Sept. 13, 2004
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Tigers 9-1 Week after Close Loss Under Bowden Clemson will travel to College Station, TX this Saturday coming off a last-second four-point loss (28-24) to Georgia Tech on September 11. The Yellow Jackets scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Reggie Ball to first-year freshman Calvin Johnson with 11 seconds to play to defeat the Tigers.
But, Tommy Bowden has had success bringing his team back from a difficult defeat. In his Clemson career he is 9-1 the game following a loss by seven points or less. That includes five wins in a row in this situation. The only loss took place in 2000 when Clemson lost to Georgia Tech 31-28 (on a touchdown with seven seconds left), then lost at Florida State the next week. The victories the following week have been decisive as eight of the nine have been by at least eight points and the average victory margin of those nine comeback wins has been 13 points per game.
The success in this area dates to Bowden’s first two games as Clemson coach. In his first game, the Tigers lost to Marshall 13-10, then defeated a top 20 Virginia team the next week 33-14.
The Tigers were in a similar situation to this week in 2001 when Clemson lost to Virginia at Death Valley 26-24 on a touchdown pass with two seconds remaining. The following week Woody Dantzler scored on a walk-off touchdown run in overtime to give Clemson a 47-44 victory at Georgia Tech, who was ranked ninth in the nation going into the game. It is the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on the road since 1981.
Last year Clemson lost at NC State 17-15, then defeated North Carolina the following week 36-28.
Clemson Under Tommy Bowden, Week after Loss by TD or Less
Clemson 5-5 in Lone Star State This will be Clemson’s 11th trip to the Lone Star State for a college football game. The Tigers are 5-5 in their previous 10 appearances. This will be Clemson’s first game in the state of Texas since the last time the Tigers played Texas A&M. The Tigers lost that 1974 contest by a 24-0 score in College Station.
Clemson has not won a football game in the state of Texas since it defeated TCU in the 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl by a 23-7 score. TCU was ranked seventh in the nation heading into that game. TCU featured future Dallas Cowboys All-Pro lineman Bob Lilly. Until last year’s Clemson win over sixth-ranked Tennessee, that win over TCU was the second highest ranked team Clemson had beaten in a bowl game.
Clemson has played seven of its 10 games in Texas in the city of Houston. Clemson was 3-3 against Rice and 1-0 against TCU. The games with Rice were scheduled because former Clemson coach Jess Neely went on to become the head coach at Rice.
Neely was the head coach at Clemson the first time the Tigers played a game in Texas, as he took Clemson to the 1940 Cotton Bowl (end of the 1939 season). Clemson defeated Boston College and head coach Frank Leahy 6-3 behind Banks McFadden in that victory in Dallas.
Clemson in the State of Texas (5-5)
#Cotton Bowl, !Bluebonnet Bowl
Clemson 7-8 vs. Teams from Texas Clemson has a 7-8 record against Division I teams from the state of Texas. The Tigers have played Rice the most times (4-3), followed by TCU (2-1). Clemson’s most recent game against a team from Texas took place in 2002 when Texas Tech defeated the Tigers in the Tangerine Bowl. Clemson’s last win over a team from Texas took place in 1997 when Clemson defeated UTEP at Clemson, 39-7. The Tigers are 0-1 against Texas Tech, 0-2 vs. Texas A&M and 0-1 against Baylor
Clemson vs. Teams from Texas
Clemson and Texas A&M Connections There aren’t many connections between Clemson and Texas A&M, but here are a few:
Bowden, Assistants Have Been to College Station Since Clemson has not played at Texas A&M since 1974, none of the current Tiger players were even born when Clemson last played at Kyle Field. However, head coach Tommy Bowden and two of his assistants have coached against Texas A&M in the facility, and another has played against the Aggies at Kyle Field. Bowden coached against Texas A&M as an assistant under Bill Curry at Alabama in 1988. It was the season finale for both teams as the game had been moved from early in the season due to a Hurricane. Alabama won the contest by a 30-10 score in what was the last game for Jackie Sherrill at Texas A&M.
Clemson defensive line coach Ron West has coached against Texas A&M for three different schools at Kyle Field. The 1979 Clemson graduate was on the staff at Texas Tech when the Red Raiders won at Kyle Field in 1982 and 1984. That victory in 1982 was special for West because his son Brad, now a linebacker at Appalachian State, was born that day. He also coached for Louisiana-Lafayette in 1990 and 1991 and for Baylor in 1994 against the Aggies at Kyle Field. West’s teams lost all three games.
Assistant coach Thielen Smith coached for LSU against Texas A&M in 1991 at Kyle Field, a game the Aggies won.
Clemson vs. Texas A&M Series Texas A&M holds a 2-0 advantage in the series against Clemson. The two teams have not played since 1974 when the Aggies defeated Clemson 24-0 in College Station. The other game in the series took place at Clemson in 1973, a game Texas A&M won 30-15.
Texas A&M 30, Clemson 15 October 6, 1973 at Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Texas A&M 24, Clemson 0 September 14, 1974 at Kyle Field
Georgia Tech 28, Clemson 24 Reggie Ball threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 11 seconds left to give Georgia Tech a 28-24 win over No. 20 Clemson on September 11, 2004. The victory culminated a 10-point comeback in the last two minutes for Chan Gailey’s team, who had lost to Clemson three straight years, including 39-3 in 2003. Clemson had held a pair of 10-point leads inside the last eight minutes, including the last with under two minutes left. Tech made the comeback without the benefit of recovering an on-side kick of a Clemson turnover.
Johnson’s third and decisive touchdown reception finished off a four touchdown pass game for Ball, who had withstood a six-sack performance by the Clemson defense. Johnson caught eight passes for 127 yards and scored three touchdowns in only his second college game. The winning score came one play after a bad snap on a punting situation giving the ball to Tech at the Clemson 11 with 16 seconds left.
