense, passing yards and completions.
Dantzler on Clemson career Records Lists Rank (Figure) Left for Record
1st in quarterback rushing (1801) has record 2nd in completionpercentage (.567) .569 3rd in touchdown responsibility (41) 4 TDs3rd in total offense (5621) 1165 yards 3rd in passing efficiency(128.0) 131.3 rating 4th in interception avoidance (2.7%) 2.55% 4thin total plays (918) 240 plays 5th in completions (293) 165completions 5th in passing yards (3820) 1900 yards 6th in touchdownpasses (23)13 TD passes
Clemson Records Held by Dantzler
Total offense in a season-2899 (2000) Most total offense in agame-435 vs. Maryland, 1999 Yards rushing by a quarterback inseason-1028 (2000) Yards rushing by a quarterback in a game-220 vs.Virginia, 2000 Yards rushing by a quarterback in a career-1801100-yard rushing games in season by a quarterback-4 (2000) 100-yardrushing games by quarterback in career-6 Most yards rushing inseries of 3 games-520 (2000) Most yards rushing in series of 4games-623 (2000) Most total offense/game in season-241.6 (2000)Most total offense/game in career-191.1 Most 200-yard total offensegames in season-9 (2000) Most 300-yard total offense games incareer-6 Most 100-yard rushing, 300-yard total offense games in aseason-4 (2000) Most 100-yard rushing, 300-yard total offense gamesin a career-6 Most touchdowns rushing and passing in a season-24(2000) Single game pass completion percentage-.941 vs. The Citadel,2000 Single game passing efficiency (Min 15 att.)-247.2 vs. TheCitadel, 2000 Most total offense plays in season-434 (2000)
Zachery also Nearing ACC Record Travis Zachery is the greatest receiving running back in Clemson history. He has 69 career receptions, 67 in regular season play. The ACC record for career receptions by a running back (regular season only) is 73 by Roger Boone of Duke. He played with the Blue Devils from 1987-89.
Zachery continues to be one of Clemson’s top all-purpose players ever. The senior from Marietta, GA leads the team in receptions with nine and is tied with Woodrow Dantzler for the team lead in rushing with 101 yards. Zachery has 69 career receptions including bowl games. The previous Clemson record was 45 by Raymond Priester and Ray Yauger. So, if Zachery continues at his current pace, he will have twice as many receptions as any other running back in Clemson history by the time his career ends.
Mance In top 10 in Punt and Kickoff Returns Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden said during the preseason that he thought he would have the best special teams since he has been the head coach of the Tigers. That is proving to be a correct prediction, and the leader of the special teams production has been cornerback Brian Mance.
Mance has been a terror for opposing special teams coaches through the first two weeks of the season. His production is reflected in the first round of NCAA Statistics released Sept. 9. The junior is ranked fourth in the nation in kickoff returns with a 35.2-yard average on five returns, and is ninth in punt returns with a 16.7-yard average on six returns. He has 176 yards on kickoff returns and an even 100 on punt returns for a total of 276 yards on 11 total returns, 25.1 return yards every time he has touched the ball.
Mance is the only player in the nation to rank in the top 10 in the country in both categories, making him king of return men in the nation. No Clemson player has ever finished the year ranked in the top 10 in the nation in both return categories. However, one other player, Antwuan Wyatt, ranked in the top 15 in both categories in 1995. That season Wyatt averaged 25.0 on kickoff returns to average 12th in the nation, and his 12.3-yard average on punt returns ranked 15th.
Mance had flashes of brilliance in the return game as a sophomore, so his production this year is really no surprise. Last year he had six kickoff returns for a 26-yard average, and had a Clemson record 32-yard average on six punt returns in 2000. That punt return total included an 88-yard return in Death Valley against Georgia Tech, fifth longest punt return by a Tiger in history.
Mance is a prime reason Clemson ranks fifth in the nation in kickoff returns as a team and 10th in punt returns. The Tigers are also 15th in the nation in net punting, a ranking that can be directly attributed to the fine performance from Wynn Kopp. The transfer from Georgia has a 43.7 average, but does not rank in the national stats because he doesn’t have enough attempts (only seven in two games, a punter must average 3.6 punt attempts per game to qualify).
Clemson has also been perfect on place kicking, as Aaron Hunt is 1-1 on field goals and 8-8 on PATs. His 43-yarder against Wofford was a career long. Clemson has also been outstanding on kick coverage. Clemson opponents have just 19 total punt return yards, 6.3 a return, and the opposition has averaged just 16.8 yards per kickoff return.
