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Football Versus Georgia Tech Game Notes

Football Versus Georgia Tech Game Notes

Sept. 6, 2004

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Clemson Has Won Five in a Row Clemson has won each of its last five games overall and seven in a row at home dating to the 2003 season. Clemson’s five-game overall winning streak is its longest since the Tigers won the first eight games in 2000. Clemson’s seven-game home winning streak is its longest since the Tigers won seven in a row at Death Valley between 1995-96. Ironically, the opposing head coach who broke that seven game home winning streak was current Clemson Assistant Head Coach Brad Scott, who led South Carolina to a 34-31 win in 1996 that broke the winning streak.

Clemson is still far away from the school record for winning streaks in both categories. Clemson won 15 straight regardless of site between 1947-49, a streak that was ended at Rice in 1949. The home victory streak is 13, set between 1927-31. That streak was established at Riggs Field. The record winning streak in Death Valley is 11 in a row set between 1989-91.

Clemson entered 2004 as one of nine schools with a four-game winning streak. Miami (OH) dropped off the list last week when it lost at Michigan. Boise State is now the national leader as far as the nation’s longest active winning streak with 12. Southern Cal is second with a 10-game streak, followed by LSU (9), UCONN (6), Maryland (6), Utah (6) and Clemson (5).

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.

Clemson-Tech Series Has Been Thrilling ·Georgia Tech has a 43-23-2 lead in the series with Clemson dating to a 23-0 Tiger win in Augusta, GA in 1898, just the 11th game in Clemson football history. In fact, Clemson won the first four games of the series, including games in 1902 and 1903 when John Heisman was at the helm. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta 73-0 in 1903 with Heisman as head coach. ·The series was incredibly close in the 1990s and that trend has continued in the 21st century. Seven of the last eight games have been decided by five points or less. That includes a streak of six straight games decided by exactly three points from 1996-2001. That might be a first in college football history. We aren’t talking by three points or less, but exactly three points. ·Clemson has won the last three games, including last year’s 39-3 Tiger win in Atlanta. That was Clemson’s largest margin of victory in the series since a 73-0 Tiger win in Atlanta in 1903 when Heisman was the Clemson coach. Clemson was victorious last year by a 24-19 score and by a 47-44 score in overtime in Atlanta in 2001. ·If Clemson can gain victory on Saturday, it would give Clemson a four-game winning streak, tying the Clemson record for consecutive victories in the Tech series. Clemson won four in a row from 1993-96 and from 1898 to 1903. ·The Tigers have an 8-4 advantage in games at Clemson, but Georgia Tech leads 39-12-2 in games played in Atlanta. Every game between the two teams in the 1907-74 era was held in Atlanta. Clemson’s only wins in those 36 meetings came in 1907, 1936, 1945 and 1969. The 1969 victory was Frank Howard’s final season as head coach. ·The first time Georgia Tech played in Clemson’s stadium was 1974, a 21-17 Clemson victory. Clemson won that game on a three yard touchdown pass from current Clemson offensive coordinator Mike O’Cain to All-America tight end Bennie Cunningham with 8:26 left. ·Clemson has a 12-9 advantage in the series, regardless of site, since Tech joined the ACC in 1983. Tech actually joined for the 1979-80 academic year, but did not compete for the football championships until 1983. · Since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech games have been high scoring as the average score is 36-28.4 in Clemson’s favor. Clemson has a 3-2 lead in those five games and has outscored the Yellow Jackets 180-142. ·Woodrow Dantzler had one of the best all-around games of his career with 164 yards rushing and 254 yards passing in the victory in 2001. He threw for two scores and ran for two, including a 38-yard “Hail Mary Run” on the last play of the first half to cut Tech’s lead to 19-14 at intermission. His 63-yard scoring pass to J.J. McKelvey with 1:58 left put Clemson ahead by three, but Tech tied the count with a 20-yard field goal with just six seconds left. Dantzler’s “walk-off” six-yard touchdown in overtime gave Clemson the win. ·Clemson has had just two games in its history in which both teams scored in the 40s. They have both taken place against Georgia Tech under Bowden. Tech won 45-42 in 1999 and Clemson won 47-44 in 2001 in Atlanta.

