Nov. 1, 1999
Clemson has the nation’s toughest schedule according to ratings by noted computer analyst Jeff Sagarin. According to his latest data, Clemson’s schedule has a rating of 83.17, nearly a point higher than its nearest competitor, ACC foe Virginia. Clemson is the only team in the nation to play three undefeated teams, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Marshall and that certainly has a lot to do with the high ranking. When Clemson meets Georgia Tech on November 13 that schedule ranking will be further enhanced.
Virginia Tech is ranked first by the Sagarin poll and Florida State is second, while Georgia Tech is eighth and Marshall 10th. Thus, four of the top 10 teams in the nation are on Clemson’s schedule.
Clemson is shown quite a bit of respect by the Sagarin poll. Despite a 4-4 record, Clemson is ranked 15th in the nation by the computer. Clemson is the only team in the Sagarin top 20 that does not have a winning record. The Sagarin computer ranks Clemson higher than undefeated Mississippi State, Purdue, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Georgia.
It is interesting to note that Duke is ranked fifth in schedule ranking according to Sagarin.
National Schedule Ranking by Sagarin
Overall Sagarin Rankings
Tigers Look to Clinch Winning ACC Season There are a lot of factors on the line when Clemson takes on Duke at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers enter the action with a 4-4 record, needing two victories in the last three games to become bowl eligible. Clemson’s last two games are on the road, at Georgia Tech and at South Carolina.
A victory Saturday would also clinch a winning season in ACC play for Coach Tommy Bowden and the Tigers. Clemson has not had a winning regular in the ACC since 1996 when Clemson was 6-2 in the league and tied for second in the standings. Clemson was also 6-2 in 1995. A victory against Duke would also mean Clemson could finish no worse than third in the ACC standings. That would be quite an accomplishment considering no preseason poll picked Clemson higher than sixth in the standings.
A victory today would also give Clemson a winning record at home, something Clemson has done just once in the last four years. The Tigers were 5-1 at home in 1996, but 3-3 in 1995 and 1997. Clemson was 3-4 last year in death Valley.
Finally, a win today would give Clemson a 5-4 record for this season. It would be the first time Clemson was over .500 since the first game of the 1998 season.
Odd But True Clemson has not won an odd numbered game this season. The Tigers lost game one against Marshall, game three at Virginia Tech, game five at NC State and game seven against Florida State. The Tigers hope to break that streak against Duke on Saturday.
This streak goes against Clemson’s success in odd numbered seasons in recent years. Clemson has been to a bowl game or won at least nine games in every odd numbered season since 1977. Obviously, Clemson could keep this streak alive by going to a bowl this year, a goal that is still alive.
This odd success rate is even more prevalent in the last eight years. Over the last four odd numbered seasons, Clemson is 33-14-1, a 70 percent winning percentage. Clemson has been to a bowl game each year. Over the last four even numbered years, Clemson is just 20-25, a 44.4 percent winning percentage. Clemson has been to a bowl game just one of the last four even numbered seasons.
Streeter Leads Clemson Comeback Many Clemson fans were surprised that Brandon Streeter came off the bench to lead the Tigers to victory at Wake Forest last Saturday. Streeter had suffered a broken collarbone against North Carolina on October 2 and many felt he was out for the rest of the regular season. But a dilligent rehabilitation schedule by Streeter and Clemson’s athletic training staff, and a lot of prayers from Streeter’s mother Barbara, allowed Streeter to return for the eighth game of the season.
Still, Streeter did not think he would play against the Demon Deacons, and told his mother to stay home and save some mileage on her auto. Brandon’s father is the head coach at Gettysburg College and Pennsylvania and obviously misses most of Brandon’s games.
Mrs. Streeter watched in amazement via satellite from Pennsyvlania as her son came off the bench in the fourth quarter and guided the Tiger offense to 10 points in two fourth quarter clutch possessions. He even scored the clinching touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak with just 1:18 left, giving Clemson a 12-3 lead.
Streeter hit on 3-7 passes for 72 yards and led Clemson to 106 yards of total offense in his 11 minutes of play. Clemson trailed 3-2 entering the fourth period before winning, 12-3. It marked the first time since 1996 against Georgia Tech that Clemson trailed entering the fourth quarter, then won the contest. It was the first time since 1997 at NC State that Clemson trailed at any time in the fourth quarter, then came back to gain victory.
Streeter has now completed 85 of 127 passes this season for 874 yards and two scores. His 67 percent completion percentage is on a record pace. In fact, he is significantly ahead of the record of 62.1 by Nealon Greene in 1997. The completion percentage record is based on number of attempts, which Streeter has already reached. He is not listed in the ACC or national stats because he has not played enough games (must play 75 percent). Unfortunately, Streeter will never reach 75 percent of his team’s games and won’t make any ACC or NCAA rankings this year.
Both Quarterbacks Productive in 1999 There will be a lot of talk this week as to whom will be the starting quarterback for Clemson against Duke. A look to the statistics tells us that it really doesn’t matter. Brandon Streeter and Woodrow Dantzler have been effective in that role this year, in fact their stats are very similar. Streeter has a 67 percent completion percentage to 57 percent by Dantzler, but Dantler averages 70 yards rushing a game to just 7 yards per game by Streeter.
Other than that, as you can see by the chart below, there isn’t much of a difference. As a duo, they average 20.8 completions per game, have aveaged 238 passing yards and completed 62 percent of their passes.
Dantzler on Record Total Offense Pace Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is on a record pace in terms of total offense this year. He has averaged 241 yards per game in terms of total offense so far this season and that is ahead of the 213 yards per game by Nealon Greene in 1997.