The Tigers still had one more chance. Airese Currie returned the ensuing kickoff to the Georgia Tech 31 with three seconds to go. But Charlie Whitehurst’s pass to a closely guarded Kelvin Grant fell incomplete in the corner of the end zone.
The game saw five touchdowns in the final eight minutes, including three scores by Georgia Tech (2-0, 1-0) in the final 4:36. Tech had scored just seven points and gained less than 300 yards over the first 53 minutes of the game. Ball, who was held to 19-of-42 performance in Georgia Tech’s 39-3 loss to Clemson last year, completed 20 of 36 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns. P.J. Daniels, the ACC’s leading rusher last year, ran for 103 yards on 24 carries after being held to just 34 yards against the Tigers in 2003.
Clemson quarterback Whitehurst was 20-of-42 for 275 yards, while Grant and Currie each caught six passes for 80 yards. Clemson also gained 186 yards on the ground, led by Reggie Merriweather’s 90 yards in eight attempts and Kyle Browning’s 80 yards in five attempts. Both had touchdown runs of at least 54 yards, the two longest touchdowns by Clemson running backs under Tommy Bowden.
Kyle Browning’s 54-yard touchdown run straight up the middle untouched gave the Tigers a 24-14 lead with just over three minutes to go. The sophomore’s run came just more than a minute after the Yellow Jackets had cut the Tigers’ lead to a field goal with a drive that ended with a 19-yard scoring pass from Ball to Levon Thomas with 4 minutes to go.
Clemson’s defense was led by Leroy Hill, who had 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. Anthony Waters added 10 stops. Tye Hill had three pass deflections and Tramaine Billie recorded Clemson’s first interception of the season. Clemson gained 461 yards of total offense, including the 26 yards lost on the misplayed punt attempt in the final seconds. It was the most yards gained in a Clemson loss since the Tigers gained 463 in a loss to Florida State in 2001.
Bring a Pillow Clemson’s games so far in 2004 have lasted nearly four hours. The double overtime victory against Wake Forest took 3:58, and the Georgia Tech game took 3:48. The Wake Forest game ranks as the second longest in Clemson history in terms of clock time and the longest in terms of overtime periods. Clemson’s three previous overtime games were just one period.
The longest game in Clemson history was the victory over Tennessee in the 2004 Peach Bowl, a game that last four hours and five minutes. Of course there was a 27-minute halftime that contributed to the record length. There was a Maryland game that took 3:50 in 1992 in College Park. Those are the only games longer than last Saturday’s night’s game with Georgia Tech that took 3:48.
Thus, three of the four longest games in Clemson history have been Clemson’s last three games.
Clemson’s Longest Games in terms of Real Time
#at Peach Bowl, $Humanitarian Bowl
Currie in Top 15 in Four Categories If Reggie Jackson was known as Mr. October then Clemson wide receiver Airese Currie could be known as Mr. September. For the second year in a row the Clemson senior is off to a great start. A year ago, Currie had 26 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns before the end of that month. He then suffered some injuries and had just 17 catches the rest of the season.
So far this year, Currie has 15 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown. Currie ranks 11th in the nation in receptions per game with a 7.5 figure and is 12th in reception yards per game at 116.0. Currie had nine catches for 152 yards in the season opener against Wake Forest. The 152 receiving yards in that game rank in a tie for sixth best in school history.
In addition to his receiving accomplishments, Currie has been outstanding in terms of kickoff returns, averaging 37.3 yards per return, fifth best in the nation. He has 172.5 all-purpose yards per game, 15th best in the nation. Thus Currie enters the Texas A&M game ranked in the top 15 in the nation in four statistical categories. He leads the ACC in three areas, receptions per game, reception yards per game and all-purpose running.
Currie’s strong start has him closing in on 100 career receptions and 1500 yards. Entering this weekend he has 92 catches for 1394 yards and nine touchdowns. When he reaches the 100 receptions mark he will become just the 11th Tiger in history to do so. When he reaches 1500 reception yards he will also be the 11th Tiger to reach that plateau. Entering Saturday’s game he stands tied for 13th in receptions with Terrance Roulhac and is 13th in reception yards.
Grant Posts Career Day vs. Georgia Tech Kelvin Grant made a strong improvement in terms of receptions and yardage in the Georgia Tech game. The red-shirt sophomore had six catches for 80 yards and now ranks third on the team in receptions with 7-94 for the season. His 6-80 day against Georgia Tech established a career high in both areas.
Grant had just one catch for 14 yards statistically in the opening win over Wake Forest, but he had one of the top plays of the day when he caught a two-point conversion pass from Charlie Whitehurst with just 1:48 left in the game to tie the score with Wake Forest at 28-28. NCAA Stats don’t count receptions on extra point plays, he only gets credit for two points scored. Clemson then won the game in overtime. Grant’s catch was a nominee on ESPN’s weekly “Game Changing Moment”. He finished second that week in the voting on ESPN’s website.
Leroy Hill Continues All-America Pace Leroy Hill had an All-America quality 2003 season when he had 145 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss, second in the nation. He has picked up where he left off with 23 tackles over the first two games, including five behind the line of scrimmage, three of which have been sacks. That is an average of 11.5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss per game and 1.5 sacks per game. In 2003 he averaged 11.1 tackles per game, 2.08 tackles for loss per game and 0.6 sacks per game. In other words, he is playing at an even higher level than last season.
For his career, Hill now has 228 tackles, 34 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback sacks. He has done this even though he has started just 15 games in his Clemson career. Over his first two years, he played just 182 snaps from scrimmage.
