Nov. 7, 2005
Bowden Bowl VII Father will meet son for the seventh time in NCAA Division I college football history on Saturday afternoon at noon. All seven have been matchups between Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden and Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden. Father Bowden has a 5-1 advantage in the previous Bowden Bowl matchups, but Tommy won the last meeting held at Clemson in 2003. That was a landmark victory for Tommy and the Clemson program. The Tigers defeated a third-ranked Florida State team that entered the game with an 8-1 record by a 26-10 margin. It was Clemson’s first win over the Seminoles since Florida State joined the ACC in 1992 and it was also the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history.
The setting is different as far as the mindset of the two teams entering today’s game. In 2003, Clemson was coming off a 28-point defeat at Wake Forest, a team that had a losing record entering that game. Florida State was coming off a 38-0 win at Notre Dame. This year, Clemson comes in off a 29-point win over Duke and Florida State is coming off a home loss to an NC State team that had a losing record entering the game.
This will be the fourth Bowden Bowl held at Death Valley. Florida State has a 2-1 advantage in the previous three at Clemson, but all three games have been close. Clemson won in 2003 and FSU had the aforementioned three-point win in 1999. Florida State won 41-27 in a high scoring game in 2001. The combined scores of the three Bowden Bowls at Clemson have been FSU 68 and Clemson 67.Bowden Bowl Game Summaries1999–The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as a record 86,092 fans attended, a Death Valley record that still stands today. In addition to the hype concerning a father coaching against a son for the first time, Bobby Bowden was going for career victory number-300. He got it, but it was a struggle, as the Tigers fought the Seminoles to the wire before #1 ranked Florida State came away with a 17-14 victory. It was the closest victory for the Seminoles on the way to the 1999 National Championship. Clemson had two offensive touchdowns to Florida State’s one and Florida State’s 17 points were the fewest scored by the Seminoles that year. Clemson drove to the FSU 25 with two minutes left, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Tony Lazzara was tipped at the line of scrimmage. FSU rank out the clock from there.2000–Florida State won the second meeting in 2000 in Tallahassee by a 54-7 count. Clemson entered the game with an 8-1 record and #10 national ranking, while Florida State was ranked fourth in the nation. It was just the third meeting of top 10 ACC teams in league history. Clemson was coming off a heart-breaking 31-28 loss to Georgia Tech the previous week, a game that Georgia Tech had won with a touchdown pass with just seven seconds left. Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against a Clemson team, including 521 passing, also a high against a Clemson team.2001— In a game at Death Valley, Clemson gained 463 yards of total offense against Florida State, its high total ever against the Seminoles, but still lost 41-27. The Tigers could not stop freshman quarterback Chris Rix and the Florida State passing game as the Seminoles threw for 369 yards and gained 557 overall. Woody Dantzler had 336 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as the Seminoles won for the sixth straight time in Death Valley. 2002–Florida State came away with a 48-31 victory in the highest scoring Bowden Bowl. It was the most points scored by Clemson in Tallahassee since its last victory in 1989. Clemson won the total offense war 441-386, as Willie Simmons had a career high 343 yards rushing and passing, the most total offense in history by a Clemson player against the Seminoles. J.J. McKelvey had five catches for 117 yards to key the Clemson offense. But, Florida State scored on a 97-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington and Greg Jones rushed for 165 yards and three scores to give Florida State its victory. Clemson did successfully execute an on-side kick, still the only successful on-side kick by the Tigers since 1979.2003–Clemson finally defeated Bobby Bowden in Death Valley with a convincing 26-10 victory. It was just the second of what would be three losses for the Seminole in the 2003 season. Florida State was ranked third in the nation entering the game and it was the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards to lead Clemson as Bobby Bowden suffered a loss on his birthday for the first time ever. It was the first loss for Bobby Bowden in Death Valley after six straight wins, the longest winning streak for any opposing coach in the facility.2004-Justin Miller set an NCAA record for kickoff return yards with 282, but the eighth ranked Seminoles downed the Tigers 41-22. Clemson had five turnovers on offense and gained just 173 yards of total offense. The Seminoles had 33 more plays than Clemson. It was 24-22 with four minutes left in the third when FSU scored the last 17 points of the game. Leon Washington scored on a 35-yard run in the third to put FSU back up by nine points.