Clemson Veterans vs. Georgia Tech ·Cole Chason (P)–Had 44.3 average on six punts against Georgia Tech in 2003. It was his high punting average of the season and he was named Clemson’s special teams player of the game by the Tiger coaches. ·Eric Coleman (DT)–Had one tackle in 28 plays in 2003 and two tackles in 18 plays in 2002. ·Airese Currie (WR)–Had 6-78 and one touchdown at Georgia Tech in 2003. He did not catch a pass against the Yellow Jackets in 2001 or 2002. ·Mo Fountain (DE)–Had three tackles, including his first sack of the year, a play that resulted in a safety in the 2003 Clemson victory. Had two tackles in 2001 and 2002 victories over Tech. ·Jamaal Fudge (ROV)–Had five tackles in 55 plays as a starter in 2003 against Tech. ·Leroy Hill (LB)–Had 11 tackles, including two for loss in Clemson’s win in 2003. Had three tackles on special teams in 2002. ·Tye Hill (CB)–Had two tackles, including his first career tackle for loss, in the win at Tech in 2003. ·Yusef Kelly (TB)–Clemson’s top rusher in win over Tech in 2002 when he had 20-89 rushing and 3-9 receiving. Had three yards in one carry at Tech in 2003. ·Justin Miller (CB)–Had two tackles and a 41-yard kickoff return at Tech in 2003 and had five tackles in 20 snaps as a freshman in 2002. ·Travis Pugh (FS)–Had eight tackles, two PBUs and a tackle for loss at Tech in 2003. ·Eric Sampson (WHIP)–Had five tackles, including a sack at Tech in 2003. Had two tackles as a starter in 2002 and three as a reserve in 2001. ·Anthony Waters (LB)–Had season high six tackles in 20 plays at Tech in 2003. ·Charlie Whitehurst (QB)–Hit on 23-38 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns in Clemson’s 39-3 victory at Georgia Tech in 2003.

Clemson 39, Georgia Tech 32003 Meeting at Atlanta, GA Clemson ended a series of close games with Georgia Tech by defeating the Yellow Jackets 39-3 in Atlanta. The seven previous games between the two schools had been decided by just 23 points, including six consecutive three-point decisions from 1996-01. The Tigers’ 36-point margin of victory was the most against Georgia Tech by Clemson since John Heisman was roaming the Clemson sidelines in 1903. The 36-point win was the best for Clemson in an ACC road game since a 55-0 win at Virginia in 1984.

Clemson got on the board in the late portion of the first quarter after Aaron Hunt connected on a 23-yard field goal. The score was set up by a holding penalty by Georgia Tech on a punt, thus giving the ball back to the Tigers.

Clemson tacked on to its lead in the second after John Leake intercepted his first career pass. His effort set up Tony Elliott from nine yards out on a touchdown reception from Charlie Whitehurst. It was Elliott’s second touchdown in as many years against the Yellow Jackets.

The Tigers struck again on the ensuing possession. Kevin Youngblood grabbed a jump-ball pass from Whitehurst for a 44-yard gain to get into Tech territory. Youngblood was rewarded moments later when he caught a pass, then spun away and dove for the endzone on a 12-yard touchdown play. Georgia Tech got on the board late in the second quarter with a Dan Burnett field goal, but the Tigers responded quickly. Derrick Hamilton returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to Clemson’s 45-yard line. From there, Youngblood caught a 22-yard pass, then Whitehurst hooked up with Airese Currie for a 33-yard touchdown strike just before halftime. Whitehurst’s third touchdown pass gave the Tigers a 23-3 lead at the break.

Clemson’s defense was the story of the second half. On the Yellow Jackets’ second possession, quarterback Reggie Ball was pressured inside his own 10-yard line. He ran back to avoid the rush but could not get away from Maurice Fountain and Vontrell Jamison, who threw the freshman down for a safety and a 25-3 lead.

The running game stepped up in the fourth quarter for Clemson. On its second possession of the quarter, the Tigers took to the ground. Kyle Browning rushed three times for 33 yards before Duane Coleman took a handoff straight up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the longest run from scrimmage for the Tigers in the young season.

Clemson added a touchdown to its final margin when Whitehurst scored on a quarterback sneak. The Tigers got the ball back after fullback Steven Jackson recovered a fumble on the kickoff. The Tiger defense kept Tech out of the endzone in the waning moments of the game, preserving the 36-point victory.

Whitehurst led the Tigers again offensively. He was 23-38 for 298 yards and accounted for four scores. Currie led a trio of Tiger receivers, with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Youngblood caught five balls for 101 yards and a touchdown. Hamilton had five catches for 79 yards to go along with 59 return yards and 14 rushing yards.

Clemson rushed for 138 yards on 30 carries in the game, more rushing yards gained than both Auburn and Florida State had against the Georgia Tech defense in the previous two weeks. Georgia Tech entered the game having upset a top-15 Auburn team the previous week.