Big Day for Clemson Big Macs Saturday’s win over Wofford was a big day for Clemson wide receiver J.J. McKelvey and defensive end Bryant McNeal. Both had a direct impact on Clemson’s 38-14 victory with career best performances. In fact, both players went from zero in their prime stat category in the first game to leading the Tigers in the second.
McKelvey had eight receptions for 73 yards and two scores in the victory over the Terriers. That included six catches in the second period alone. McKelvey did not have a reception in the first game, then had the eight against Wofford. In fact, he had just three career receptions for 90 yards in his career entering Saturday. He is now ranked in the top 10 in the ACC in receiving and is second to Travis Zachery for the season. McKelvey joined Rod Gardner as the only Clemson receivers to catch two touchdown passes in a game under Tommy Bowden.
McNeal did not have a tackle in the season opener against Central Florida. He had six in the Wofford game, including four tackles for loss, the top total for the Tigers against Wofford. That included two sacks and a caused fumble. McNeal had just nine career tackles for loss entering the Wofford game, then had four in that game. He joined Keith Adams as the only Tigers to have at least four tackles for loss in a game under Tommy Bowden.
Carson, Leake top Clemson Tacklers Chad Carson and John Leake are becoming quite a one-two punch on Clemson’s second line of defense. Against Wofford’s run oriented attack last week numbers 45 and 46 combined for 34 tackles. Carson had 18 and Leake picked up a career high 16. Both players now have 25 for the season.
For Carson the 18 tackles against Wofford tied for his second highest single game total as a Tiger. The only game that is higher is the 22-tackle performance he had against Georgia Tech at Death Valley last year. That is an ironic fact in itself considering that Carson’s father played for Georgia Tech.
Carson now has 336 tackles for his career, ninth best in school history. He needs just three against Duke to move past Tim Jones into number-eight. If he averages 10 tackles a game over the rest of the season he will finish his career ranked fourth in Clemson history, trailing only Bubba Brown, Anthony Simmons and Jeff Davis. That is impressive company.
Leake has a long way to go to catch Carson, but he is taking a similar path. Carson had just 11 tackles his freshman year as a reserve linebacker in 1998. Leake had nine as a reserve last year. Carson made the starting lineup as a sophomore in 1999 and had 27 tackles in his first two games. Leake has entered the starting lineup as a sophomore and has 25 tackles through his first two games.
West Puts in Extra Effort Some Clemson fans might have seen a strange sight during post-game traffic of Clemson’s 21-13 win over Central Florida on September 1. Some fans caught in the traffic on College Avenue might have noted Assistant Coach Ron West riding a green bicycle, beating the considerable traffic as the result of a crowd of 79,500 people. West borrowed the bike owned by one of his players, offensive lineman Nick DiPrimio to get across Route 123 in a timely fashion. The reason for his haste? West was in a hurry to get to Boone, NC to see his son, Brad, play for Appalachian State in its season opening game against Liberty.
The use of the bike enabled West to save considerable time. He then took a back route to Boone and he arrived with eight minutes to go in the half. His son, a freshman, did not play in the game, but it certainly meant a lot to Brad to have his father at his first college football game.
West is one of three Clemson assistant coaches with a son who plays college football. Offensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach Brad Scott is the father of Clemson wide receiver Jeff Scott. The younger Scott scored a touchdown on a 22-yard run in the first game of the season against UCF, the eventual game winner. He had a reception for five yards against Wofford. Jack Hines’ son Robert is the starting quarterback at Tennessee-Martin.
Tigers Only Division I Team With Two Academic All-Americans Clemson is the only school in the nation with two returning first-team Academic All-Americans on its roster. Linebacker Chad Carson and center Kyle Young were both named first-team Academic All-Americans in 2000. That was the first time in Clemson history the Tigers had two first-team selections in the same year.
Carson is a senior with a 3.94 career GPA in biological sciences and is pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship. He led the Tigers in tackles last year and ranked fourth in the nation. Young led the Tigers in knockdown blocks last year with 120. He graduated from Clemson with a 3.97 career GPA last year and is now taking postgraduate courses. He was also a first-team Academic All-American in 1999 and is trying to become just the second ACC player in history to be a three time first-team selection. Mike Diminick, who played for Duke in the 1980s, is the only other ACC player to be a three-time first-team selection.
Merritt Leads Offensive Line vs. Wofford Clemson gained 200 yards rushing and 286 passing in the win over Wofford last week. The offensive line showed improvement over the season opener when the Tigers failed to reach the 300-yard total offense mark.