The Clemson vs. Florida State games the last six years are not the only times Bowdens have been on opposite sides of the field. In 1991, Auburn, with assistant coach Tommy Bowden, faced Southern Mississippi, with assistant coach Jeff Bowden. Southern Mississippi upset Auburn that day. Jeff Bowden will also be at the scene this year also as he is Florida State’s offensive coordinator.
Past Bowden Bowl Stats
Bowden Comparison · Tommy Bowden has coached 104 games as a Division I head coach and he has won 67 times. Through 104 games as a Division I head coach at West Virginia and Florida State, Bobby Bowden had the exact same 67-37 record. · Florida State’s record the two years prior to Bobby Bowden’s arrival was 4-18. Tulane’s record the two years prior to Tommy Bowden’s arrival was 4-18. ·Bobby Bowden had Florida State in a bowl games and a top 15 final national ranking in his second year with the program. Tommy Bowden had Tulane and Clemson in a bowl game and a top 15 national ranking in his second year with each program. · This is Bobby Bowden’s 53rd season in coaching, his 30th as a head coach. This is Tommy Bowden’s 28th year in coaching (graduate assistant, full time assistant or head coach) and his ninth as a head coach. · Both Bowden’s had perfect seasons as head coaches in the 1990s. Bobby had an 11-0 season at Florida State in 1999 after Tommy had a perfect 11-0 regular season as head coach at Tulane.
Clemson-Florida State Series Florida State holds a 15-3 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Clemson has three wins in the series, but two took place in Tallahassee, in 1976 by a 15-12 score and in 1989 by a 34-23 score. Clemson’s only win in Death Valley took place in 2003, a 26-10 victory.
Florida State is 7-1 at Clemson and 8-2 at Florida State against the Tigers. Florida State had won 11 in a row prior to 2003 and all 11 had taken place since Florida State joined the ACC in 1992. Florida State has been ranked in the top 20 in the nation heading into all 14 games in the series since the Seminoles joined the ACC (including this year) . Clemson, Virginia (twice), NC State (four times), Miami (FL), Maryland and North Carolina are the only league schools to beat Florida State since they joined the league for the 1992 season, a total of 10 losses.
Clemson’s 2005 Senior Class will attempt to be the first ACC class to beat Florida State twice on the school’s home turf since the Seminoles joined the league. NC State beat them in consecutive years, once at Florida State and once NC State (2001-02).
In four straight meetings between 1988 and 1993 both Clemson and Florida State were ranked in the top 25. Both teams have been ranked in the top 25 of at least one poll in seven of the last 14 meetings, including 2001 when Clemson entered the game 24th in USA Today and Florida Sate was 14th in both polls. In 2000, in the game played in Tallahassee both were ranked in the top 10 of the AP, as Clemson was 10th and Florida State was fourth. That marked just the third time in ACC history that two league teams were ranked in the top 10 heading into a contest.
The three meetings between the two teams played between 1988 and 1992, were classics. In 1988, Florida State won at Clemson 24-21, thanks in part to the famous “puntrooskie play”, a 78-yard run on a fake punt by Leroy Butler, and a 76-yard punt return by Deion Sanders, the only time a Chris Gardocki punt was returned for a touchdown in his Clemson career.
In 1989, Clemson defeated a Florida State team that ended the season ranked third in the final AP poll by a 34-23 score. That was the only loss by Florida State at home against a non-Florida team in a 17-year period. A pair of 73-yard plays were pivotal for Clemson in that game. The late Wayne Simmons ran 73 yards with an interception and Terry Allen ran 73 yards from scrimmage in the second period to give Clemson a 28-7 lead. Clemson was trying to run out the clock on Allen’s run. Florida State scored in the last minute to close the gap to 11 points.
In 1992, before over 84,000 fans and a nationally televised audience at Clemson, fifth-ranked Florida State defeated 15th-ranked Clemson 24-20 in Death Valley. Florida State scored the winning TD in the final two minutes of the contest behind the passing of Charlie Ward. Clemson did pick off four passes in the game, including one that James Trapp returned for a touchdown. Trapp went on to play 10 years in the NFL and that play certainly made the NFL scouts take notice.
The 1997 game featured one of the greatest individual duals in the history of Death Valley. Tony Horne gained 267 all-purpose yards in the game, while Florida State’s Peter Warrick had 372 for the Seminoles, including a 90-yard punt return and an 80-yard pass reception. Horne’s all-purpose running total is the second highest in Clemson history, while Warrick’s total is the most ever against Clemson.