Defensively, the Tigers totaled 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and harassed Ball and the Tech offense the entire night. Leading the way was Leake, who had 14 tackles and three for loss. Leroy Hill continued his fine play with 11 tackles, including two for loss and his fourth sack of the year. Additional sacks were recorded by Fountain, Tye Hill, Eric Sampson, and Donnell Washington.

Touré Francis led the defensive backs with four pass breakups. Justin Miller and Travis Pugh each added a pair of deflections for the Tiger secondary.

Clemson 3 20 2 14 39 Georgia Tech 0 3 0 0 3

CU Hunt 23 FG, 1st, 1:07, 13-77 CU Elliott 9 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 2nd, 12:59, 3-57 CU Youngblood 12 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 2nd, 9:50, 5-69 GAT Burnett 20 FG, 2nd, 0:41, 10-52 CU Currie 33 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick failed), 2nd, 0:12, 3-55 CU TEAM Safety, 3rd, 7:10 CU D. Coleman 25 run (Hunt kick), 4th, 8:49, 6-74 CU Whitehurst 1 run (Hunt kick), 4th, 3:57, 8-35 Attendance – 53,189

Team Statistics CU GAT First Downs 21 16 Rushing 30-138 33-45 Passing 23-38-1 19-42-1 Passing Yards 298 248 Total Offense 69-436 75-293 Yard/Play 6.3 3.9 Return Yards 20 29 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-1 Total Turnovers 1 2 Penalties 7-60 5-51 Interceptions 1-0 1-10 Punt Returns 3-20 4-19 Kickoff Returns 2-80 6-104 Punting 6-44.3 7-42.3 Third-Down Conversions 1-11 4-17 Sacks by Defense 5-38 2-5 Time of Possession 28:04 31:56

Rushing (Rush-Yards-TD) CU D. Coleman 13-86-1, Browning 4-32, Hamilton 1-14, Whitehurst 7-8-1, Kelly 1-1, Jasmin 2-0, TEAM 2-(-3) GAT Daniels 16-34, Ball 14-6, Dixon 2-6, TEAM 1-(-1)

Passing (Com-Att-Yards-I-TD) CU Whitehurst 23-38-298-1-3 GAT Ball 19-42-242-1-0

Receiving (Rec-Yards-TD) CU Currie 6-78-1, Youngblood 5-101-1, Hamilton 5-79, Elliott 5-31-1, D. Coleman 2-9 GAT J. Smith 9-170, Curry 6-59, Daniels 2-13, Foschi 2-6

Interceptions (Int.-Yards) CU Leake 1-0 GAT D. Davis 1-10

Punt Returns (PR-Yards) CU Hamilton 3-20 GT J. Smith 4-19

Kickoff Returns (KOR-Yards) CU Miller 1-41, Hamilton 1-39 GAT Scott 4-59, D. Davis 2-45

Tackles CU Leake 14, L. Hill 11, Pugh 8, Billie 6, Waters 6

Sacks CU Fountain 1-11, Sampson 1-10, L. Hill 1-8, T. Hill 1-7, Washington 1-2

Tackles for Loss CU Leake 3-10, L. Hill 2-10, Fountain 1-11, Sampson 1-10, T. Hill 1-7, Pugh 1-5, Washington 1-2, B. Williams 1-2

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)

Date Opponent OT Site Score
11-8-1997 Duke 1 H 29-20
9-29-2001 Georgia Tech 1 A 47-44
10-11-2003 Virginia 1 H 30-27
9-4-2004 Wake Forest 2 H 37-30

Georgia Tech Update For the second straight week Clemson will have to contend with one of the top backs in the ACC. The Tigers gave up 179 yards rushing to Wake Forest’s Chris Barclay last week, and now they have to face P.J. Daniels, who is coming in off a 169-yard performance in the opener for Georgia Tech. Daniels led the Yellow Jackets to a season opening 28-7 win over Samford last Saturday. Daniels scored on touchdown runs of 47 and one yard and also caught a 25-yard scoring pass from quarterback Reggie Ball.

Rashaun Grant added 75 yards rushing for Tech, who gained 268 on the ground and 201 in the air. Ball is the leader of the offense from the quarterback position, a role he provided all of last year when he helped Tech to a 7-6 record, including a win over a top 10 Auburn team. In the opener Ball was 14-21 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. That computes to a 169 passing efficiency mark. His top receiver is Levon Thomas, a second team wide receiver who had 3-54 in the opening win. Nate Curry added 3-40, including a score.