Dantzler began the year as the backup quarterback and did not even play against Virginia and Virginia Tech. He came off the bench for an injured Brandon Streeter and recorded 213 yards of total offense in just three quarters, leading Clemson to a 31-20 victory against North Carolina.
The sophomore from Orangeburg, SC has been Clemson’s starting quarterback each of the last four weeks and gained 1162 yards of total offense out of Clemson’s team total of 1569. That is 74 percent of Clemson’s offense from Dantzler and he has averaged 290.5 yards per game in that area as a starter. Even though Streeter played the fourth quarter at Wake Forest, Dantzler still had 252 yards of total offense in the first three periods.
Dantzler has been effective as a runner and passer. For the season he has 419 yards rushing, most by a Clemson quarterback in a season since DeChane Cameron gained 458 in 1991. Dantzler has a chance to become the first Clemson quarterback to gain 500 yards rushing in a season since 1978 when Steve Fuller gained 649. Only four times in history have a Clemson quarterback rushed for 500 yards in a season. Fuller did it twice. Dantlzer rushed for 183 yards on the ground against Maryland, an all-time Clemson record for a quarterback.
Now that Dantzler has played in 75 percent of Clemson’s games (6 of 8), he appears in the national statistics. He is 29th i nthe nation in total offense and 50th in passing efficiency. On the ACC level, Dantzler is sixth in the league in rushing, fourth in passing efficiency and third in total offense.
Dantzler Dazzling against Maryland Woodrow Dantzler had the game of his life, and the game of any Clemson quarterbacks life at Maryland on October 16. The sophomore from Orangeburg, SC gained 435 yards of total offense in that game, breaking one of the oldest records in the Clemson media guide. The previous single game total offense best was 374 yards by Bobby Gage against Auburn in 1947. That was a 52-year-old mark.
Dantzler completed 16 of 23 passes for 252 yards and no interceptions or touchdowns. What was even more impressive was his running ability. Dantzler gained 183 yards rushing in 22 attempts, shattering Louis Solomon’s Clemson record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback. Solomon had 159 against Wake Forest in 1994 for the previous record.
Dantzler gained 213 yards of total offense, 131 passing and 82 on the ground against North Carolina in a relief effort when Brandon Streeter broke his collarbone. In three quarters he took the Tigers to 31 points against the Tar Heels. His performance included a 49-yard scoring pass to Rod Gardner and a 56-yard touchdown run. His total offense was the highest total by a Clemson player in relief since Dexter McCleon gained 229 as a reserve quarterback against Virginia in 1993.
A look to the single game total offense record gives credibility to this offense. Two different Clemson quarterbacks have recorded two of the top three total offense games in Clemson history this year. Brandon Streeter had 366 yards of total offense against Virginia this year, then the second highest in Clemson history.
Clemson Highest Individual Total Offense Games
Receiving Trio on Verge of Records Clemson’s receiving corps had smiles on their faces last December when Tommy Bowden was named head coach. They were well aware of the production Tulane’s receivers reached under Bowden in 1998.
While Clemson’s offensive numbers aren’t quite what the Green Wave had in their undefeated 1998 season, the Clemson wide receivers are at a school record pace. Rod Gardner, Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer are Clemson’s top three receivers and have combined for 125 catches so far this season for 1517 yards. The record for total receptions by the top three receivers in a season is 126, set by Tony Horne, Wofford and Lawyer in 1997. So, just two more receptions by those three receivers will break that record on Saturday. The receiving yardage record for three receivers could also go by the boards. The threesome needs just 163 yards to break the record of 1679 by Horne, Lawyer and Wofford in 1997.
Gardner has 55 catches so far this season, 14th best in the nation. Wofford, who tied his career high with nine catches at Wake Forest, now has 43 for the season and ranks 41st in the country. This is already the first time in Clemson history two players on the same team have at last 40 catches in the same season. Gardner and Wofford have tied the record for catches in a season by two receivers. Horne and Wofford (or Lawyer) combined for 98 in 1997.
Polite Provides Big Plays One of the most improved players on the Clemson defense this year has been cornerback Dextra Polite. The senior from Moultrie,GA has 11 passes broken up to lead the team, including three in consecutive games against Maryland and Florida State.
Polite provided two of the biggest defensive plays of the season in the win at Wake Forest. First, he made a solo tackle on top Wake Forest rusher Morgan Kane at the one-yard line that prevented a touchdown on a second-and-goal play. Clemson ended up limiting Wake Forest to a field goal, thus that was a four-point tackle.
Then, after Clemson had taken a 5-3 lead, Polite made a one-handed interception at midfield and returned it 27 yards. Clemson converted the turnover into a touchdownd that salted the game away.
Polite now has four interceptions for the season, best on the team and 20th best in the nation. He was outstanding against Florida State, recording three passes broken up and an interception. He was in charge of defending Peter Warrick most of the night. Although Warrick caught 11 passes, he averaged only 11 yards a catch and never had a gain over 19 yards. For the year, Polite has 37 tackles, 11 passes broken up and three interceptions.
Final Game for Clemson seniors Saturday will be the final home game for Clemson’s 13 seniors. This is the smallest senior class at Clemson since the 1985 season when the Tigers had just 11. Of the 13 seniors listed below, just eight are on scholarship. This list includes Terry Witherspoon, who could return to Clemson for the 2000 season if he graduates this summer.
This year’s senior class features Brandon Streeter, who has established six Clemson passing records in his career. Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer are both ranked in the top 10 in Clemson history in receptions, while DoMarco Fox has been a starting defender for three years and has been among the team’s top five tacklers three years in a row.
As a team, this class has helped Clemson to two bowl games and a win today could go a long way towards making it three bowl games in four seasons. Another highlight was a 6-2 ACC record and second place finish in 1996, Peach Bowl appearances in 1996 and 1997, and this year’s home victory over 19th ranked Virginia.