The 1999 game was certainly a series highlight as it was the first father-son coaching matchup in NCAA history. Florida State claimed a 17-14 victory behind the passing of Chris Weinke and went on to win the national championship. It was the closest game the Seminoles had all season.
Last Year vs. Florida StateFlorida State 41, Clemson 22At Tallahassee, FL Justin Miller’s NCAA record 282 kickoff return yards were not enough to lift Clemson to a win in Bowden Bowl VI, as #8 Florida State beat the Tigers 41-22 in Tallahassee. Miller also tied an NCAA record by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. After Xavier Beitia kicked a 29-yard field goal to give Florida State a 3-0 lead, Miller took the ensuing kickoff at his own three-yard line and raced untouched 97 yards for a touchdown.
After forcing a Florida State punt, the Tigers got the ball back and drove 61 yards to the Seminole 23-yard line. On a second-down play, Charlie Whitehurst was unable to handle the snap and Florida State recovered the fumble at its own 22-yard line. It was the first of five turnovers, while Florida State did not commit a turnover.
Whitehurst was sacked and then fumbled the ball deep inside Clemson territory. Florida State began the next drive at the Clemson nine, and on third down, B.J. Dean scored on a two-yard run. At this point, starting quarterback Chris Rix left the game with a leg injury, bringing Wyatt Sexton into the game. It did not take the Seminoles long to strike again, as Whitehurst was picked off by Leroy Smith on the next Tiger offensive snap. He returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. The quick turn of events gave Florida State 14 points in just 18 seconds.
The Tigers answered the Seminole scores on their next drive, as Whitehurst opened the series with a 23-yard run to the Florida State 27. On a third down play from the 12, Whitehurst found Curtis Baham wide open for a touchdown. Florida State took the second-half kickoff and scored on a Sexton to Chauncey Stovall 47-yard touchdown pass.The Clemson defense forced Florida State to a three-and-out, and C.J. Gaddis blocked Chris Hall’s punt out of the endzone for a safety.
On the following free kick, Miller caught the ball on his own 14-yard line and again raced 86 yards untouched for his second kickoff return for a touchdown of the day. Whitehurst was stopped just shy of the endzone on the two-point conversion attempt, and the Seminoles held on to a 24-22 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Leon Washington broke through the Tiger defense and raced down the sideline for a 35-yard touchdown run. The Clemson offense could never get on track in the second half, and after another Chason punt, the Seminoles took over at their own 49. Florida State needed only one passing play on a scoring drive that covered 51 yards on 10 plays and chewed 4:42 off the clock. The drive culminated in a James Coleman one-yard run on fourth and goal.
Miller had 282 yards on his six kickoff returns, 34 more than any other player in NCAA history. Leroy Hill led the defense with 13 tackles and three tackles for loss.
Florida State’s Last Trip to ClemsonClemson 26, Florida State 10 November 8, 2003 Clemson ended 14 years of frustration by defeating #3 Florida State 26-10 in front of 79,826 fans in Death Valley. The win over the third-ranked Seminoles was the highest-ranked victory in Clemson history. It also marked the first time since 1989 that Clemson defeated Florida State. The victory came just one week after Clemson had suffered a 45-17 loss at Wake Forest. Several landmarks occurred in the 16-point victory for Clemson. For coach Tommy Bowden, it was his first win in five tries against father Bobby.
Aaron Hunt became Clemson’s all-time scoring leader with 302 points, breaking Nelson Welch’s previous record of 301. Derrick Hamilton became the school’s all-time all-purpose yardage leader with 4,412, breaking Travis Zachery’s record. Charlie Whitehurst broke Woodrow Dantzler’s single-season record for passing yards (2,682) with two regular season games remaining.
Clemson set the tone in the game’s opening moments. On its first offensive possession, the Tigers moved 65 yards in 11 plays before Aaron Hunt connected on a 23-yard field goal. On Florida State’s ensuing possession, Tye Hill notched his second interception of the season when he stepped in front of a long Chris Rix pass. The Tigers tacked on Hunt’s second field goal minutes later, giving Clemson a 6-0 lead.