Georgia Tech’s defense allowed just 12 first downs and 169 yards of total offense. Chris Reis was the top tackler in the opener with 10 stops, while Reuben Houston added nine, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Tech’s defense had eight tackles for loss overall. Gerris Wilkinson added six tackles for Chan Gailey’s team.

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

Yds Rec Player Site-Opponent Year
182 7 Rod Gardner a-North Carolina 2000
175 7 Derrick Hamilton a-Maryland 2003
163 5 Jerry Butler a-Georgia Tech 1977
161 7 Perry Tuttle h-Wake Forest 1981
156 8 Terry Smith a-Florida State 1993
152 9 Airese Currie h-Wake Forest 2004
152 2 Craig Brantley h-Virginia 1974
152 7 Tony Horne a-Wake Forest 1997
151 7 Perry Tuttle h-Maryland 1981

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.

Whitehurst Nearing Completion Record Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst completed 20 passes for 288 yards and two scores in the win over Wake Forest. The junior already owns 33 Clemson records, but is continuing his pursuit of many more. Entering Saturday’s game with Georgia Tech, Whitehurst has thrown 431 completions, third in Clemson history and just 30 completions short of Woodrow Dantzler’s career record of 460. His 288 passing yards against Tech give Whitehurst 5403 career passing yards, also third in Clemson history. The record is 6037, also held by Dantzler, so Whitehurst needs 635 to break that mark.

If Whitehurst can have similar success this Saturday as he did last year against Georgia Tech he will gain on those records. A year ago Whitehurst led the Tigers to victory over Georgia Tech by connecting on 23-38 passes for 298 yards and three scores. He had 306 yards of total offense. Whitehurst has now thrown for at least 246 yards in seven straight games and in 12 of his last 13. The streak of seven straight 200-yard passing games is already a Clemson record. The only game he failed to reach 200 yards through the air was at NC State last year when he had 196.

Charlie Whitehurst on Clemson Career Records List

Category Rank Figure Record
Passing Yards 3rd 5,403 6037, Woody Dantzler
Pass Attempts 3rd 720 805, Nealon Greene
Completions 3rd 431 460, Woody Dantzler
Completion % 1st .600
Passing Efficiency 1st 132.8
Touchdown Passes 3rd 33 41, Woody Dantzler
Interception % 3rd 2.9% 2.55%, Chris Morocco

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 20 Clemson is ranked 20th in the latest AP poll. The USA Today poll was not known as of this writing. 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 three consecutive 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 on Saturday afternoon. 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 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.

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

# Player Clemson Years Team
57 Keith Adams, LB 1998-00 Philadelphia Eagles
91 $Lorenzo Bromell, DE 1996-97 New York Giants
99 Brentson Buckner, DT 1990-93 Carolina Panthers
20 Brian Dawkins, FS 1992-95 Philadelphia Eagles
90 Adrian Dingle, DE 1995-98 San Diego Chargers
21 Antuan Edwards, DB 1995-98 Miami Dolphins
87 Rod Gardner, WR 1997-00 Washington Redskins
17 Chris Gardocki, P 1988-90 Pittsburgh Steelers
89 Lamont Hall, TE 1994-97 New Orleans Saints
88 Derrick Hamilton, WR 2001-03 San Francisco 49ers
22 Dexter McCleon, DB 1993-96 Kansas City Chiefs
93 Trevor Pryce, DT 1996 Denver Broncos
51 Anthony Simmons, LB 1995-97 Seattle Seahawks
73 Gregory Walker, OL 2000-03 New York Giants
95 #Donnell Washington, DT 2001-03 Green Bay Packers

#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 18 games in his career, 18 of the 19 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.

Whitehurst now has a 13-6 record as a starter and the Tigers are 12-6 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. The victory gave Clemson a 16-3 record under Tommy Bowden in the month of September, including a 15-1 record since the turn of the century. Clemson’s only 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. Clemson has now won eight straight games in the month of September, including two in overtime.

Tigers from Georgia Twenty of the 88 players who were on the dress list for Clemson’s game with Wake Forest are from the state of Georgia. That includes four who list Atlanta as their hometown. The players from Atlanta are Nigel Vaughn, reserve linebacker, Chip Myrick, reserve offensive guard who was a starter last year, Tim DeBeer, reserve offensive lineman, and Kwam Williams, reserve defensive end. Other prominent Tigers from the state of Georgia include Chansi Stuckey, starting wide receiver, Charlie Whitehurst, starting quarterback from Duluth, GA, Cole Chason, starting punter, Leroy Hill, leading tackler on defense from Haddock, GA, starting center Tommy Sharpe and starting offensive guard Cedric Johnson.