Will Merritt was average in the opener, but led the line against Wofford. The graduate student from Easley, SC, who is on the preseason Football Writers All-America list graded 89 percent and had 17 knockdown blocks. It was the second highest knockdown block total of Merritt’s career. He had 21 in the win over N.C. State in 2000. Tommy Bowden after the game on Sunday. Smith, making his first start since 1999, had a blocking grade of 84 from Clemson coaches.
Young Named to Rimington and Outland Watch List Clemson center Kyle Young has been named one of 21 centers to he preseason Dave Rimington Award Watch List and one of 26 candidates for the Outland Trophy. The announcement about the Rimington Award was made in New York by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, the sponsor of the award. The award, which goes to the top center in college football, is named after former Nebraska All-American Dave Rimington. It will be presented Dec. 15 in Lincoln, NE.
Young was one of three finalists for the award last year, which was won by Nebraska’s Dominic Raiola, who is now with the Detroit Lions. Young and Maryland center Melvin Fowler were the only ACC players among the 21 preseason candidates.
Young is now on the preseason list for three major awards. In addition to the Outland Trophy (picked by the Football Writers Association), Young is also a preseason candidate for the Lombardi Award.
Young, a native of Clemson, is in his third year as a starter for the Tigers. He was named a second-team All-American by Football News last season and was a third-team All-American by The Sporting News. He has been a first-team Academic All-American each of the last two years and will attempt to become just the second offensive lineman in college football history to be a three-time first-team selection.
Clemson 34-0-1 With 200 Yards Passing and Rushing Clemson gained 200 yards rushing and 286 yards passing in the win over Wofford last Saturday, the eighth time under Tommy Bowden Clemson has had at least 200 yards of each in the same game. Clemson is 8-0 in those games under Bowden and now 34-0-1 in history when gaining at least 200 of each. Clemson first turned the trick against Wake Forest in 1953.
The program had just 28 such games in the first 103 years of Clemson football prior to Bowden’s arrival and now has had eight in the 26 games he has been head coach of the Tigers. The streak was nearly snapped last year at Georgia Tech in 1999. Clemson had 231 yards rushing and 197 passing in the loss at Georgia Tech. The only tie game in which Clemson had at least 200 of each took place in 1976 when Clemson had 248 rushing and 234 passing in a 24-24 tie in Atlanta against Tech.
Clemson Hall of Fame Day Saturday Nine Clemson greats will be inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday during halftime ceremonies of the Clemson vs. Duke game. The list includes former swimming All-Americans Rick Aronberg and Jill Bakehorn, former Clemson men’s basketball coach Bill Foster and former track stars Michael Greene and Lisa Dillard -Hanks. The list also includes Clemson’s only four-time men’s tennis All-American, Richard Matuszewski and former women’s basketball star Bobbie Mims.
Two former Clemson football players who are still playing in the NFL will be inducted. Levon Kirkland, now with the Seattle Seahawks, and Chris Gardocki, now with the Cleveland Browns, will be represented by family members this weekend. Both were teammates on the Tigers teams from 1988-90. All three of those teams were 10-2.
Clemson in the Top 20 in 20 Straight Polls Clemson is ranked in the top 20 in the nation in the latest Associated Press poll and in the top 20 of USA Today. The Tigers are ranked 19th in both polls. The Tigers have been ranked in the top 20 in all four polls so far this year and for 21 consecutive polls over the last two years. This is the second longest streak of consecutive weeks ranked in the top 20 in the AP poll in Clemson history. The record for consecutive top 20 rankings is 41, set between the final poll of the 1986 season and the Oct. 10, 1989 poll. The Tigers were ranked between third and 17th in the nation in all 41 or those polls. The record for consecutive weeks in the top 25 is 50 in a row between Oct. 24, 1989 and Oct. 19, 1992. The Tigers were ranked between 6 and 25 during that streak. Clemson was ranked between 21-25 in six of those 50 weeks. Clemson has had two other streaks of 14 weeks or more ranked in the top 20. One took place from Sept. 21, 1981 through Sept. 13, 1982, a 15-week streak, while the other took place between Oct. 12, 1959 and Oct. 10, 1960, a 14-week streak.
Five First-Year Freshmen Played in Opener Clemson played five first-year freshmen in the season opener against UCF. The list included three receivers in Roscoe Crosby, Airese Currie and tight end Ben Hall. On defense, Moe Fountain and Eric Sampson were first-year freshmen who saw action.