Hill on Three Lists Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill and NC State linebacker Pat Thomas are the only common denominators on the preseason lists for the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award and the Nagurski Award. There are 16 players nationally who are on all three lists.
The 16 Players on Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski Preseason Lists Brian Atkinson, Northern Illinois Andy Avalos, Boise State Michael Broley, Southern Miss Nick Bunting, Tulsa Channing Crowder, Florida Will Derting, Washington State Spencer Havner, UCLA Leroy Hill, Clemson Derrick Johnson, Texas James Kinney, Missouri Kirk Morrison, San Diego State Robert Rodriquez, UTEP Pat Thomas, NC State Rian Wallace, Temple Zac Woodfin, UAB Pierre Woods, Michigan
Dukes Paces Tigers in Knockdown Blocks Clemson sophomore tackle Marion Dukes had the best game of his young career against Georgia Tech when he had 13 knockdown blocks over 75 plays. It was the most knockdown blocks on the young season for any Clemson player. For the season, Dukes leads the team in that category with 17, four more than starting center Tommy Sharpe. Shape has the top overall grade so far among linemen at 89 percent for the two games. Third on the team in knockdown blocks is wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, who has 12.5.
First Two Games Have Been Thrillers Clemson’s opening two games of the season have been thrillers, a 37-30 overtime victory against Wake Forest, and a 28-24 loss to Georgia Tech. Tech scored the winning touchdown with just 11 seconds left.
This is the first time since 1986 that each of the first two games of the season have been decided by seven points or less, never mind being decided within the last minute of the game. In 1986, Clemson lost to Virginia Tech in the opener, 20-14, then defeated Georgia in Athens 31-28 on a 46-yard field goal by David Treadwell on the last play of the game.
Overall, this is just the 12th time in Clemson history the first two games have been decided by a touchdown or less. A close game at Texas A&M would create a first because Clemson has never had the first three games of the year decided by seven points or less. The 1958 season came close, as the Tigers beat Virginia in the opener by 20-15, then stopped North Carolina 26-21 before defeating Maryland 8-0 in the third game of the year.
Clemson actually won the fourth game that year 12-7, giving Frank Howard’s team four wins by eight points or less to open the season. That team won six games by eight or less on the way to an 8-3 record and#12 final ranking in the AP poll. The only loss that year by eight points or less was to #1 ranked LSU by a 7-0 score in Clemson’s only Sugar Bowl appearance in history.
You can see by the following Chart that the first two games have been close in many areas:
Stat Comparison First Two Games of the Season
Whitehurst Leads ACC in Passing Yards Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst leads the ACC in passing yardage and total offense per game in the young season. The Clemson junior is 40-83 for 563 yards and three touchdowns. He has averaged a league best 281.5 yards per game and has 295.0 yards per game in total offense, also the best in the conference.
Whitehurst threw for 275 yards in Clemson’s loss to Georgia Tech after recording 288 in the opener against Wake Forest. Whitehurst has been very consistent over his career as a starter in terms of passing yardage. He has now thrown for at least 246 yards in eight straight games, a school record for consecutive 200-yard games, never mind reaching the 246-yard mark. He has thrown for at least 246 yards in 17 of his 20 games as a starter. The only times he failed to reach at least 246 yards passing as a starter took place against Maryland in 2002, and against Georgia and NC State in 2003.
Whitehurst is now 13-7 as a starter in his Clemson career, 8-3 at home, 4-3 on the road and 1-1 at neutral site. It is interesting to note that his passing stats are better on the road than at home over his career. For his seven road starts heading into Saturday, Whitehurst has an efficiency rating of 146.9, far ahead of his 128.3 figure for games in Death Valley. He has a 17/6 touchdown/ interception ratio on the road and is 16-12 at home. Whitehurst has thrown for an average of 310.7 yards per game on the road over his career and just 275 per game at home.
Whitehurst Moving up Career Marks Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst needs just 10 completions and 360 passing yards to become Clemson’s career leader in both categories. The junior from Duluth, GA now has 451 completions in 762 attempts for 5678 yards and 34 touchdowns in his Clemson career that has spanned just 24 games and 20 starts. Whitehurst is currently in third place on Clemson’s all-time completions list with his 451 total, trailing only Nealon Greene (458) and Woody Dantzler (460). In yardage, Whitehurst’s 5678 trails only Greene (5719) and Dantzler (6037).
Whitehurst owns 32 Clemson records. He had the mark for passing efficiency entering this season, but his130.46 career figure through two games is now third. Dantzler has the record at 132.46, so another good game or two should move Whitehurst back to the top. He still has the record for completion percentage at 59.2, ahead of Dantzler’s 57.8. Whitehurst is fourth in school history in terms of total offense with 5734, trailing only Dantzler (8798), Greene (6786) and Steve Fuller (6096).
Clemson Career Leaders in Completion Percentage (Minimum of 150 attempts)
Clemson Career Passing Efficiency Leaders (Minimum of 100 attempts)
Clemson Career Leaders in Completions (Minimum of 150 attempts)
Clemson Career Leaders in Passing Yardage (Minimum of 150 attempts)
Charlie Whitehurst Career Quarterback Rankings
Bowden and Franchione Both Among Winningest Active Coaches Both coaches in Saturday evening’s game in College Station, TX rank among the top 15 winningest active coaches in Division I football. Clemson’s Tommy Bowden has a 57-29 record for a .663 winning percentage, tied for 11th with Fresno State’s Pat Hill, who has the exact same record as Bowden. Both are in their eighth seasons as Division I head coaches. Franchione is 13th with a .657 winning percentage off a 160-83-2 mark. Franchione is the seventh winningest active coach on a total victories list.