Clemson Players from Georgia

Name Yr. Pos. Hometown High School
@Nathan Bennett Fr. OG Dallas Paulding County
Brandon Cannon Fr. DT Stone Mountain Stephenson
@Cole Chason Fr. PK Roswell Gr. Atlanta Christian
Donnell Clark Fr. DT Griffin Griffin
Michael Collins So. WR Commerce Commerce
Tim DeBeer Fr. OT Atlanta Marist
Nelson Faeber Fr. WR Duluth Chattahoochee
Zach Green Fr. TE Conyers Salem
Cullen Harper Fr QB Alpharetta Sequoyah
@LeRoy Hill So. LB Haddock Baldwin
@Cedric Johnson So. OG Barwick Thomas County Cent.
Aaron Kelly Fr. WR Marietta Walton
Chip Myrick Fr. OT Atlanta Lovett
Brandon Pilgrim Fr OG Lilburn Parkview
Robert Reese Fr. CB Temple Temple
@Tommy Sharpe So. C Albany Westover
@Chansi Stuckey Fr. QB Warner Robbins Northside
Nigel Vaughn So. LB Atlanta North Atlanta
@Charlie Whitehurst Fr. QB Duluth Chattahoochee
Kwam Williams Fr. LB Conley Westlake

@Denotes Starter

The Fall Finish of 2003 Clemson won its last four games of the 2003 season, thanks to statistical excellence in just about every phase of the game. During the stretch, Tommy Bowden defeated three coaches who have won the national championship (Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Bowden and Lou Holtz). Holz and Bowden both have over 200 victories.

During the four-game winning streak quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 84-133 for 1,151 yards and eight touchdowns. That is a 63.2 completion percentage and 288 yards per game. He had 306 yards per game in terms of total offense during the four wins. Linebacker Leroy Hill led the defense with 43 tackles to match the number on his uniform.

The biggest area where Clemson dominated might have been in rushing defense. Clemson held Florida State to 11 yards rushing, fewest by a Bobby Bowden coached Florida State team, and held Tennessee to a season low 38 yards rushing in 26 attempts.

Clemson enters this season as one of nine schools with a four-game winning streak. The others are Miami (OH) (14, including a victory this year), Boise State (11), Southern Cal (10, including win over Virginia Tech), LSU (8), UCONN (5), Maryland (5), Utah (5, plays Texas A&M Thursday), and Miami (FL) (4).

Clemson Statistics over Last Four Games of 2004

Category CU Opp
Points 156 48
Touchdowns 19 6
Plays-Total Offense 297-1852 278-1,284
Yards/Play 6.51 4.62
Yards/Game 463 321
Rushing 161-688 121-319
Rushing Touchdowns 10 1
Yards/rush 4.27 2.64
Passing Yards 1,164 965
Comp-Att 85-136 81-157
Completion % .625 .516
Pass Efficiency 152.5 93.7
Pass Yards/Game 291 241
First Downs 97 77

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-yard run in a preseason scrimmage that got everyone’s attention. But, a knee injury made him reconsider his football career and he left the team just prior to the Virginia Tech game of September 23rd that year. He never did appear in a game.Clemson Season Tickets Sold Out The Clemson University Athletic Ticket office announced in July that full season tickets for the 2004 football season are sold out. This is the first time Clemson has announced a preseason sellout of season tickets.

“The excitement has carried over from the strong finish of the 2003 season resulting in a sell out of available seating for season tickets,” said Ticket Manager, Bobby Skelton.

The addition of Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2004 season has also added to the excitement concerning the upcoming season. Clemson will play at Miami (FL) on November 6, the first meeting between the two schools since 1956.

Clemson season ticket sales are up 2000 from the previous year to nearly 57,000 and the sale of ticket packages has almost doubled from 2003, resulting in the Clemson-South Carolina game being a total sell out. Tickets are still available for the five remaining home games at a cost of $32.00 each. The opponents for those games are Wake Forest (Sept. 4), Georgia Tech (Sept. 11), Utah State (Homecoming on Oct. 16), Maryland (Oct. 23) and NC State (Oct. 30).

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-CLEMSON or online at

Clemson Fourth in ACC Preseason Poll Clemson is picked fourth in the preseason ACC football poll. The Tigers received one vote for first place out of the 88 ballots that were cast. Florida State was first, followed by Miami (FL), Virginia, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech, NC State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke.