Clemson Senior Class
Clemson-Duke Series Notes Clemson has won 15of the last 18 meetings with Duke, but the Blue Devils were victorious last year in Durham, 28-23. Duke has not beaten Clemson in consecutive seasons since 1969-70. The last time Duke won at Clemson was 1980 when current Blue Devil Head Coach Carl Franks was a sophomore on that team. Clemson has won nine in a row in the series at Clemson.
The last time the two teams played at Clemson, the Tigers were victorious, 29-20 in overtime, the only overtime game in Clemson history. Rahim Abdullah ended that game with a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown, thus the unusual score for and overtime game.
Clemson won in 1995 at Clemson by a 34-17 score in a game that was played in a downpour in the first half and in brilliant sunshine in the second half. Raymond Priester set a Clemson rushing record with 263 yards in 32 carries to lead the Clemson offense and Brian Dawkins, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, had three interceptions in the first quarter to set a Clemson record.
Clemson holds a 27-15-1 lead in the series, including a 14-4-1 advantage in Death Valley. The Tigers are 11-11 at Duke dating back to 1934, when Duke was victorious, 20-6. Duke’s last win at Clemson took place in 1980, a 34-17 victory led by Ben Bennett, then a freshman quarterback for the Blue Devils.
The Tigers have been outstanding defensively against Duke in recent years. Duke has scored over 20 points against Clemson just twice in the last nine years. Their three wins against Clemson since 1980 were in 1994, in 1989 (21-17 at Duke) and 28-23 last year at Duke.
Last Year vs. Duke Duke 28, Clemson 23 at Durham, NC Clemson rallied with 245 yards and 20 points in the second half to come back from a 21-3 halftime deficit, only to come up short 28-23 to Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium. The loss ended Clemson’s hopes at going to a bowl game in 1998. The Tigers outgained the Blue Devils 362 to 268 and had 19 first downs to Duke’s 13, but the Blue Devils had three long scoring drives that accounted for nearly all of their total offense.
Clemson was led on the ground by freshman Travis Zachery. He had his third straight game of at least 5.7 yards per carry as he rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries, including a 39-yard touchdown run. He also totaled 142 all-purpose yards, a team high in ’98. Brian Wofford had a career high seven receptions and became the first current Tiger to reach the 100-yard single-game receiving mark with 101 yards.
Freshman B.J. Hill led the Duke ground attack with 86 yards on 18 carries and one of Duke’s four rushing touchdowns. Wide-out Scottie Montgomery also caught seven passes for 102 yards to help Duke defeat Clemson for the first time since 1994.
The Blue Devils took their opening drive 79 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead. The scoring play came when running back Letavious Wilks dropped Bobby Campbell’s handoff. The ball rolled into the endzone, where it eluded the arms of several Tiger defenders. Campbell eventually pounced on the loose ball.
The Tigers responded on their next possession with a 10-play, 72-yard drive capped by David Richardson’s 25-yard field goal. Brandon Streeter, who was 19-40 for 231 yards, connected with Wofford for 43 yards on a post pattern to set up the score.
Duke tacked on another six in the second quarter, this time marching 75 yards in nine plays. Montgomery’s 33-yard catch set up Wilk’s 3-yard plunge on fourth down.
Kenan Holley, who had two interceptions on the day, set up Duke’s next touchdown when he stepped in front of Streeter’s rollout pass and took the pigskin to the five-yard line. Two plays later, Wilks carried in from a yard out to put the Blue Devils up 21-3.
The Tigers came out in the second half rejuvenated. On its opening drive, Zachery broke tackles on his way to a 39-yard touchdown to cut into the Duke lead.
Two possessions later, Clemson drove 68 yards in nine plays to cut the lead to 21-17 with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter. Streeter floated a pass to Mal Lawyer in the corner of the endzone. Lawyer leaped and took the 50/50 ball away from the defender and barely came down in the field of play.
The Blue Devils responded on their next drive. They went 80 yards in nine plays for the eventual winning score. A 31-yard Campbell to Mike Hart hookup set up Hill’s eight-yard scoring run.
Things looked even more bleak when Duke downed a punt on Clemson’s one-yard line. But behind the arm of Streeter, Clemson marched the length of the field and scored on Marcus Martin’s 25-yard catch. Streeter was 6-6 for 66 yards on the drive.
The Tiger defense held Duke on its next drive, but Streeter overthrew Martin into Holley’s waiting arms on Clemson’s last drive to end any chance of a comeback.
Duke’s Last Trip to Death Valley, 1997 Clemson 29, Duke 20 (OT) Rahim Abdullah intercepted a desperation pass from Duke quarterback Bobby Campbell and sprinted 63 yards for a TD to seal a 29-20 Clemson victory in the first overtime game between two ACC teams in conference history. The touchdown was the third of the redshirt sophomore’s career and capped a stellar day for the Jacksonville, FL native. In addition to the touchdown, Abdullah racked up a career high 11 tackles, one sack, and added a crucial stop on a fake punt by the Devils.
Playing without the school’s all-time leading rusher, Clemson’s offense turned to the air attack. Nealon Greene found Tony Horne for a 46-yard completion on the second play of a second-period possession , setting the Tigers up with a first-and-goal at the Duke 9. Greene finished with 12 completions in 21 attempts for 273 yards. The Devil defense held on the goal-line, and the Tigers were forced to call on Richardson for another 19-yard boot. The kick was good and tied the score at 6-6 with 12:41 remaining in the second quarter.
On the following possession, Greene hit Brian Wofford streaking up the right sideline for 49 yards and the game’s first TD. Wofford hauled in three catches for 95 yards on the day.