The list of winningest active coaches is not off to a good start. Eleven of the top 16 have already lost a game and the 16 coaches are a combined 18-13
Winningest Active Coaches, Percentage Basis (Minimum 5 years experience)
Merriweather, Browning Gain Long Runs Tommy Bowden has been looking for a breakaway running back since he became the Clemson coach in 1999. In his first three years, Travis Zachery was the leader and had 1027 yards in 2000. Zachery went on to become Clemson’s career leader in all-purpose yardage, a record that was broken by Derrick Hamilton in 2003. But Zachery’s longest career run was just 52 yards.
Entering Saturday’s game with Georgia Tech, a Clemson running back had just three runs of 50 yards or more under Tommy Bowden, two 52-yard runs by Zachery, and a 50-yard run by Duane Coleman last year against North Carolina. Coleman suffered a broken foot in the preseason (August 10) and has not played yet this year. In the first game of this year, Clemson’s longest run by a running back was just 12 yards.
But, that changed on Saturday against Georgia Tech when running backs Reggie Merriweather and Kyle Browning both had runs of 54 yards or more. Merriweather had a 62-yard run with 8:19 left, then Browning had a 54-yard run with 3:18 remaining. So, Bowden went over five years without a run of more than 52 yards by a running back, then had two five minutes apart. Merriweather’s run was the longest by a Clemson running back since the final game of the 1996 season when Raymond Priester had a 65-yard touchdown run against South Carolina in Death Valley.
Browning and Merriweather combined for 170 yards in just 13 carries, a 13.1 average. In case you were wondering, neither were close to the yards per rush record for a game. That mark is 30.4, held by Ken Moore against The Citadel in 1954. Moore had five rushes for 152 yards in that Clemson victory 50 seasons ago.
Tigers from Texas Clemson has just one player on its roster from the state of Texas. Clint LaTray, a red-shirt freshman center, is a graduate of Allen, TX and Allen High School. He is listed as Clemson’s third string center and is yet to play in a game for the Tigers. He was a first-team all-district and third team all-state selection out of high school who played for a district championship team under coach Joe Martin. LaTray, who will celebrate his 20th birthday just six days after the Texas A&M game, chose Clemson over Baylor, Kansas, SMU and TCU.
Clemson does not recruit the Texas area with regularity, but two recent players from the state stand out. John Leake, one of the senior leaders of the 2003 Clemson team, was from Plano East High School in Plano, TX. He ranks fifth in Clemson history in career tackles with 443. He was Clemson’s defensive MVP of the 2002 Tangerine Bowl game against Texas Tech and was a two-time honorable mention All-ACC choice.
Darnell Stephens played for the Tigers from 1991-94 as a defensive back and defensive end. The native of San Antonio, TX played in 44 games as a Tiger, including 25 as a starter. He led all ACC linebackers in sacks in 1994 when he had 8.5. As a freshman in 1991 he was a freshman All-American and had 29 punt returns for 362 yards. He had an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown against Maryland in 1991 at Death Valley in a game that clinched the ACC championship for the Tigers. That is still the third longest punt return for a touchdown in Clemson history.
Tigers Will Do Plenty of Traveling in 2004 Clemson will have a difficult road schedule this year in terms of competition and in terms of distance. Three of Clemson’s five road games (Florida State, Virginia, Miami (FL) are against teams currently in the top 20 in the nation according to both polls. The Tigers also travel to Texas A&M and Duke. If Florida State, Virginia and Miami (FL) hold their rankings it would mark the first time since 1966 that Clemson has played three top 20 teams on the road in the same year. That year Frank Howard’s team played Georgia Tech, Alabama and Southern Cal, all top 10 teams, on the road.
The 2004 schedule will also be challenging in terms of travel distance. Clemson will travel 2,857 miles for its five road games this year, an average of 571 miles per game. This is the third longest average road trip season, excluding the two years Clemson played in Tokyo (1982 and 1991). The record was set in 1951 when Frank Howard’s team traveled 3990 miles for five games, 798 miles per game.
Clemson does not play a home game between September 12 and October 15, a stretch of 34 straight days without a game in Death Valley. This is the longest stretch without a home game for the Tigers since 1984 when Clemson went from September 2 until October 5 without a home game. The upcoming stretch of consecutive road games at Texas A&M, Florida State and Virginia marks the first time since 1994 that Clemson has played three straight games on the road.
Note: Counts only trips in continental United States.
Clemson Areas of Improvement While Clemson won its first game against Wake Forest, but lost the second game to Georgia Tech, the Tigers did improve in many areas against Georgia Tech. Here is a rundown:
Chason Continues Strong Punting Punter Cole Chason finished the 2003 season on a high note. He was Clemson’s top special teams player in the victory over Tennessee when he out-punted Volunteers All-American Dustin Colquitt. Chason had a 42-yard average on five punts and allowed just five total punt return yards, while Colquitt’s net average was 30 yards a boot.
Chason has continued to punt well this season and has a 40.9 average, including a 35.3 net figure. He had a punt killed inside the five against Georgia Tech and has had just one touchback in his 11 punts so far this season.
Streaks Stopped Clemson’s loss to Georgia Tech stopped some Clemson victory streaks:
Tigers on TBS Clemson will face Texas A&M on Saturday in a game that will be televised by TBS Sports. This will be just the second time that Clemson has appeared on that network, the first time since 1982. That year, WTBS had a Saturday evening prime time package and the defending national champion Tigers played at Virginia against George Welsh’s team.
The Tigers came away with a 48-0 victory in a game that was played in a driving rain storm in Charlottesville. Clemson had three running backs gain over 100 yards in the contest, one of just four times that has happened in Clemson history. The Tigers who went over 100 yards in that game were Cliff Austin, Jeff McCall and Chuck McSwain.