Crosby started the game, the first first-year freshman to start at wide receiver in the season opener 1944 when Arthur Hagan started every game as a first-year freshmen. That was during WWII when the United States Armed Services drafted most of Clemson’s upperclassmen. It didn’t take Crosby much time to have an impact. He caught a Utah pass from quarterback Woodrow Dantzler on the first play of the season and he turned it into a 12-yard gain. He also caught 33-yard pass for Clemson’s longest play of the day from scrimmage. Crosby finished the day with three catches for 64 yards. The yardage total led the Tigers against UCF. Hall also made his first career catch in the contest.
LeRoy Hill became the sixth first year freshman to play in a game when he played linebacker against Wofford. Hill had four tackles in 10 plays of action in the Clemson win.
Clemson Defense Better Than Expected According to many of the preseason magazines, Clemson’s “weakest link” was supposed to be an inexperienced defense. The Tigers returned just four starters from last year’s 9-3 team. Four defensive players made their first start against Central Florida and two others were making just their second career start. Another was making just his fourth career start.
But, the Tigers held the Golden Knights to but 13 points, 31 yards rushing and 328 yards of total offense in recording a 21-13 victory. In 2000, Central Florida averaged 30 points and 373 yards per game in total offense.
John Leake led the first-time starters with nine tackles in 51 plays from his star safety position. The first-year sophomore has been a bright spot in the preseason. He had three quarterback pressures and a caused fumble to go with his nine tackles. Eric Meekins was another first-time starter who had a strong game. The strong safety had seven tackles in his 53 plays.
The Clemson defense was hard hitting with five caused fumbles, including two by Braxton K. Williams. He became the first Clemson defensive player to record two caused fumbles in the same game since 1996 when Tony DeSue had two against N.C. State.
Clemson limited Wofford to but 36 yards passing on Sept. 8, the fewest by a Clemson opponent since 1991 when Temple had just 15 yards passing. Clemson has now allowed just 27 points in two games and the 13.5 scoring defense ranks 29th in the nation.
Seven Graduate Students to Start for Tigers Clemson has seven graduate students slated to hold starting positions for today’s game with Duke. That is an all-time record for graduate students on the Clemson football team.
The list is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Woodrow Dantzler, who received his degree in marketing from Clemson in August. Dantzler hugged Clemson President Jim Barker when he was presented his diploma on the stage at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Starting defensive back Charles Hafley and starting defensive tackle Nick Eason both earned their degrees in sociology that same day. Eason’s graduation was especially impressive because he still has two years of eligibility. He earned the degree in three years and three summer sessions and plans to earn a Master’s degree before his eligibility is up. He is the first Clemson football player to earn an undergraduate degree with two years of eligibility remaining.
Four other Clemson players received their degrees prior to this past August, and all four of them are starters on offense. Kyle Young, starting center, and T.J. Watkins, starting guard, earned their degrees in May. Young graduated Summa Cum Laude and is a two-time first-team Academic All-American. Wide receiver Matt Bailey also received his degree that day. Starting offensive guard Will Merritt received his degree in December 2000, just a few days prior to the Gator Bowl.
Six Tigers on Preseason Award Lists Six Clemson players have been named to various preseason award lists for the 2001 season. Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is on the preseason list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the top quarterback in college football and the Unitas Award, which is given to the top senior quarterback. Running back Travis Zachery is on the Doak Walker Award list, which is given to the top running back in college football. Zachery is one of just two ACC players on the list. Clemson has two offensive linemen on the preseason Lombardi Award list. Center Kyle Young and offensive guard Will Merritt are both listed for the award that goes to the top lineman in college football. Clemson and Miami (FL) are the only two schools with two offensive linemen on the list. Defensive linemen and linebackers are also eligible. Young is also on the list for the Outland Trophy and the Rimington Award.
Chad Carson is the only Clemson defensive player on a preseason award list. Clemson’s top tackler from 2000 is on the preseason Butkus Award Watch List. Carson ranked fourth in the nation in tackles a year ago. Clemson linebacker Keith Adams was a finalist for the award last year.
Punter Wynn Kopp, who had a near 44-yard average in the season opener, is on the preseason list for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the top punter in college football.
The only Clemson player to win a national award is Terry Kinard. The two-time first-team AP All-American was named the national defensive player of the year by CBS Sports in 1982. Kinard will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December and will be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor prior to the Clemson vs. Florida State game on Nov. 3.