With the Tigers now leading 13-6, the teams punted back-and-forth until Duke’s defense struck it big. Outside linebacker Kevin Lewis came around the left end untouched on a blitz to blind-side Greene at the Clemson five yard-line and knock the ball free. Safety Darius Clark picked up the free ball and carried it in for a touchdown.
The score remained tied until Lay Marshall bolted 17 yards up the middle for a Duke touchdown and 20-13 lead with 14:46 to go in the game. A Clemson fumble at the Blue Devil 11 cost the Tigers an excellent scoring opportunity in the final period.
Clemson would not be denied on its next drive, however. After an incompletion on the first play, Greene reeled off three straight completions, including a middle screen that Horne took 34 yards for the game-tying score. Lenhardt missed a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right with 2:23 to go, forcing the game to overtime.
The Tigers lost the coin toss and were forced to take the ball first in overtime. Richardson nailed a 36-yard field goal after the offense moved only six yards, forcing the Devils to at least kick a field goal for the game to continue. On Duke’s first play, flanker Scottie Montgomery looked to throw off a reverse when Abdullah made his first big play of overtime, a nine-yard sack. Campbell threw an incompletion on second down, setting up the game-ending play. Lorenzo Bromell chased and wrapped-up Campbell, who then tried to throw to a back in the flats. Abdullah stepped in front and went untouched for six to provide the final score of 29-20.
Anthony Simmons again led the defense with 18 tackles, including three-for-loss and two sacks. Mond Wilson also had three tackles-for-loss, and 15 total stops.
Bowl Teams Honored Saturday Three of Clemson’s greatest teams ever will be honored Saturday at Death Valley. Clemson’s bowl teams of 1959, 1979 and 1989 will be introduced today and will run down the hill one more time. The 1959 team ranked in the final top 11, winning the ACC and concluding the season with a 23-7 win over seventh ranked TCU.
The 1979 and 1989 were both coached by Danny Ford. In fact, the 1979 team was his first full season as Clemson head coach, and the 1989 season was his last. Both teams went to bowl games and both were quarterbacked by efficiency players who wore number-eight. Billy Lott guided Clemson to wins over Georgia, North Carolina and Notre Dame that year.
Chris Morocco quarterbacked the 1989 team to a 10-2 record and a Gator Bowl win over West Virginia. He was also 8-9 passing in a 34-23 win at Florida State. Ford defeated Hall of Fame Coaches Dan Devine, Vince Dooley, Bobby Bowden and George Welsh between those two seasons.
Clemson First in ACC, 16th in Nation in Pass Defense One of the most improved areas of the Clemson football team this year is the secondary. Clemson ranks first in the ACC and 16th in the nation this week in pass efficiency defense. So far this year, Clemson has 13 interceptions. The Tigers had just seven interceptions all of last year.
Five of the last six Clemson opponents have failed to complete over 50 percent of its passes. The only team to exceed 50 percent is Wake Forest and the Deacons threw for just 128 yards and were intercepted twice by the Tigers.
Clemson has played some pretty strong quarterbacks this year. Both Chad Pennington of Marshall and Chris Weinke of Florida State are ranked in the top 20 in the nation in passing. In fact, after playing Clemson, Weinke dropped from sixth in the nation to 18th in passing efficiency. He was 24-49 against Clemson with no touchdowns and one interception.
The pass defense was especially effective in back to back games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Agile quarterbacks Michael Vick of Virginia Tech and Ronald Curry of North Carolina were a combined 19-46 for 250 yards, no touchdowns and seven interceptions. That is a completion percentage of just 41 percent and just 5.34 yards per attempt. The secondary will be the first to applaud the front seven for their pressure, as the two opposing quarterbacks were sacked 10 times in those two games.
Clemson was sixth in the ACC and 56th in the nation in pass efficiency defense last year. Clemson gave up 15 touchdown passes and intercepted just seven all year. Clemson has given up just five touchdown passes this year, fewest in the ACC and one of the top figures in the nation.
Clemson Leads ACC in Sacks C lemson led the ACC in sacks last year with 37 and the Tigers hold the same standing in the league so far this year. It is not a team with a prime pass rusher, like Virginia Tech has in Corey Moore. It is a balanced attack for the Tiger defense. Clemson has 29 sacks in eight games and 13 different players have been involved in the sacks. Keith Adams leads the way with 7-53.
Clemson had seven sacks against North Carolina and nimble quarterback Ronald Curry. That was the most sacks by the Tigers in a single game since Trevor Pryce and the Tigers had eight in a victory over Maryland in 1996. Clemson averaged 3.4 sacks a game last year in leading the ACC. Clemson averages 3.7 sacks per game so far this year. The Clemson record for a season is 46, set in 1992 and 1996.
Death Valley Attendance Record Set vs. Florida State Clemson set an all-time attendance record for fans and media on October 23 when Florida State came to town. The Bowden vs. Bowden game attracted 86,200 fans according to ticket manager Van Hilderbrand. That broke the record of 85,872 set against South Carolina in 1994.
Clemson has averaged 78,511 for its four home games so far this season. That is up from an average of 68,312 of last year. If Clemson can average at least 75,000 for the season it would be the highest average figure for a season since 1992 when Clemson had a 76,789 average. Clemson drew 79,186 for the opener against Marshall, the third largest opening day crowd in Clemson history. The North Carolina game drew 81,737 and the Virginia game drew 66,922.
Clemson needs to draw just 61,000 to average 75,000 for the season. A crowd of 70,000 is expected and that would give Clemson an average of 76,808 for the season, the highest average since the 1990 season and the sixth highest average in Clemson history.