Clemson got the ball back with less than three minutes to go in the first half. Whitehurst drove the Tigers from their own 35-yard line. The big play was a 51-yard hookup with Youngblood on third-and-10. Three plays later, Whitehurst rolled to the right and then scrambled back to the left for a one-yard touchdown run. His effort gave Clemson a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Florida State missed a field goal on its opening possession of the second half. Clemson took advantage by marching 63 yards in 11 plays. Hunt kicked his third field goal of the game from 32 yards away, giving Clemson a 16-0 cushion. The drive was set up by Whitehurst, who zipped a pass between three defenders as he was getting hit and found Curtis Baham for a 23-yard gain on third down.
The Seminoles responded with three points, as Xavier Beitia made a 46-yard field goal. However, Clemson put the game away on the next two drives. First, Whitehurst executed a pump-fake to the right before throwing left to a streaking Hamilton. His 58-yard touchdown catch gave Clemson a commanding 23-3 lead. Clemson kept the intensity up, as Leroy Hill intercepted a Rix pass four plays later.
On the next Seminole drive, David Dunham sacked Rix 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble. It was recovered by DeJuan Polk of Clemson. Hunt came on to nail his fourth field goal of the night, giving Clemson the 26-3 lead. Florida State finally scored a touchdown in the final three minutes of the contest. Chauncey Stovall was able to get behind the Tiger secondary for a 71-yard touchdown, but it mattered little at that point of the game.
Whitehurst was outstanding in his first career start against Florida State. He finished 17-27 for 272 yards and one touchdown pass and he also rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target was Hamilton, who grabbed six balls for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Hunt came into the game needing 14 points to set the school scoring record, and he did just that. He was 4-4 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points.
Defensively, the Tigers held Florida State to 11 rushing yards the entire game, the fewest total by Florida State in the Bobby Bowden era. Leroy Hill had 10 tackles and was named ACC Lineman-of-the-Week. Clemson also blitzed more than normal, and the result was 15 quarterback hurries in the contest. Tye Hill played well for Clemson, as he grabbed his second career interception and also had another pass breakup in earning ACC Defensive Back-of-the-Week honors. Travis Pugh tied for the team lead in tackles with 10 from his free safety position.
Game’s Winningest Coach Comes to Death Valley College football’s winningest coach is also the winningest opposing coach in the history of Death Valley. That is saying something since the facility dates to the 1942 season. Bobby Bowden has a 6-1 record in Clemson Memorial Stadium and the six wins are one more than Vince Dooley (5-4-1) had as the head coach at Georgia between 1964-89. Peahead Walker, Shug Jordan, Bill Dooley and Jerry Claiborne all had four wins over Clemson in the stadium.
This will be Bobby Bowden’s eighth game against Clemson in Memorial Stadium. That is the fifth most games against the Tigers in Memorial Stadium. Bill Dooley and Lonnie McMillan coached against Clemson here 12 times apiece. Bill Dooley was 4-8 in his 12 games coached with three teams, as he brought North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest to challenge the Tigers. McMillan coached all 12 of his games while leading Presbyterian.
It was McMillan who actually gave Clemson Memorial Stadium the name “Death Valley.” He called it that because he told the media he was going up to Clemson to open the season at “Death Valley”, and he said his team was probably going to get killed. Coach Frank Howard started calling it that in the late 1940s and the name stuck. McMillan was 1-11 in his 12 games at Clemson.
Bobby Bowden has recorded two of his many landmark victories in Clemson Memorial Stadium. In 1997, in a game against a Tommy West coached Clemson team, Bowden won his 200th victory as Florida State head coach in a 35-28 Florida State win. Two years later he won his 300th game as a college coach with a 17-14 win at Clemson. Now, his son will be attempting a landmark win in his career against him. Tommy will be going for his 50th win at Clemson when the Seminoles come to Death Valley on Saturday.Clemson-Florida State Connections There are many connections between Clemson and Florida State in terms of coaching and administrative personnel: * Clemson Assistant Head Coach and offensive line coach Brad Scott served as offensive coordinator of Florida State’s National Championship team of 1993. He served as an assistant with the Florida State program from 1983-93, including the 1990-93 era when he was offensive coordinator. He has a master’s degree from Florida State in athletic administration, a degree he earned in 1984. He was on the Florida State sideline in 1988 when the Seminoles executed the “Puntrooskie play”. * Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews served in the same capacity for Clemson between 1976-80 and held the assistant head coach title under Danny Ford in 1980. * Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden was a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1978 and 1979, then served as tight ends coach of the Seminoles in 1981 and 1982. * Clemson defensive backs coach Jack Hines was a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1985-86. He is married to Robyn Bowden, one of Bobby Bowden’s daughters. Hines played for Bowden at West Virginia. * Tommy Bowden’s brother Jeff Bowden is the offensive coordinator for Florida State. * Hootie Ingram, now retired and living in Alabama, was Clemson’s head football coach from 1970-72, then served as Florida State’s Athletic Director in the 1980s.