This will be the 53rd game that will be on some type of television since Tommy Bowden became Clemson’s head coach. The Tigers are 29-23 in televised games under Bowden. The list includes 36 appearances on ESPN, ESPN-2, ABC or NBC.
Future Clemson Schedules The game at Texas A&M is the first of a two-game home and home series with the Aggies. Texas A&M will open next season at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2005. Clemson is also scheduled to play Temple in Death Valley the following week and at South Carolina on November 19.
In 2006, Clemson’s non-conference slate includes a season opener at Clemson against Ball Sate, a game at Temple on September 23 and the South Carolina game at Clemson on November 18. The 2007 slate includes a season opener against Louisiana-Monroe on September 8 at Clemson, a game with Temple on September 15 in Death Valley and the South Carolina game at Columbia on November 17.
Clemson Opens Season with Overtime Victory Kyle Browning scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst and the Tiger defense held Wake Forest scoreless in the bottom of the second overtime period, and Clemson went on to a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest at Death Valley last Saturday. The victory offset Wake Forest’s 45-17 win over the Tigers in 2003, the last time Clemson has lost a football game.
Clemson had forced the overtime period when Yusef Kelly culminated a 78-yard, 11-play drive with just 1:48 remaining on a one-yard scoring run. A two-point conversion pass from Whitehurst to sophomore Kelvin Grant tied the score at 27-27.
Clemson had jumped out to a 19-3 lead with just 20 minutes gone in the game. Airese Currie, who had a career high 152 receiving yards, scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Whitehurst, then Justin Miller scored on a 69-yard punt return on the last play of the first period. Chansi Stuckey then blocked a Wake Forest punt through the endzone to give Clemson a 16-3 lead, then Stephen Furr booted his first career field goal from 42 yards out, a kick that hit the left goalpost and bounced through.
Wake Forest then went on a 24-0 run behind the play of wide receiver Jason Anderson and running back Chris Barclay. Anderson scored on an 85-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Ben Mauk, tied for the longest touchdown pass in Wake Forest history (ironically, the only other 85-yarder also took place against Clemson in 1982 in Tokyo, Japan).
Barclay continued to be a thorn in Clemson’s side as the junior gained 179 yards on the ground for the game, his second +160-yard game against Clemson in as many years. His 50-yard run put Wake Forest up 27-19 with 12:20 left. Wake Forest then held Clemson on the next drive. So, the Demon Deacons had an eight-point lead with the ball with seven minutes left. But, Whitehurst led the Tigers back by going 3-4 for 43 yards on the game-tying drive.
Whitehurst was 20-41 for 288 yards and two touchdowns for the afternoon. He also had 15 yards rushing to give him 303 yards of total offense on the day. Airese Currie was the top receiver with nine catches for 152 yards, while Chansi Stuckey added 8-112. Yusef Kelly led the rushers with 19-57 and a touchdown.
The defense was led by Justin Miller and Leroy Hill with nine tackles apiece. Tye Hill added two pass deflections in the secondary, while Miller had the only takeaway with a fumble recovery.
Clemson was out-gained 410-371 and committed three turnovers to just one by Wake Forest. But, the Tigers won the special teams in just about every area. Furr made two field goals in his first kicking assignment in Death Valley, including a 23-yard field goal in the overtime that tied the game. Miller scored on a 69-yard punt return and also had 47 yards on two kickoff returns. Cole Chason added a 40.6 punting average and Clemson’s coverage unit allowed just 19 punt return yards in four attempts.
Tigers 4-0 in Overtime Clemson increased its all-time perfect record in overtime games to 4-0 with its 37-30 win over Wake Forest in the season opener last weekend. The Tigers are now one of four Division I schools with a perfect overtime record, given a minimum of four overtime games. Brigham Young, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio State are also 4-0 in overtime games since the rule was put into effect in 1996. Ball State, Nebraska, Northern Illinois and South Florida are all 3-0 and could join the previous group with an overtime victory this year.
Clemson’s win over Wake Forest last Saturday was a double overtime affair, the first time Clemson has had to go a second “extra inning” to claim an overtime win. Both Clemson and Wake Forest kicked field goals in the first period, then Clemson scored a touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst to Kyle Browning. Wake Forest could not get a first down on its possession and when a fourth down pass fell incomplete, Clemson had the victory.
Clemson’s defense has been outstanding in Clemson’s four overtime games. In fact, the Tigers have yielded just nine points on three field goals and the opposition has not recorded a first down in five possessions. Tommy Bowden is now 3-0 in overtime games at Clemson and in his coaching career.
There is something about overtime and Clemson athletics. The Clemson basketball team has a 45-32 record in overtime games since the ACC started in 1953-54, second best among league schools in overtime winning percentage.
Clemson in Overtime (4-0)
Currie, Stuckey both over 100 Receiving Yards Clemson had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game for just the third time in history when the Tigers defeated Wake Forest in the season opener. Airese Currie had nine receptions for 152 yards and teammate Chansi Stuckey added eight for 112 yards, giving the due 17 catches for 264 yards and a touchdown. It was the most receiving yards for a wide receiver duo in Clemson history. Currie wears #1 and Stuckey wears #2, and that is their rank on the Clemson receiving list.
Currie’s 152 receiving yards were a career high and rank in a tie for sixth best in Clemson history. Rod Gardner holds the record with a 182 receiving yards at North Carolina in 2000, while Derrick Hamilton’s 175 receiving yards at Maryland last year is second. Jerry Butler had a 163 yard receiving game at Georgia Tech in 1977 and Terry Smith had 156 receiving yards at Florida State in 1993. Those are the only five games better than Currie’s performance last Saturday. Currie’s total was also the most ever for a Clemson player in a season opener.