Three Tiger Tacklers Averaging in Double Figures Three players have led Clemson in tackles all year and all three average nearly a dozen stops per game. No team in Clemson history has finished the year with three players averaging at least 12 tackles per game. Keith Adams (15.0), Chad Carson (11.9), and Robert Carswell (11.8) are all averaging in double figures this year. All three rank among the top five tacklers in the ACC.
All three were in double figures at Wake Forest when Clemson had one of its best defensive performances of the season. Carson had a career high 16 tackles, while Adams had 13. Carswell had 10 stops from his safety position. Carswell has 94 tackles for the year and needs just nine against Duke to reach his total for all of last year.
Adams Joining Linebacker Tradition Clemson has a strong tradition of excellence at the linebacker position. The Tigers have seven former linebackers on NFL rosters this year, including Pro Bowl players Ed McDaniel (Minnesota) and Levon Kirkland (Pittsburgh) and 1997 first round draft choice Anthony Simmons (Seattle). Clemson also has had first round draft choice Wayne Simmons (1992 by Green Bay) in the 1990s and all-time great Jeff Davis, the captain of the National Championship team.
Current linebacker Keith Adams, only a sophomore, is striving to enhance that linebacker reputation by his play so far this season. He is on a pace to have the finest season in Clemson history for a linebacker, never mind just a sophomore. Through eight games, Adams has 120 tackles, an average of 15 per game, best in the ACC. That is head of the sophomore season posted by Anthony Simmons when Simmons was a first-team All-American. Adams also has 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks already this year. The Clemson record for tackles for loss in a season is 27 by William Perry (1984) and Rob Bodine (1991). The sack record is 10.5 by Adrian Dingle, set last season.
Adams needs five tackles for loss to tie Anthony Simmons single season record for tackles for loss by a Clemson linebacker. Simmons did that in 1997.
Comparison of Sophomore Seasons
Clemson Near Record Pace Offensively In terms of passing yardage, Clemson is far ahead of the school record pace. Clemson’s 1997 team holds the record with 191.6 yards per game. So far this season, Clemson has averaged 243.5 yards per game through the air. This Clemson team averages 21.4 completions per game, ahead of the season record of 15.7 completions per game in 1997. This year’s 62.2 percent completion percentage is also ahead of the 60.5 mark set by the 1997 Tiger team.
Gardner 14th in Nation in Receiving One of the greatest examples of Clemson’s improvement in the passing games is the existence of three Tigers ranked among the top 10 receivers in the ACC. Rod Gardner (2), Brian Wofford (5) and Mal Lawyer (10) are all in the top 10. Clemson has never had three of the top 10 receivers in the league.
Gardner is ranked 14th in receptions per game with a 6.9 figure and he is 29th in reception yardage per game with 88.0. Gardner is trying to become just the sixth Clemson player in history to rank in the final top 25 in the nation in receptions.
Gardner now has 55 receptions for the season and is just the sixth player in Clemson history to reach 50 catches for a season, the first since Tony Horne caught 70 in 1997. He needs just four catches against Duke to move into second place for the greatest receiving season in school history. His 6.9 catches per game is at a record pace.
Top Clemson Single Season Reception Totals
Top Receptions/Game Figures
Here is a list of Clemson players who have ranked in the final top 25 in the nation in receiving:
*Receivers ranked on total receptions
Gardner Tied Record vs. Marshall Clemson wide receiver Rod Gardner tied one all-time Clemson record and set two others in the season opener against Marshall. The junior from Jacksonville, FL caught 11 passes for 111 yards. That is a lot of ones for his night’s work, and that effort has led to his number-one ranking among the receivers in the ACC. He has had at least six catches in every game this year.
Gardner’s opening day performance tied the Clemson single game mark held by Phil Rogers, who had 11 receptions at North Carolina in 1965. Gardner’s performance was the most ever for a Tiger in Death Valley (58 years) and the most ever by a Clemson player in the opening game of the season.
Six times a Clemson player has had 10 catches in a game. Tony Horne did it twice in his 70-reception season of 1997, while Perry Tuttle had a pair of 10-catch games, one in 1980 and one in 1981. Hank Walker was the first Clemson receiver to have a double-digit reception game, as he had 10 against Auburn in 1947. Charlie Waters, more famous for his exploits as an NFL defensive back, had 10 catches against Alabama in 1969.
Clemson Single Game Reception Bests
Defense Outstanding vs. Florida State Although Clemson suffered a loss to Florida State on October 23rd, it might have been the best performance of the year by the Clemson defense. When you take into account what Florida State averages per game and what they produced against the Tigers, it was the top game of the year for Clemson’s point prevention unit.
Florida State had just 17 points, one touchdown and just 3.9 yards per play against Clemson. Bobby Bowden’s team came into the game averaging 40 points, 4.7 touchdowns and six yards per play. The Tigers were also outstanding on special teams, holding the Seminoles to 6.5 yards per punt return.
Clemson’s defense continued its fine place at Wake Forest, holding the Deacons to just 128 yards passing and 239 yards of total offense. Wake Forest did not score a touchdown and scored just three total points. The Deacs had just 13 first downs and had three turnovers and three sacks against them.
Here is a chart that documents Clemson’s defensive performance against the Seminoles:
Romano Makes Contribution Clemson punter Ryan Romano is quietly having a consistent and effective season. He might have had his best all-around game a against Florida State when he had eight punts for a 42.3 average. He averaged 46.2 yards a punt at Wake Forest and now has three straight games of at least 42 yards a boot.
He had a career long 60-yarder againstFlorida State, and two punts inside the 20. Even more impressive is that he held Florida State, one of the most dangerous return teams in the nation, featuring All-American Peter Warrick. Warrick had just 2-10 in punt returns and FSU had just 4-26, meaning Romano had a 39-yard net punting figure for the evening.