Florida State Update Florida State has already clinched a berth in the ACC Championship game on December 3 in Jacksonville. The Seminoles have two ACC losses, but have clinched the tie breakers no matter who has a chance to finish in a tie with them. Florida State has led the ACC in passing most of the year and they average 309 yards per game , 60 more yards per game than second place Boston College. Drew Weatherford, a red-shirt freshman, leads the ACC in total offense with 258 yards per game, 25 more per game than second place Charlie Whitehurst of the Tigers. Weatherford also leads the ACC in passing yards per game with 258.1 and he has thrown for 15 touchdowns.
His favorite target is freshman Greg Carr, a 6-6 wide receiver who has 22 receptions for 470 yards and nine touchdowns. He has an ACC best 21.4 yards per reception and he will be a challenge for Clemson cornerback Tye Hill. Hill and the Clemson defense did an outstanding job on Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson two weeks ago, limiting Tech to 126 yards passing, including a season low 46 yards to Johnson. Chris Davis is also an outstanding pass catcher with 38 receptions for 525 yards.
Florida State has a strong defense, allowing 290 yards per game, third best in the ACC. They allow just 171 yards per game in the air, fourth best in the conference. The top tackler is A.J. Nicholson, a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, who has a team best 74 tackles in nine games. He had 13 stops, including three tackles for loss against NC State. Pat Wakins is a senior defender who has 52 tackles, while Erie Sims has added 48 stops. Kamerion Wimbley is third in the ACC in sacks with 7.5 and has 10.5 tackles for loss overall to rank seventh in the league.
One of the reserves on the Florida State offensive line is Dumaka Atkins, a freshman from Sarasota, FL. He will be the second member of his family to play against Clemson in Death Valley this year. His brother, Baraka Atkins, is a starting defensive lineman for the University of Miami. Baraka was credited with four tackles in Miami’s triple overtime win at Clemson this year.
Clemson Offense Up Almost 100 Yards Per Game Clemson has made a strong improvement in terms of offense this year. The Tigers have gone from 295.6 yards per game in 2004 to 394.3 yards per game so far in 2005. That is an improvement of 98.7 yards per game over last season, the eighth best total offense improvement in the nation, and the top improvement in the ACC . It might surprise some that Southern Cal is the most improved team in the nation in terms of total offense so far this year. The Trojans were obviously good in 2004 with a 449.1 average, but they have trumped that with an average of 593.6 yards per game so far this year.
Clemson has improved by 64 places in the national rankings in total offense over last year. Clemson is currently 46th after ranking 110th at the end of the 2004 season. A check to Clemson history shows that a 98.7- yard improvement would be the second biggest gain from one year to another on record. Clemson improved by 107.3 yards per game from 1994 to 1995 under offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. Like Rob Spence, Christensen was in his first year at Clemson in 1995. He is now a quarterbacks coach in the NFL. Christensen and Spence coached together at Maryland in 1992 and 1993.
A look to the ACC stats for this year shows that Clemson is second in the league in total offense at 394.3 yards per game, fourth in rushing at 157.3 yards per game, and fourth in passing at 237.0 yards per game. The Tigers are the only ACC team to rank in the top four in the conference in rushing offense and passing offense. Passing efficiency has also made a dramatic improvement this year under offensive coordinator Rob Spence. Clemson has a 135.8 team efficiency rating so far this year, second best in the ACC. Clemson’s team efficiency last year was just 96.0.
Most Improved Teams in Total Offense
Most Improved Total Offense Teams in Clemson History
Clemson on Senior Day This will be the final home game for Clemson’s 20 seniors. Clemson has won seven straight Senior Day games tying for the longest streak of wins on this special day in Clemson history. Clemson’s last loss on Senior Day was in 1997 to a 10th ranked North Carolina team by a 17-10 score.