The first time Clemson had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game took place in 1998 against NC State in Death Valley. Brian Wofford had 128 yards and Mal Lawyer added 100 receiving yards in Clemson’s 46-39 loss to the Wolfpack. Ironically, Wofford had nine catches and Lawyer had eight, the same numbers for Currie and Stuckey, respectively against Wake Forest.
The only other time Clemson has had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game was at Duke in 2002, Charlie Whitehurst’s first start at quarterback for the Tigers. That day, J.J. McKelvey had 10-103 and Derrick Hamilton had 7-101 in a 34-31 Clemson victory.
Clemson Single Game Receiving yardage Bests
Stuckey’s All-Around Performance “He runs, he throws, he catches, he blocks, he hustles, he blocks punts and none of the 79,500 at Death Valley on Saturday would be surprised if he handled ticket distribution, ordered concessions and oversaw blowing up the orange balloons for the pregame ceremonies. His name is Chansi Stuckey, and if he didn’t deliver the most spectacular debut in Clemson history, he surely came close.”
Those were the words of Bob Spear, Columnist for The State Newspaper in Columbia, SC on Sunday, September, 5, 2004. When Chansi Stuckey goes to position meetings each day, he attends those gathers in the Banks McFadden Building. The building is named in honor of Clemson’s greatest athlete of the 20th Century, Banks McFadden. McFadden was an All-American in football and basketball for the Tigers in 1939 and was named the Nation’s Most Versatile Athlete.
On the gridiron, McFadden did everything possible, as he went both ways as a single wing tailback and a standout defensive back. He was known for his passing and running skills on offense, but when Clemson defeated Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl, McFadden had four pass deflections in the second half to lead Clemson to a 6-3 victory.
Stuckey was named the Chevrolet Player of the Game by ABC Sports in Clemson’s win over Wake Forest. He might have had the best game by a Clemson football player in so many areas since McFadden played for the Tigers.
Making his first career start at wide receiver, Stuckey had eight receptions for 112 yards. It was the first time a Clemson receiver had a 100-yard receiving game in his first career start since 1979 when Perry Tuttle had 145 yards in a victory over Furman in his first career start. His performance included two catches for 35 yards on Clemson’s game tying touchdown in the fourth period that sent the game into overtime.
Stuckey also threw a pass on an end-around, a play that resulted in a pass interference call in the endzone. He had four rushes for 10 yards, including a 14-yarder that was Clemson’s long rush of the day. He even took a couple of snaps at quarterback in a shotgun formation.
On special teams, Stuckey had a blocked punt that resulted in a safety in the second period. He also had a key block on Justin Miller’s 69-yard punt return for a touchdown. That might have been the all-time hustle play in Clemson history. Stuckey lined up at the line of scrimmage on the right end and rushed the punter. His dive in front of the punter’s foot was just a few inches from a block. He then reversed his field and ran to the 48-yard line in front of the Clemson bench, where he threw a key block on Miller’s run to a score.
Pickens Makes First Career Appearance Clemson senior offensive tackle Jesse Pickens was one of seven Clemson players who made their first career starts in the win over Wake Forest. It was quite a start for Pickens, who had never appeared in a game for the Tigers. In fact, he had played just 20 snaps in his high school career at Spartanburg High. Pickens played 76 snaps and graded 77 percent for the game.
Marion Dukes, Clemson’s other starting tackle, also made his first career start and played 76 snaps. He earned a 77 percent grade from the coaches and had four knockdown blocks. Chansi Stuckey was the third offensive player making his first career start. His accomplishments in the Wake Forest game have already been documented.
Four players on defense made their first career start. The list included Charles Bennett (DE), Eric Coleman (DT), Trey Tate (DT) and Anthony Waters (LB). The four players combined for 17 tackles.
Miller Sets Clemson Record Justin Miller tied for game honors in terms of tackles against Wake Forest with nine, including eight first hits. He was a big reason Wake Forest completed just 10-25 passes and had an efficiency rating of just 105.
But, the most electrifying play the junior provided was a 69-yard punt return on the last play of the second period. It gave Miller a second consecutive home game with a punt return for a score, as he had a 63-yard touchdown on a punt return against Duke in the final home game of 2003. Miller became just the fourth player in Clemson history to have two punt returns for a score in a career. The others to do it were Shad Bryant, Don Kelley and Donnell Woolford.
Miller had a kickoff return for a score against NC State in 2002, so he now has three kick returns for touchdowns in his Clemson career, more than any other player in Clemson history. Miller and Bobby Gage are the only players in Clemson history with a punt return and a kickoff return for touchdown over their respective careers. In addition to his 72 yards on punt returns against Wake Forest, Miller also had 47 kickoff return yards. He is first in Clemson history in kickoff return average.
Clemson Still Ranked in Top 25 Clemson is ranked 25th in the latest USA Today poll and is unranked in AP. Clemson was 15th in the preseason AP poll, its first preseason top 25 ranking since the Tigers were 18th in the 2001 preseason poll.
Clemson has now been ranked in four consecutive USA Today polls. The Tigers were 22nd in the final poll of the 2003 season. The number-15 preseason ranking was Clemson’s highest ranking at any time since a #10 ranking in the October 29, 2000 poll when Clemson was ranked 10th. The highest AP ranking for the Tigers under coach Bowden is a number-5 ranking in four straight polls from October 1-22 in 2000.
Clemson’s highest ranking in history is the number-one ranking on November 30, 1981 and January 3, 1982. The school record for consecutive polls in the top 25 is 51, set between October 24, 1989 and October 26, 1992.
Clemson 15th in Associated Press Preseason Poll Clemson was ranked 15th in the nation in the Associated Press preseason college football poll. Clemson was one of five ACC teams ranked in the top 25 by the poll.