Romano showed his all-around football abilities in the Florida State game when he completed a 23-yard pass on a fake punt to Braxton K. Williams, a play on fourth down that led to a Clemson touchdown.
Romano comes from an athletic family. His older brother Eric was a walk-on tight end at Florida State i nthe 1980s. Older brother Todd was a kicker for Iowa between 1991-95 and his brother Chad was a punter at Kansas State between 1992-96. His father was also a running back at Florida State.
Romano, who is studying to be a doctor and has been on the ACC Academic Honor roll each of his first three years at Clemson, has averaged 39.6 yards a boot this year and has a net figure of 36.8. He has 11 punts inside the 20 and 6 over 50. He has just two touchbacks against those 11 punts inside the 20.
Non-Quarterbacks 5-5 Passing Ryan Romano is one of three non-quarterbacks to attempt a pass this year. Five times on trick plays this year Coach Tommy Bowden has called some type of a pass from a kicker, holder or a receiver and they have worked for completions all four times. Rod Gardner is 2-2, Tony Lazzara is 1-1 for a nine-yard touchdown, Tucker Hamrick is 1-1 Romano is 1-1. The non-quarterbacks are now 5-5 for 47 yards and a touchdown. That computes to a 281.2 efficiency rating.
Witherspoon Ranked Second Among Fullbacks Clemson fullback Terry Witherspoon is ranked as the number-two senior fullback in the country available for the NFL draft according to the Sporting News. Witherspoon is ranked second behind Sammy Morris of Texas Tech and just ahead of Deon Dyer of North Carolina. Witherspoon has 14 rushes for 39 yards and one touchdown this season.
Witherspoon’s status for the draft will not be known until the summer. As a partial qualifier out of high school, he could come back to Clemson for another season of eligibility if he graduates this summer. He is on track to do that and could take that option.
Clemson Starts a Young Team Clemson starts one of the youngest teams in the nation. The Tigers start just three seniors on defense, Damonte McKenzie (DT), DoMarco Fox (SS) and Dextra Polite (CB). On offense, the only seniors are wide receivers Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer. Thus, Clemson should have 17 starters back next year, nine on offense and eight on defense. This is the fewest seniors starting over the course of a season since 1994 when Clemson started just one senior on offense and four on defense.
Preparing for the Tiger Offense After Clemson gained 542 yards of total offense against Maryland, a team that entered the game leading the ACC in scoring defense and total defense, Terps coach Ron Vanderlinden said it was difficult to prepare for Clemson’s no-huddle attack because it is difficult to simulate. “There is no way your scout team can similate that offense in practice.”
Opponent preparation has a lot to do with the outcome of Clemson games so far this year. Clemson is 4-1 against the teams that have had just one week to prepare for the Tigers and 0-3 against the teams that have had more than a week to prepare. Marshall had the entire summer to get ready for the Tigers, while Virginia Tech had 12 days and NC State had two weeks. Florida State is the only team to beat Clemson after a normal week of preparation, but the Seminoles run the same type of no-huddle as Clemson, thus they could simulate Clemson in practice.
Three Tigers Averaging over 90 All-purpose Yards When it comes to all-purpose running, three Tigers lead the way. Brian Wofford (96.8), Rod Gardner (88.1) and Travis Zachery (92.4) are all close to averaging the 100 yards per game in that area. Zachery is the team’s leading rusher and fourth leading receiver, while Wofford and Gardner get most of their yards through the air. Woodrow Dantzler averages 70 yards a game thanks to 419 total rushing and 15 on receptions. The all-around quarterback has actually caught two passes this season.
Sign of the Times In the Florida State game on October 23, Clemson had just two players rush the ball (Travis Zachery and Woodrow Dantzler), but three different players completed passes.
Adams Tied McGlockton’s Sack Record Inside linebacker Keith Adams has been a terror on defense so far. Nicknamed “The Termite” by Clemson defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Reggie Herring, Adams had five tackles for loss in the victory over North Carolina on October 2. Adams had two sacks and three other minus yardage plays, tying the record for a single game held by Michael Dean Perry against NC State in 1987 and by Steve Durham against Maryland in 1979.
It was an outstanding game by Adams, but outstanding has been the norm for the sophomore from College Park, GA. He now has 120 tackles this year to lead the team and the ACC, including 12 in the victory at Maryland. He had a streak of four straight games with at least 16 tackles broken in that game, but he still was at least tied for Clemson honors in terms of tackles. He had a career high 19 tackles in the narrow loss to Florida State.
Adams had at least one sack in each of the first five games this year, tying Chester McGlockton’s record for consecutive games with a sack. McGlockton did it in 1989-90. Adams did not have a sack at Maryland, but he did have a tackle for loss and now has 18 for the year, best in the ACC.
Adams was honored by the league as ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times this year, the Virginia, North Carolina and Florida State contests.
Clemson Offense Gained 542 Yards at Maryland Clemson’s offense exploded for 542 yards of total offense in the 42-30 victory over Maryland on October 16. It was a balanced attack, as Clemson gained 290 yards rushing and 252 yards passing, the second time this year Clemson has had at least 200 yards or each in a game. The rushing total of 290 yards was the most by a Clemson team since the Tigers gained 291 against NC State in 1996.
The 542 yards of total offense was also a landmark total, as it was the most by a Clemson team in seven years. The last time Clemson reached 500 yards in total offense was against UT Chattanooga in 1992, a 606-yard effort by Ken Hatfield’s Tigers against the Southern Conference foe. It was Clemson’s first 500-yard total offense game in an ACC game since 1991 when Clemson had 511 in a tie against Virginia. The 542 at Maryland last Saturday was also the most by the Tigers in an ACC game since 1984 in a win over Duke when the Tigers had 547.