Tommy Bowden is 6-0 on Senior Day games as Clemson’s head coach and is 7-1 in his career as a head coach. His only Senior Day loss was to Mississippi during his first year at Tulane. Last year’s Clemson victory on Senior Day tied the record of seven set between 1957-63. South Carolina ended that streak with a victory in 1964 at Clemson. Overall, Clemson is 68-33-3 on Senior Day over the years. Five seasons Clemson has not had a home game and thus didn’t have a Senior Day.
Here are some of the highlights for this 2005 Senior Class: · Has already recorded five wins over top 25 teams, including a season opening win over 17th ranked Texas A&M. Florida State is also ranked 17th entering this game so it would put symmetry to the senior’s final year with bookend wins over 17th ranked teams. · A sixth win over a top 25 team would give this senior group the most wins over ranked teams as a class since the 1994 seniors had seven top 25 wins. · Has three wins over top 10 teams in a 2003 win over #3 Florida State, 2004 Peach Bowl over #6 Tennessee and a 2004 win at 10th ranked Miami (FL). The seniors of 2004 are the only other class with three wins over top 10 teams since the seniors of 1984. · Has been bowl eligible each of their first three seasons and will have two chances to reach that accomplishment in the remaining games. Clemson has an overall record of 27-19 with this class and has been at least .500 in the ACC in each season. Clemson needs to defeat Florida State to be .500 in the ACC again this year. · Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has led the Tigers to 22 victories in the last four years, tied for third best in Clemson history with all-time great Homer Jordan. He has established 40 records during his Clemson career, including career marks for passing yardage, total offense, touchdown passes and completions. · Has a 3-0 record against South Carolina so far in their careers and will strive to be the first Clemson senior class to have a 4-0 record against Clemson’s state rival since the seniors of 2000. · Has finished each of the last two years by winning five of its last six games. They have a chance to do it for the third consecutive year.
Clemson Seniors in 2005
Using Proctor No Gamble Will Proctor made his first career start in the win over Duke last Saturday. The native of Orlando was in for Charlie Whitehurst, who has battled a sore shoulder the second half of the season. It was the first game Whitehurst has missed since the 2002 season, the first start he has missed since the 2002 NC State game. Whitehurst had started a Clemson record 37 consecutive games at quarterback prior to the Duke game. Ironically, his streak started at Duke in 2002 as a freshman.
Proctor had a strong opening start. The junior connected on 13 of 21 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on touchdown passes of 40 and 11 yards to Chansi Stuckey, the first two touchdown receptions of Stuckey’s career. Proctor had thrown just 13 career passes prior to the Duke game. He is now 18-31 for 281 yards and three touchdowns without an interception for this season. That computes to a 166.1 passing efficiency rating.
Proctor came off the bench to help Clemson to a 25-24 win over Texas A&M to start the season. Whitehurst had some dizziness after a hit in the fourth quarter and it was Proctor who came on and quarterbacked the Tigers on the final drive to the game winning field goal. He has appeared in three games at quarterback this year, all victories.
Clemson Records Another 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 Duke as Clemson rushed for 234 yards and passed for 216, giving Clemson 450 total. It was the second time this year Clemson has had at least 200 of each. In the win at NC State, the Tigers had 243 yards rushing and 246 yards passing in the 31-10 victory.
Overall, Clemson has now had 18 games in which it has had at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing under Tommy Bowden. Clemson is now 44-0-1 when it has at least 200 yards of each category, including 37 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.
A 200-yard rushing game by itself is usually a good indicator of victory for Clemson. The Tigers are 2-0 this year and 22-1 under Tommy Bowden when they rush for at least 200 yards. The lone loss took place in 1999, his first season, when Clemson rushed for 231 yards at Georgia Tech, but lost 45-42. Clemson has won 19 consecutive games over six years when it rushes for at least 200 yards.
Merriweather, Davis a Strong Combo Reggie Merriweather and James Davis are developing into a strong one-two punch. Both are ranked in the top seven in the ACC in rushing, as Merriweather is fifth with 73.2 yards per game and Davis is seventh at 64.9 yards per game. Clemson is the only team in the ACC with two of the top seven rushers in the league.