Florida State was the highest ranked ACC team with a number-five rating, while new ACC member Miami (FL) was sixth. Clemson must play both of those teams on the road this year. Clemson was the third highest rated ACC team with its #15 rating, and was followed by Virginia at 16 and Maryland at 22. In July, Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coach’s poll.
This is the 19th season Clemson has been ranked in the AP preseason poll, the first time since 2001 when the Tigers were 18th. The number-15 ranking is Clemson’s highest in a preseason poll since 1992 when the Tigers were 13th. Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in history is #4 in 1988 and 1984.
Clemson has been ranked in the preseason 18 times prior to this year and has gone on to finish in the top 25 in 11 of those seasons. Once, in 1989, Clemson was ranked the same in the preseason and in the final poll (12th).
This is the third time under Tommy Bowden that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason of the Associated Press poll. The other years were 2000 (17th) and 2001 (18th). Clemson finished the 2003 season ranked 22nd in the final poll after it was unranked in the preseason. Clemson was not ranked in the top 25 in the preseason of 1981, the year Clemson went on to win the national championship.
Browning Productive During his talk to the Clemson team the night before the Clemson vs. Wake Forest game, head coach Tommy Bowden encouraged all his players to be ready to make a game winning play on Saturday afternoon. He then singled out one player. “Kyle Browning, be ready, you could be the one who wins the game for us on Saturday.”
Bowden became a profit that Saturday. Of course he had final veto power on play calling, so it might have been a little more than a coincidence, but it was Browning who scored the game winner on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst in the second overtime period to give Clemson a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest.
Browning played 18 snaps in the contest, but touched the ball just twice, both on pass receptions. It was the second consecutive game that the 5-7 172-pound junior had scored a touchdown in limited duty. In the Peach Bowl victory over Tennessee he played just one snap on offense, but scored on an eight-yard run on a “Panther Play”, a rooskie in which he took the ball between his legs from Charlie Whitehurst and raced to the left untouched to the endzone, while the entire line and Whitehurst ran to the right.
Browning continued his fine production with 80 yards in five carries against Georgia Tech, including a 54-yard scoring run, the longest run of his career. Browning was Clemson’s third leading rusher last year with 152 yards on 29 carries and his 5.2 average led the team. He started two games last year, Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech, and had 15 carries for 85 yards in the two games combined. Clemson scored 75 points in the two victories. He had 4-32 rushing against Georgia Tech in last year’s 39-3 Clemson victory.
Eight Sets of Same Names There are eight sets of players with the same last name on the Clemson football team, but only one combination are brothers. Maurice Nelson (#42) and Roosevelt Nelson (#49) are brothers from Rembert, SC and Crestwood High School. Maurice is a red-shirt freshman and Roosevelt is a red-shirt junior.
Three name combinations are starters, or could be once Duane Coleman returns from injury. The starting combinations are the Hills (Leroy and Tye, who both start on defense), the Bennetts (Charles, starting DE and Nathan, starting guard), and the Colemans (Eric, starting defensive tackle and Duane, starting tailback when healthy).
There are two unrelated Frys who play on the offensive line, Roman and Dustin, who are both currently second team. Yusef Kelly is the starting tailback and Aaron Kelly is a freshman receiver, while Lionel Richardson is a reserve linebacker and Barry Richardson is a reserve offensive tackle. Both played against Wake Forest. Finally, Robert Reese is a reserve defensive back and Tribble Reese is a reserve freshman quarterback.
Williamson throwback Player Players haven’t gone both ways in college football on a consistent basis since the 1963 season. But, Clemson junior Bobby Williamson is one of those “throw back players” and played on both sides of the ball in the win over Wake Forest.
The 250-pounder from Tarpon Springs, FL played seven snaps at tight end and 15 snaps at defensive end in the first game of the season. It is believed to be the first time a player has played at least seven snaps on both sides of the ball in the same game since the 1960s. Williamson had an 86 percent blocking grade and one knockdown block from his tight end position. He did not have a tackle on defense for his 15 plays.
In the second game, Williamson played only on defense for 22 snaps, and had his first career sack, a 16-yarder against Reggie Ball. He had three total tackles. Williamson had been strictly a tight end in his first three years at Clemson. He played 24 games out of 26 possible contests at tight end in 2002 and 2003. In fact, he started 11 of the 13 games last year and had 12 catches for 205 yards, first among Clemson tight ends. He had five receptions at NC State, most by a Clemson tight end in a single game since 1975.
Tigers in the NFL According to rosters released on September 5, 15 former Tigers are NFL rosters heading into the first week of play. The list includes rookies and 2003 Clemson team members Derrick Hamilton of the San Francisco 49ers and Gregory Walker of the New York Giants. Walker is the only player in Clemson history to play in 50 games and Hamilton left Clemson as the school’s all-time leader in receptions and all-purpose running. Donnell Washington, also a member of Clemson’s 2003 team, is on injured reserve with the Green Bay Packers. A 15th player, Lorenzo Bromell of the New York Giants, is on the physically unable to perform list and should return by midseason.
The list below does not include practice squad players who could be added later this week.
The list of Tigers in the NFL includes Brentson Buckner of the Carolina Panthers, who is in his 11th season in the league, Brian Dawkins, a three time Pro Bowl safety with Philadelphia, Chris Gardocki, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is in his 14th season in the league, and Trevor Pryce of the Denver Broncos, a two-time Super Bowl Champion and four time Pro Bowl selection. Lamont Hall was cut and did not play for the New Orleans Saints last year, but he is back with the team in 2004.