The 542 yards at Maryland also ranked as the fourth highest total in history in a road game. Clemson had 615 at Georgia Tech in 1903 (all rushing), and had 563 in a 1981 win at Duke. Clemson had 550 at Wake Forest in 1978, but that is it for the other top total offense games on the road.
The second quarter was an offensive explosion for the Tigers. Clemson gained an incredible 245 yards total offense in that period and had 495 yards heading into the fourth quarter.
Clemson Records Set in 1999 In just four games so far this year, many Clemson single game or miscellaneous records have been set this year:Single Game Passing Yardage: 343 by Brandon Streeter vs. VirginiaSinge Game Total Offense: 435 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. Maryland Single Game Rushing by quarterback: 183 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. MarylandSingle Game Completions: *27 by Brandon Streeter vs. Virginia Tech Single Season Completion %: .670 by Brandon Streeter, 1999 Single Game Receptions: *11 by Rod Gardner vs. MarshallMost Completions 3 Consecutive Games: 74 by Brandon StreeterMost Tackles for Loss, single game: *5 by Keith Adams vs. North CarolinaMost Consecutive Games with a Sack: *5 by Keith Adams Most Team First downs by Passing, *19 vs. Virginia*Denotes tied record
Clemson Unbeaten when over 200 Rushing and Passing Clemson had 236 yards rushing and 208 yards passing in the victory over North Carolina on October 2. It was the first time since the season opener against Furman in 1998 that Clemson had at least 200 yards of both.
The Tigers trumped that balancing act at Maryland with 290 yards rushing and 252 yards passing in the 42-30 win over the Terps. Having at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game is an indicator for success for the Clemson offense. The Tigers are now 28-0-1 in their history (10-0 in the decade of the 1990s when having at least 200 yards of each.
The only time in history Clemson failed to gain victory when recording at least 200 yards rushing and passing took place in 1976 when the Tigers had 248 yards rushing and 234 yards passing in a 24-24 tie with Georgia Tech. The closest Clemson has come to a defeat in this situation took place in 1953 when Clemson lost to Auburn, 45-19. Despite the large margin of defeat, Clemson had 258 yards passing and 198 yards rushing.
Achieving this balance was a hallmark of Tommy Bowden’s teams at Tulane. In fact, last year Tulane averaged 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, the only school in the nation to do it. In his two years and 22 games as head coach at Tulane, Tommy Bowden’s Green Wave teams had at least 200 yards of each in nine games, and they were 9-0 in those games.
Fans think of Clemson as a passing team, now with this new Indy 500 Offense under Bowden and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. In the 42-30 win over Maryland, Clemson ran the ball 56 times and threw it just 23 times. Clemson’s 290 yards rushing were its high total since gaining 291 on the ground against NC State in 1996. Clemson scored six rushing touchdwons in the game, its high mark since scoring six rushing against Long Beach State in 1990.
Young, Smith Lead Young Offensive Line Clemson’s young and light offensive line made large improvement against Maryland. That was obvious by the offensive production. The Tigers gained 542 yards total offense, its high total in seven years. Akil Smith was Clemson’s top offensive lineman in the win over Maryland. He graded 85 percent for his 81 plays of action and had a season high 11 knockdown blocks.
Kyle Young is just a sophomore, but is the most experienced of the linemen. The native of Clemson is the brother of former Clemson All-ACC guard Will Young and the grandson of former Tiger Ed McClendon. Young graded 85 percent for his 66 snaps against North Carolina and had seven knockdown blocks. He missed the last 12 snaps of the game with a sprained ankle.
Clemson’s offensive line averages 261 pounds per man, but they are in good physical condition. Many of the starters have gone the distance this season. Young has six complete games and has missed just 13 snaps all year. John McDermott, starting tackle, actually has gone the distance in all eight games so far this season, the only Tiger on the entire team who can make that claim. Akil Smith has six complete games.
Guard Theo Mougros has gone the route in seven of the eight games. T.J. Watkins, who starts at guard after playing tackle the first three games this year and tight end last year, has played every snap in one game and missed just one snap in another. Will Merritt, who could return to action this week after suffering a broken collarbone on September 17. All five starters on the offensive line are underclassmen, three are sophomores (Young, Smith and Watkins).
Zachery Leading Rusher While Travis Zachery will be the first to credit the improved blocking of Clemson’s light, but quick offensive line, the sophomore from Georgia has done his part. Against NC State and Maryland, Zachery had five touchdowns, two at NC State and three at Maryland. He now has seven for the year, more than the four touchdowns he had last year when he led all Clemson running backs in that area.
Zachery now averages 70.7 yards per game on the round in his seven games. He had 24 carries for 95 yards at Maryland. For the season Zachery has 15 catches for 145 yards. When he scored three touchdowns at Maryland he became the first Clemson running back to score three rushing touchdowns in a game since 1995 when Emory Smith rushed for four scores at Wake Forest. He is Clemson’s leading rusher with 495 yards.
Clemson Football Graduation Rate Cited by AFCA The Clemson football program cited this past summer by the American Football Coaches Association for a graduation rate of over 70 percent. For the class entering in the fall of 1993, Clemson had a 75 percent graduation rate. The national average was 56 percent.
“We congratulate our student-athletes first,” said Athletic Director Bobby Robinson. “We also feel this is a testimony to the efforts of our coaches and Bill D’Andrea’s staff at the Department of Student-Athlete Enrichment Programs.
“We have seen consistent improvement in the academic performance of our football program and all of our athletic teams in recent years since we built Vickery Hall in 1991. We are pleased with these results and our inclusion on this prestigious list.”