Hiring Bowden Means Improvement We are yet to find a coach in NCAA Division I-A history who has accomplished what Tommy Bowden has done in his first four years as a Division I head coach. In each of his first four seasons he has seen his team make at least a three-victory improvement over the previous year. In 1997 he took over a Tulane program that had been 4-7 the year prior to his hiring, and he brought the program to a 7-4 season. The following year he took Tulane to a perfect 11-0 campaign in the regular season.
In 1999 he took over a Clemson team that had been 3-8 in 1998 and took the Tigers to six wins and a Peach Bowl bid. Last year there was another three-win improvement, as Clemson finished the year 9-3 and ranked 14th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
As far as Clemson history is concerned, the only previous coaches to take the Tigers to a three-win improvement in consecutive years are Josh Cody (1927 and 1928) and Charley Pell (1977 and 1978). No one in Clemson history has done it three straight years. Bowden and UNLV Head Coach John Robinson are the only coaches in the nation to take a team to a three-win improvement each of the last two years.
Bowden can stand alone in one area if he takes the Tigers to a bowl game this year. No Clemson coach as led the Tigers to a bowl game in each of his first three years with the Tigers.
Heisman Candidate Woodrow Dantzler Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler has been omni present on many of the preseason Heisman Trophy lists. The Clemson graduate is ranked as the number-two candidate for the award by CBS.Sportsline.com, Lindy’s preseason annual, and Mel Kiper of ESPN. He is ranked eighth by The Sporting News. He is also listed by USA Today as a candidate. That publication listed 10 players in alphabetical order. He was also one of six favorites mentioned by ESPN’s GameDay program.
Dantzler was also listed as the first- team preseason All-America quarterback by Football News and Lindy’s. Lindy’s lists Dantzler as the top candidate for the Davey O’Brien Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. Lindy’s and Street & Smith rank Dantzler as the number-one preseason candidate for ACC Player of the Year, while The Sporting News lists him as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Youngblood, Bodrick Out for the Season Two Clemson starters were lost for the season during preseason practice. First, on Aug. 18, starting linebacker Altroy Bodrick suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage in Death Valley. Three days later, during the final scrimmage of the preseason, starting wide receiver Kevin Youngblood was lost for the year with a broken leg. Bodrick was a senior entering this year, but has never red-shirted and thus will come back for a fifth year in 2002. Youngblood was a red-shirt sophomore this year and thus will lose a year as a result of the injury. He will still be eligible for 2002 and 2003.
As a result of the injury to Bodrick, Reggie Herring moved Braxton K. Williams from star safety to Bodrick’s linebacker position, a position he has played the last two years. John Leake then moved to the starting position at star safety. Leake had been Clemson’s best defensive player during the first two weeks of camp, according to Herring.
As a result of Youngblood’s injury at wide receiver, Jackie Robinson moved from his flanker position to Youngblood’s wide receiver slot. Robinson is a returning starter who knows all the receiver positions in the Clemson offense. Freshman Roscoe Crosby moved to the starting flanker position that Robinson held.
This is the first time since 1994 that Clemson has lost two players for the season during preseason drills. That year reserve Rudy Currie suffered a broken wrist and was out for the year and linebacker Bernard Randolph suffered repeated concussions and was kept out for the season. Both of those players were reserves.
Herring Suffers Torn Achilles The same day that Altroy Bodrick suffered a torn ACL, defensive coordinator Reggie Herring suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Herring suffered the injury while exhorting his defense after a good play during the Aug. 18 scrimmage.
Herring, who never missed a game due to injury during his playing career at Florida State, will not miss a game this year. He will coach the Tigers defense from the press box until he is able to walk without crutches. At that point he will return to the sidelines, where he has worked since he came to Clemson in 1993.
Herring showed some intestinal fortitude on Aug. 22 when he had the surgery to repair the torn Achilles at 6:30 AM, then returned to practice that afternoon at 3:30 PM. He coached from the sidelines while sitting in a golf cart. He was helped during that day by pain killers, causing Tommy Bowden to comment, “That is the first time I had an assistant coach on morphine during practice.”
Changes from the Press Guide There have been some changes as far as personnel is concerned since the 2001 Clemson media guide was published in July. Three players on the press guide roster are no longer on the team. Freshman Micheaux Hollingsworth has decided to attend a junior college. Freshman Grant Oliver decided to leave Clemson a week into practice and has left school. David Ellis, a two-year letterman at defensive end, decided to leave the team a week into practice.