The duo combined for 189 yards in 26 attempts against Duke, a 7.3 average. It was the second highest single game performance for them as a duo, as they had 190 yards in the win at NC State. One or the other has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the last four games. Merriweather had 104 yards in 18 attempts and scored three touchdowns in the win over Duke, while Davis added 85 yards in eight attempts and a touchdown against the Blue Devils.
Merriweather now leads the team in touchdowns with seven and has now scored 17 touchdowns in his last 15 games. The performance against Duke marked the third time in the last 15 games he has scored three in a game. He also did it against Miami (FL) and South Carolina last year.
Merriweather has 659 yards so far this year and a 5.3 average to go with seven touchdowns. The native of North Augusta, SC needs just 11 yards rushing to reach his total of last year when he led the Tigers with 670 yards. He has had at least 100 yards rushing in each of the last three games, the first Clemson running back to have at least three consecutive 100-yard games since 1996 when Raymond Priester had at least 100 yards in each of the last four games that year.
Davis has 519 rushing yards, the most by a Clemson freshman since Travis Zachery had 635 in 1998. Zachery was a red-shirt freshman that year. Davis’s total is the most by a first-year freshman since Ronald Williams had 941 in 1990.
Both players are over 500 yards for the season already. This is the first time two different Clemson players have rushed for at least 500 yards in the same season since 2003 when Duane Coleman had 615 and Chad Jasmin had 523. Clemson has not had a pair of 600-yard running backs since 1989 when Joe Henderson had 848 and Terry Allen had 613. It should be noted that Woody Dantzler and Travis Zachery both rushed for over 1000 yards in 2000, but Dantzler was a quarterback.
For the season, Merriweather and Davis have combined for 1178 yards on 217 attempts, a 5.4 average, and 12 rushing touchdowns. The have 21 pass receptions between them for an additional 122 yards.
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).
Tigers From Florida Clemson has 17 players on its roster from the state of Florida. That list includes starters Jamaal Fudge and Bobby Williamson, and Will Proctor, who started the Duke game at quarterback. This will obviously be a special day for seniors David Dunham, Jamaal Fudge, Stephen Furr, Cliff Harrell and Bobby Williamson who are all seniors from the state of Florida. This will be their final home game in a Clemson uniform. Clemson has had victories over schools from the state of Florida each of the last two years. Clemson defeated Florida State in 2003 and won at Miami (FL) in 2004.
Clemson Players From Florida
Stuckey Leads ACC in Receptions Chansi Stuckey had another strong game against Duke and continues to lead the ACC in receptions per game with 5.22 per contest. He has a slim lead over Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech. Stuckey had a breakout game against the Blue Devils with five receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns. That’s right two touchdowns! Those were the first two touchdown receptions of Stuckey’s career and they came on consecutive Clemson pass plays over the second and third periods. He scored on an 11-yard catch from Will Proctor with seven seconds left in the first half, then scored on a 40-yard reception on Clemson’s first drive of the second half.
Stuckey had 71 receptions to open his career without a touchdown catch, then had scoring receptions on catches 72 and 73. Stuckey enters the Florida State game with 47 receptions for 579 yards. He is first in the ACC in receptions per game and fourth in reception yards per game with a 64.3 average. He is attempting to give Clemson consecutive ACC reception leaders. Airese Currie, now with the Chicago Bears, led the ACC in receptions last year when he had 61 in 11 games.
Stuckey has been more than just a pass catcher for the Tigers. He is the team’s leader in punt returns and ranks seventh in the ACC in that category with 8.2 yards per return. His 47-yard punt return for a score against Texas A&M was Clemson’s only touchdown in that Tiger victory. He is Clemson’s leader in all-purpose running with an average of 93 yards per game, eighth in the ACC. He had a 159-yard performance against Duke has he had yardage in rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns.
Stuckey had eight catches for 89 yards at Georgia Tech (including 49 yards after the catch), so he has had consecutive outstanding games. Earlier he had 103-yard receiving game against NC State on eight receptions. Over two years he has at least one catch in 18 straight games that he has played. He missed two games last year due to injury. Stuckey’s 5.22 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.
Stuckey Joins Exclusive Club Clemson Chansi Stuckey became just the third player in Clemson history to account for a touchdown through four different means when he caught a pair in the win over duke. He threw two touchdown passes as a freshman quarterback at Wake Forest in 2003, then 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.
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.