Clemson was picked fifth in the preseason poll by the ACC media last year, but finished third in the final standings, a contributing factor to Tommy Bowden selection as ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in his five years at Clemson. In his five years at Clemson, Bowden has finished worse than predicted in the ACC preseason poll, just once. In 2001 Clemson was picked third and finished fourth. His first year, 1999, Clemson was picked sixth in the preseason and finished second, one of only two times since 1976 that Clemson has finished four spots better than the preseason pick.

Since 1976 when the ACC preseason poll started, Clemson has finished better than predicted nine times, finished the same eight times and finished worse nine times.

Preseason Rankings Clemson has been picked in the top 20 for many preseason polls for 2004. Bill Curry of ESPN, picked Clemson to win the ACC in an August 26 article on Individually, three Clemson players were ranked among the top 100 in the nation by Bruce Feldman of EPSN The Magazine. Those players were Charlie Whitehurst (#23), Leroy Hill (#29), and Justin Miller (#79).

Whitehurst was ranked eighth among candidates for the Heisman Trophy during the summer by and was among 15 candidates for the award listed by USA Today in its preseason issue, and one of 20 candidates for the award by CBS Sportsline. Whitehurst is also on the preseason candidate list for the Davey O’Brien Award and the Walter Camp Award.

Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill is a preseason candidate for the Lombardi Award, the Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award. Hill is one of 16 players who are on all three lists. Hill and NC State linebacker Pat Thomas are the only ACC players on all three lists. Here is a rundown of Clemson’s top 20 preseason rankings: #13–Sporting News, Athlon #14– #15–Football Writers Association, Associated Press #16–Sports Illustrated, USA Today #19–College Football News

Clemson 32nd in US News and World Report Poll Clemson University President Jim Barker stated publicly when he took his current position in1999 that he had a goal of making Clemson one of the top 20 national public universities in the nation. On August 20, the latest rankings were released and Clemson was listed at #32, a seven position jump in the last two years and up from #35 last year. Clemson was named Time Magazine’s Public College of the Year in 2001.

Pickens, Richardson, Downer Receive Scholarships Three former walk-ons were given scholarships for the 2004 season. The list includes Jesse Pickens, who could be Clemson’s starting left tackle against Wake Forest, Lionel Richardson, a reserve WHIP linebacker, and Cole Downer, another offensive lineman.

Richardson, a junior from Huger, SC, started four games last year and had 24 tackles in 205 plays from scrimmage. He had seven tackles each in victories over Virginia and North Carolina. He is the only electrical engineering major on the team.

Pickens has come from obscurity to the starting position at left tackle. In fact, when he starts against Wake Forest it will be the first time he has ever played in a game. He came to Clemson in the fall of 2001 after spending his first year out of school at Spartanburg Tech in nearby Spartanburg, SC.

Pickens could be the first original walk-on to start on the offensive line for Clemson since way back in ……2003. Tommy Sharpe, Clemson’s starting center, is also an original walk-on.

50 Years of Cannon Fire This will be the 50-year anniversary of a cannon sounding after each Clemson score. A Clemson cheerleader has fired the cannon for every score, home and away since the season opener of 1954.

The tradition began in 1954 when George Bennett, then the head cheerleader, got the idea from his father, who had seen Army do it after each score at a game he had attended at West Point in 1953. Prior to the 1954 season Bennett approached Clemson Head Coach Frank Howard and asked him permission to fire the cannon. Permission was granted and just prior to the 1954 season, Bennett’s father purchased the small cannon. The tradition has been handed down to each head cheerleader ever since.

Bennett just retired from full time duty as Clemson’s Executive Secretary of IPTAY. He served Clemson in that capacity during two stints for nearly 20 total years. He still has an office in the Jervey Athletic Center and will serve as the master of ceremonies for Friday evening’s Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. This past year he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors.

Tigers First Rubbed Howards Rock vs. Wake Forest Another anniversary of sorts will take place when Clemson rubs Howard’s Rock and runs down the hill this Saturday. The first time Clemson rubbed Howard’s Rock prior to running down the hill was the season opener of 1967 for a game with Wake Forest. Howard’s Rock was first placed on a pedestal at the top of the hill at the East end of the stadium prior to the opener in 1966, but the tradition of rubbing the rock didn’t start until the opener the next year.

In his pregame speech for the 1967 Wake Forest game (played on September 23, 1967), Howard told his team that ,”If you are going to give 110 percent today rub that rock before you run down the hill because it will give you mystical powers. But, if you aren’t going to give 110 percent, keep your hands off that rock.” He told of the story on his television show the next day and a tradition was born.