Five players have changed positions since the beginning of practice. Braxton K. Williams has moved from star safety to strongside linebacker. Tyrone Lee, a letterman as a reserve tight end last year, has moved to fullback. Eric Sampson, who came to Clemson as a linebacker this year, is now the backup star safety. Brian Carr has moved from quarterback to free safety and freshman Eric Coleman has moved from tight end to offensive tackle.
Zachery Tops 2,500 For the second straight year, Travis Zachery opened the regular season having to prove himself after suffering a painful injury in a bowl game. The Doak Walker Award candidate suffered a broken ankle on a 23-yard scoring reception from Woodrow Dantzler in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech and that kept him out of the rest of the game and spring practice.
He proved that he is back to full strength, leading Clemson in rushing with 48 yards and in receptions with five for 41 in the season opener against Central Florida. He scored a touchdown on a pass reception from Woodrow Dantzler, his 40th career touchdown and his seventh receiving. He now has 35 touchdowns in his last 25 games. Zachery enters the Duke game with 2,583 career rushing yards, fifth best in school history. The greatest receiving running back in Clemson history, he has a record 69 career catches for 723 yards. He has 3,582 all-purpose running yards in his career, second best in school history.
Zachery probably won’t catch Raymond Priester when it comes to the career rushing record (he needs nearly 1,400 yards), but he will have a good chance to catch Priester in all-purpose yards. Priester had 4,282 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving and kick returns combined), just 700 yards ahead of Zachery.
Young Looks for Landmark Accomplishment Clemson center Kyle Young has been named a first-team Academic All-American each of the last two years. If he is chosen for a third time at the end of the 2001 season he will become just the second offensive lineman in college football history to be chosen a first-team Academic All-American in three different seasons. He would also become just the second ACC player in history to be chosen three times.
The College Sports Information Directors of America have chosen the academic All-America team every year since 1952, so the 2001 team will be the 50th team selected. Players chosen to the team must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA. Young had a 3.98 career GPA and graduated in May, Summa Cum Laude.
Young will try to join former Colorado offensive lineman Jim Hansen as the only three-time first-team selections. Hansen was named in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The only other ACC player to be a three-time first-team selection, regardless of position, is Mike Diminick, a defensive back from Duke, who was named first team in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
Overall, 12 different football players have been named first-team academic All-American three times. Clemson’s Kyle Young will attempt to join that group in 2001.
Clemson in the Preseason Polls Clemson is ranked 19th in the preseason Associated Press poll. This is the 18th time since 1936 that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25 of that poll. This is the second straight year Clemson has been in the preseason top 20, as the Tigers were 17th in last year’s preseason poll. The Tigers improved on that by finishing 16th in the final AP poll. Clemson was 14th in the final USA Today/ESPN poll for the 2000 season.
Clemson was 18th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coach’s poll. As far as other preseason polls are concerned, The Tigers have been ranked 20th by Sports Illustrated, 13th by ESPN the Magazine and 18th by The Sporting News.
Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in the history of the AP poll is a number-four ranking. Clemson had that lofty ranking in 1988 and 1984. The 1988 team finished 10-2 and ranked ninth in the final poll. The 1984 team finished 7-4 and was not ranked in the final AP poll. That team led by William Perry and Mike Eppley did finish 20th in the final New York Times computer ranking.
The preseason poll is not always an indication of future success or failure for the Tigers, although it was last season. The previous three seasons Clemson was ranked in the preseason top 25 it failed to finish in the top 25. The 1993 season was the last time prior to 2000 that Clemson was ranked in the preseason and the postseason poll in the seame year.
Last year was the 11th time Clemson was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll and finished the season in the top 25. That includes a streak of five straight years between 1987-91. There have been nine seasons in which Clemson was unranked in the preseason poll, then finished the season ranked in the top 20. That includes the 1981 season when Clemson was unranked in August, then won the National Championship in January. The last time Clemson went from unranked in the preseason to a final top 25 ranking was 1986 when Clemson finished 17th after an 8-2-2 season.
Of the 17 times that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason poll prior to this year, Clemson has finished higher than the preseason ranking just five times (1958, 1978, 1982, 1990 and 2000). In one season, 1989, Clemson had the same preseason and final ranking.
Here is a list of Clemson’s preseason rankings 13th-ESPN The Magazine 14th-Collegefootballnews.com, CNNSI.com 18th-The Sports News, Football Writers Association, USA Today/ESPN 19th-Preview Sports, Street & Smith, Associated Press 20th-Athlon, Blue Ribbon, Sports Illustrated 23rd-Lindy’s
March 14, 2023
March 1, 2023