Clemson Has Played Six Nail Biters Clemson’s season of close games this year continued at Georgia Tech on October 29. 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 15 games, Clemson has a 10-5 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 15 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.Tigers Have Just Nine Turnovers and 46 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 (none in the 49-20 win over Duke) on three lost fumbles and six interceptions, tied for the fourth fewest turnovers in the nation. Only Central Michigan (6), UCLA (7) and UAB (8) have fewer turnovers on offense thatn Clmeosn this year.
With three lost fumbles, Clemson is tied for third in the nation in fewest fumbles lost. Rutgers and UAB have both lost two fumbles so far this year. Clemson is one of six teams with three lost fumbles. The Tigers are also 12th in the nation in fewest penalties committed with 46 in nine 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
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 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
Fudge Has Nine Career Interceptions 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 53 tackles for the season to rank fourth on the Clemson team. He now has262 for his career, more than any other active Tiger. Fudge has now started 33 consecutive games and has played in 46 in a row. Fudge has never missed a Clemson game.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.
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 47, including 36 first hits. He has three interceptions to lead the Clemson team and leads the Clemson team in takaways with four (three interceptions and one fumble recovery). He has eight passes defensed and now has 38 for his career, tied for eighth in Clemson history.
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. He had just 25 receiving yards when Hill was on the field. 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 Second in Nation in Field GoalsNeeds Three Field Goals to Tie Record Clemson kicker Jad Dean ranks second in the nation in field goals per game and he is currently fourth in kick scoring. The junior from Greenwood, SC has made 20-25 field goals this year for a 2.22 per game average. He is second to Alexis Serna of Oregon State who has made 22-24 and averages 2.44 field goals per game. Dean trails only Serna, Todd Soderquist of Miami (OH) and Clint Stitser of Fresno State in terms of kick scoring points per game. For his career, Dean is now 32-40 on field goals for a .800 figure, eighth best among active kickers. He has made 27 consecutive extra points and 44 percent of his kickoffs have not been returned.
Dean’s 20 field goals this year already rank fifth best in Clemson history for a single season and he still has at least two 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
National Leaders in Kick Scoring
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 36 and is second in yardage with 458. Freshman James Davis is second in rushing yards with 519 and is fourth in receptions with 13. Freshman safety Michael Hamlin is seventh on the team in tackles with 42 and third in interception return yards with 31. So far this season five of Clemson’s top 17 tacklers are freshmen.
Tigers Had 300-yard Passer, 150-yard receiver, 100-yard Rusher vs. Temple 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.
Clemson had a100-yard rusher, a 100-yard receiver and a 200-yard passer in the win over Duke. This is the third time in the last four games Clemson has had a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard receiver and 200-yard passer.
Tigers Gain 7.7 Yards/PlayThe 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 5.7 yards per play this season, much improved over the 4.4 figure in 2004. The current 5.7 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 YardsClemson 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 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.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 Top Tiger Tackler 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 87 stops. He is third in the ACC in tackles,which is saying something considering the depth of defensive talent in the league.
Waters had 11 tackles at NC State, including four tackles for loss. He now has 11.5 tackles for loss for the season to rank second in the ACC 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 eight games he has played Waters has 87 stops and 11.5 tackles for loss to lead the Tigers in each category.
On a per game basis, Waters is averaging nearly 10.8 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 1.43 per game. Waters led Clemson in tackles in five of the first eight 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 4.91 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 42 tackles for the season on 23 first hits and 19 assists in 341 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)
Bowden Has Coached 104 Games Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden coached his 100th game as a Division I head coach when the Tigers played at Wake Forest. Bowden now a record of 67-37 for his first 104 games as a head coach, 22 at Tulane and 82 at Clemson. He was 18-4 in two seasons with the Green Wave and 49-33 so far in his seven seasons at Clemson. At this point in his career, Tommy has the same record as his father. Both had 67 wins over their first 104 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 49. 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 30 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. Miami (FL) was 13th entering its game at Clemson and Boston College was 25th in the USA Today poll. Florida State is 16th in the USA Today poll and 17th in AP entering Saturday’s Game.
This is the first season Clemson has 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)
Nineteen Freshmen Have Played for Tigers in 2005 Clemson 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. Five more red-shirt freshmen have played since the opening of the season, so Tommy Bowden has used 19 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 Participants 1999: (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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