With the exception of the 1970, 1971 and the first four home games of the 1972 season, Clemson has rubbed the rock prior to running down the hill for every game. The Wake Forest game on Saturday will be the 302nd time Clemson has run down the hill, the 298th time they have rubbed the rock before running down the hill.

Clemson Looks for 17th Bowl Trip in 20 Years Clemson has been to 16 bowl games in the last 19 years and certainly hopes to make it 17 out of 20 years with an invitation at the conclusion of the 2004 season. Clemson ranks in a tie for sixth among Division I schools in bowl game appearances since 1985 (19 seasons). The only schools ahead of Clemson is this category are Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska, who all been to 19 in a row, Tennessee with 18, and Miami (FL) with 17. Clemson is just ahead of Georgia (15) Southern Cal (14), Notre Dame (13), Arkansas 913), Auburn (13), Virginia (13), Syracuse (13) and NC State (13).

Clemson is one of 21 schools to go to a bowl game at least five years in a row and is one of 19 schools to win at least two bowl games over the last three seasons.

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.

It will also be a tough schedule 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.

Road Warriors

Year Games Miles Miles/G
1951 Rice, NC State, Pacific, S. Carolina, Furman 3990 798
1966 Georgia Tech, Alabama, So Cal, Wake Forest, MD, NCS 3847 641
2004 Texas A&M, FSU, Virginia, Miami (FL), Duke 2857 571
1972 Rice, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, MD, NCST. 3194 532
1952 Maryland, Florida, S. Carolina, Boston Coll, Fordham. 3516 502

Note: Counts only trips in continental United States.

Clemson Secondary Ranked Among the Best Clemson’s secondary returns all four starters from last year. The foursome of Justin Miller, Travis Pugh, Jamaal Fudge and Tye Hill all started together for 11 of the 13 games. Miller, Pugh and Fudge started all 13 games. In its preseason college football issue, the Sporting News ranked the unit as the second best secondary in the nation.

Miller, Fudge and Hill are all juniors, so three quarters of the group could be together for a long time. They combined to play 3168 snaps, make 309 tackles, 10 interceptions and 45 passes defensed during the 2003 season. Clemson ranked second in the ACC in pass defense based on yards allowed, and second in interceptions.

Notes on Clemson’s 2004 Schedule

  • Clemson will then face Georgia Tech in week two, September 11, also at Death Valley. This is the first time since the 1965 season that Clemson has played two ACC games to open the schedule. That year Clemson played NC State at home and at Virginia to open the season. The 2004 schedule will be the first time Clemson has played two home games against league opponents to open the season since 1958 when Frank Howard’s team opened the season with home victories at Death Valley over Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Clemson has beaten Georgia Tech each of the last three seasons, including a 39-3 victory in Atlanta last year, Clemson’s largest victory margin over the Yellow Jackets in 100 years. Each of the last four meetings between the two schools at Clemson have been decided by five points or less.
  • The Tigers will travel to College Station, TX to face Texas A&M on September 18. It will be Clemson’s first game with the Aggies since 1974 when Clemson lost to a 20th ranked Texas A&M team on the road, 24-0 in the season opener. It is the first of a two-game series between Texas A&M and Clemson. The Aggies are scheduled to play at Clemson on September 3, 2005.
  • Clemson’s fourth game of the year will be at Florida State. The Tigers defeated a sixth ranked Seminoles team at Clemson last season by a 26-10 score. Clemson has not won in Tallahassee since 1989.
  • The Tigers will have October 2 open, then face Virginia in Charlottesville for a Thursday night game. It will be Clemson’s third straight road game, the first time Clemson has played three straight road games since 1994. The contest will be televised nationally by ESPN. Clemson defeated Virginia 30-27 in overtime last year and each of the last three meetings between the two schools have been decided by five points or less, including two on plays within the last five seconds.
  • Clemson will return home on October 16 to face Utah State for the first time in history. It will be Clemson’s first home game in 35 days. This is the longest stretch without a home game during the regular season since 1984. Utah State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference, the same league as 2003 Clemson opponent Middle Tennessee.
  • Clemson concludes a three-game home stand with conference games against Maryland (October 23) and NC State (October 30), two teams that defeated the Tigers in 2003.
  • The Tigers then will go back on the road to face first-year ACC school Miami (FL) in the Orange Bowl. Clemson has not played Miami (FL) since 1956, but the Tigers have played in their stadium. Clemson won the 1982 Orange Bowl, by a 22-15 score over Nebraska to win the 1981 National Championship at the Orange Bowl. It will be Clemson’s first game in that facility since that triumph.
  • Clemson and Miami (FL) have played five times in history, including two games in bowl games. All five games were played in the Frank Howard era at Clemson and all five were played in the state of Florida. Clemson defeated Miami (FL) 15-14 in the 1951 Orange Bowl. The following year Miami (FL) defeated Clemson 14-0 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.
  • Miami (FL) defeated Clemson 21-0 in a regular season game at the Orange Bowl in 1956, the last time Clemson has played the Hurricanes. That game was a match-up of a 12th ranked Clemson team against an eighth ranked Miami (FL) team.
  • Clemson finishes its road schedule at Duke. The Tigers have defeated the Blue Devils all five years Tommy Bowden has been the head coach at Clemson, but the last meeting in Durham was a close 34-31 Tiger victory.
  • Clemson concludes the season against archrival South Carolina on November 20. The game will be played at Clemson. The Tigers have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams overall and each of the last three played at Death Valley. The last South Carolina coach to win at Death Valley is current Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott, who led the Gamecocks to a 34-31 win at Clemson in 1996.