Tigers In The NFL
#Injured reserve, $Physically unable to perform
Tommy, Sharp on Offensive Line During the preseason, Clemson had a lot of injuries in the offensive line, which led to many players moving positions. That was especially the case with Roman Fry, who was referred to as “our putty man” by head coach Tommy Bowden.
But, one player who has not moved up or down the depth chart, or across to another position has been reliable center Tommy Sharpe. The 6-0, 270-pounder from Albany, GA has now started 19 games in his career, 19 of the 20 Charlie Whitehurst has started at quarterback. He had one of his better games as a Tiger in the win over Wake Forest as he had a team best 91 percent blocking grade and a team best seven knockdown blocks. He was a big reason Clemson’s offensive line allowed just one quarterback sack. He had an87 percent grade against Georgia Tech.
Whitehurst now has a 13-7 record as a starter and the Tigers are 12-7 when Sharpe and Whitehurst are working in tandem. Last year, Sharpe started all but the North Carolina game and had 56 knockdown blocks, second on the team behind Gregory Walker, who just earned a roster spot with the New York Giants. He had a career high eight knockdown blocks in the win over third ranked Florida State.
54 Players Saw Action vs. Demon Deacons Fifty-four different players participated for Clemson in the season opener against Wake Forest. That included six freshmen, 14 sophomores, 21 juniors and 13 seniors. The Tigers used 23 different players on offense and 21 different players on defense. Bobby Williamson played seven snaps on offense and 15 snaps on defense, but is counted just once. Coach Bowden used just two first-year freshmen in the game, wide receiver La’Donte Harris and offensive tackle Barry Richardson, who played nine and seven plays, respectively. Six players, three on offense and three on defense, played in their first games for the Tigers.
The Future of the ACC (Division structure) The ACC is one 11-team league in 2004, as Miami (FL) and Virginia are in the ACC for the first time. Next year, Boston College will join the conference, creating a 12 team league that will have a conference championship at the end of the year.
The league will be divided into two divisions for 2005. Division A will be composed of Maryland, Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College. Clemson is guaranteed to play each of those schools every year. Division B is composed of Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech. Clemson is guaranteed to play only Georgia Tech every year from that Division.
The winners of each division will meet in the ACC Championship game the first Saturday in December in Jacksonville, FL each of the next two seasons.
Fourth Quarter Comeback Clemson trailed Wake Forest by one point entering the fourth quarter and by eight points with just seven minutes left before gaining the 37-30 overtime victory. Saturday’s victory marked the fifth time under Coach Bowden that Clemson has scored to break a tie or overcome a deficit with two minutes or less left on the clock.
It was the third time Clemson has won in overtime. The other two occasions took place against South Carolina in 2000 when Aaron Hunt kicked a 25 yards field goal with three seconds left to give Clemson a 16-14 victory, and when Hunt kicked a 21-yard field goal with eight seconds left to beat Duke in 2002.
Clemson Wins Special Teams Clemson won just about every phase of the special teams in the win over Wake Forest. The Tigers scored nine points directly, seven on a 69-yard punt return for a score by Justin Miller and two on a blocked punt for a safety by Chansi Stuckey. Clemson’s kickers were also outstanding. Stephen Furr, making his first start as the place kicker, had a pair of field goals, including a 23-yarder in the first overtime that allowed the game to continue to a second overtime. Punter Cole Chason had a 40.6 gross average and a 36.8 net figure. Clemson had a net punting figure of 36.8 for the game, while Wake Forest had a 21.8 figure.
Tigers Tough in September Clemson opened the season with a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest on September 4, 2004. Clemson is now 16-4 under Tommy Bowden in the month of September, including 15-2 since the turn of the century. Clemson’s only other loss in September under Bowden since the beginning of the 2000 season was to Virginia in 2001 when the Cavaliers defeated Clemson 26-24 on the last play of the game.
Hill, Currie Seek Double ACC Championships Clemson starting cornerback Tye Hill and starting wide receiver Airese Currie have already been on an ACC Championship team in 2004. Both were key members of Clemson’s 2004 ACC Outdoor Track championship team. The Tigers won the event last April with 224 points, the most in the history of the meet by any school.
Hill could claim the title as the ACC’s fastest athlete because he won the ACC Championship in the 60 meters indoors (6.73) and captured the 100 meters outdoors (10.29). He is the seventh Clemson track athlete to win both in the same academic year. Only one man has done it twice in a career and that is Shawn Crawford, who won the Gold Medal in the 200 meters in Athens this summer. Hill hopes to join Crawford with that distinction this coming year.
Currie ran a Clemson team season best 10.22 in the 100 meters outdoors and was a member of Clemson’s ACC Championship 4X100 meter relay. He was the NCAA East Region champion in the 100 meters in 2003 and was a track All-American as a freshman in 2002 when he was a member of Clemson’s national second place 4X100 meter relay team.
A third Clemson football player who is a two-sport athlete is reserve cornerback C.J. Gaddis. The native of North Carolina was a member of Clemson’s baseball team in 2004.
Crawford Wins Gold This is a bit of a stretch, but there was a tie to Clemson football and the Olympics this summer. Former Clemson track All-American Shawn Crawford won the Gold Medal in the 200 meters in Athens in a time of 19.79, the fastest time in the world in four years. He also was a member of the Silver Medal 4X100 meter relay. Crawford is the first athlete with ties to Clemson to win a Gold Medal for a United States team since 1996 when Kim Graham won a gold for the United States 4X100 meter relay team, and Gigi Fernandez won a Gold Medal in women’s doubles in the tennis competition.
Crawford tried his hand at football as a running back in the fall of 1999, his senior year at Clemson and coach Bowden’s first year. He stayed with the team for a month, from mid-August to mid-September and was actually in the program roster for the first three games. He had a 65-y
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