Clemson’s program is in good shape to earn future citations from the AFCA. Fourteen of the 18 seniors (78 percent) on Clemson’s 1998 team will have their degrees by August 7. The only four seniors on the 1998 team who have not yet earned their degrees are currently members of NFL teams.
This past spring the Clemson football team had a team GPA of 2.38, its highest on record for a semester, and 24 members of the squad were on the academic honor roll. Thirteen members of the team had a GPA over 3.00 for the year and will be named to the ACC Academic Honor roll in July. That list includes starting center Kyle Young who had a perfect 4.0 for the year. Quarterback Brandon Streeter, who already has his undergraduate degree, is also on that list.
Clemson is one of five ACC schools to make the list of honored schools. The other ACC schools with a graduation rate of at least 70 percent were Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina. Duke was honored as the national champion with a 100 percent rate for the class that entered in 1993. It is the 12th time in the 19 year history of the award that an ACC school has had the highest graduation rate. The ACC had 55 percent of its conference members on the list, the highest percentage in the nation.
Other schools on the list who had a graduation rate of 70 percent or better are Ball State, Baylor, Boston College, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Marshall, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio, Penn State, Rice, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
Carswell Named to Good Works Team On September 21, Robert Carswell was to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team for 1999. The team honors those student-athletes who show exceptional dedication to community service and to the betterment of the communities in which they live.
Carswell, a native of Lithonia, GA was one of just 11 Division I-A players selected to the team. He is the first Clemson player chosen for the team in its eight-year history. Carswell is one of the leaders of Leadership in Football and Education (LIFE), a group of Clemson football players who mentor and spend recreational time with underprivileged children. He is also a frequent speaker at local churches and elementary schools.
The Stone Mountain High School (GA) product is also an active member of the Clemson Athletes Outreach Program. Last year he received an Atlantic Coast Conference Top Six Award, an honor given to six student-athletes at each ACC school for helping others and volunteering time in the community.
The other 10 Division I-A players chosen to the AFCA Good Works Team were Dan Alexander (Nebraska), Corey Atkins (South Carolina), Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State), Casey Crawford (Virginia), Haven Fields (Auburn), Curtis Fuller (TCU), Seth Hanson (Kentucky), Grant Irons (Notre Dame), Bill Marsau (Iowa State), and Dulymus McAlister (Mississippi).
Carswell, who ranked ninth in the nation in total tackles by defensive backs last year, now has 249 tackles for his career and is ahead of the pace set by Terry Kinard, who set a school record for tackles by a defensive back when he had 294 between 1978-82. He has 94 tackles for the season, 12 per game. Carswell now has 14 double digit tackle games in his career, including nine in his last 10.
Tigers Not Nocturnal If you see disappointment on the faces of Clemson coaches and administrators when a Tiger game is moved to a night kickoff due to television you might check Clemson’s record in the decade of the 1990s to see why a frown appears. In the decade of the 1990s Clemson has a 27 percent winning percentage in night games and a 66 percent winning mark in day games. Clemson is just 5-14 in night games in the decade and 62-31-1 in day games. Clemson is 67-45-1 overall.
This year has continued that trend. Clemson is 4-0 in day games and 0-4 in night games in 1999.
Offspring of Tiger Coaches 10-0 Three members of the Clemson coaching staff have sons that are starters on the local Daniel High Football team. Daniel is 10-0 so far this year and is the defending state champion. They are ranked number-one in the state in their division. Head Coach Tommy Bowden, assistant head coach Brad Scott and offensive line coach Ron West all have sons starting for the Daniel High team. Coach Bowden’s son Ryan is a defensive lineman, while Brad Scott’s son John is also a starter on the team. Scott has a son, Jeff, who is a wide receiver on the Clemson team. Ron West’s son Brad is a linebacker on the Daniel team.
All three coaches have been able to catch at least part of most of the games so far this year. The family affair included Bobby Bowden and his wife Ann on October 22nd. They joined Tommy Bowden and wife Linda to watch Ryan’s team defeat Traveler’s Rest. Ryan had a sack and a fumble recovery in that game, much to the delight of his father and grandfather.
Bowden Coached at Duke Duke Coordinator Coached at Clemson Clemson head Coach Tommy Bowden is familar with the Duke program. Bowden was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke from 1984-86 under Steve Sloan. Duke defensive coordinator Bob Trott was the defensive coordinator at Clemson in 1990. Trott was on Ken Hatfield’s first staff in 1990. He was the defensive coordinator and the Tigers led the nation in total defense, allowing just 217 yards per game. Clemson also finished second in the nation in rushing and scoring defense. Eight players on that defense are starting today in the NFL, including Levon Kirkland, Chester McGlockton, Ed McDaniel and Wayne Simmons.
Clemson’s Improvement on Offense Significant Clemson has made a significant improvement when it comes to offense this year. A comparison between the first eight games of last year with the first eight games of 1999 proves this point. Clemson’s has improved its touchdown total by 30.4 percent, its passing offense by 41.4 percent, its total offense by 33 percent, its first down total by 65 percent, and its scoring by 41.1 percent.
What is especially interesting is that Clemson has done this with two different quarterbacks, Brandon Streeter, who started the first three games, and Woodrow Dantzler, who has played most of the last three contests. Both quarterbacks have thrived in this offense, as both have had games of at least 350 yards of total offense.
Clemson was especially productive against its first four ACC teams. The Tigers scored at least 30 points in each of its first four ACC games. This Clemson team is just the second Tiger team in history to score at least 30 points in four straight ACC games. The only other Clemson team to do it was the 1978 squad.
Here is a chart of the respective eight-game totals that shows Clemson’s Improvement in the last year:
July 30, 2021
July 29, 2021
July 28, 2021