Clemson 15th in Associated Press Preseason Poll Clemson is ranked 15th in the nation in the Associated Press preseason college football poll. Clemson is one of five ACC teams ranked in the top 25 by the poll. Florida State is the highest ranked ACC team with a number-five rating, while new ACC member Miami (FL) is sixth. Clemson must play both of those teams on the road this year. Clemson is the third highest rated ACC team with its #15 rating, and is 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.

Whitehurst, Hill on Preseason Lists Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and linebacker Leroy Hill were both named to preseason Watch Lists for major 2004 awards. Whitehurst is one of 40 “Players to Watch” for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award, while Hill is one of 65 preseason candidates for the Butkus Award. The Butkus Award is given to the nation’s top linebacker.

Hill is one of seven ACC players on the Butkus Watch List. He is joined by Darryl Blackstock and Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, D’Qwell Jackson of Maryland, A.J. Nicholson of Florida State, Pat Thomas of NC State and Leon Williams of Miami (FL).

Last year, Hill led the Tigers in tackles with 145, including 27 tackles for loss. He ranked second in the nation in tackles for loss and was a first-team All-ACC selection. Earlier this summer he was named a preseason candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given to the top defensive player in the nation and the Lombardi Award, which goes to the top lineman in college football.

Whitehurst is one of five ACC Players on the Walter Camp list. He is joined by P.J. Daniels of Georgia Tech, Tramain Hall of NC State, Chris Rix of Florida State, and Antrel Rolle of Miam (FL). Earlier this summer he was named to the preseason list for the O’Brien Award, which goes to the nation’s top quarterback.

Whitehurst holds 33 Clemson school records, including passing efficiency in a career and passing yardage in a season. He quarterbacked the Tigers to a 9-4 record as a sophomore when he threw for 3561 yards and 21 touchdowns. Among the victories were triumphs over #3 Florida State and #6 Tennessee. He joined Homer Jordan as the only Clemson quarterback to lead the Tigers to two wins over top 10 teams in the same season.

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

Other Preseason Honors, 2004Defensive Backs · #2 in the nation (Sporting News)

IndividualAirese Currie · Biletnikoff Award candidate (Street & Smith’s) · Honorable mention All-American (Street & Smith’s) · #18 wide receiver in the nation (Phil Steele) · First-team All-ACC (Phil Steele)

Jamaal Fudge · #10 strong safety in the nation (Sporting News)

Leroy Hill · Second-team All-American (Athlon) · Second-team All-American (Phil Steele) · Third-team All-American (Street & Smith’s) · Butkus Award Watch List ·Lombardi Award Watch List ·Bednarik Award Watch List ·Nagurski Watch List · #3 inside linebacker in the nation (Phil Steele) · #6 inside linebacker in the nation (Sporting News) · First-team All-ACC (Phil Steele)

Cedric Johnson · #7 offensive guard in the nation (Sporting News) · #12 offensive guard in the nation (Phil Steele) · Honorable mention All-American (Street & Smith’s)

Justin Miller · Second-team All-American (Sporting News) · Honorable mention All-American (Street & Smith’s) · Thorpe Award candidate (Street & Smith’s) · #4 cornerback in the nation (Sporting News)

Charlie Whitehurst · Third-team All-American (Athlon) · Honorable mention All-American (Street & Smith’s) · Heisman Trophy candidate (Street & Smith’s) · Davey O’Brien Award candidate (Street & Smith’s) ·Walter Camp preseason Watch List · #5 quarterback in the nation (Sporting News) · #13 quarterback in the nation (Phil Steele)