Dec. 4, 2000
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Clemson has a rich bowl tradition. The Tigers have a 12-11 record in bowl games and the 12 bowl victories rank in a tie for 20th in NCAA history . The Gator Bowl will be Clemson’s 24th bowl appearance. The 23 bowl appearances prior to this season rank in a tie for 21st highest in NCAA history. Clemson’s first bowl appearance was in the 1940 Cotton Bowl when the Tigers defeated Frank Leahy and Boston College 6-3.
This will be Clemson’s 13th bowl game since 1985, a 16-year period. Clemson had six bowl victories in the 1985-96 time period but has lost four consecutive bowl games. Clemson’s last bowl win was in 1993, a 14-13 win over Kentucky at the Peach Bowl. Clemson’s last win in the Gator Bowl was in 1989 over West Virginia, 27-7. Clemson has some bowl wins over some of the greatest coaches in college football history:
Clemson Plays Sixth-Ranked Virginia Tech Team When Clemson plays Virginia Tech (6th AP, 5th USA), it will be the highest ranked team Clemson has faced in a bowl game since the 1982 Orange Bowl. That year a #1 ranked Clemson team defeated a fourth ranked Nebraska team, 22-15 to win the national championship. Overall, the number-six ranking by Virginia Tech will be the third highest ranked team Clemson has faced in a bowl. The Tigers faced a number-one ranked LSU team in the 1959 Sugar Bowl.
This will be the fourth straight top 20 team that Clemson has played in a bowl game. The Tigers have lost four straight bowl games, three in a row to ranked teams. Clemson has lost three straight Peach Bowls, but the Tigers faced teams ranked in at least the top 17 in the country, while Clemson was unranked in each of those games. Overall, Clemson has faced a top 20 team in 19 of its previous 23 games. Clemson is 10-9 when facing a ranked team in a bowl game. On the other hand, Clemson’s #16 ranking in AP is Clemson’s highest ranking heading into a bowl since the 1991 season when Clemson was 13th entering a Citrus Bowl game with 14th ranked California.
The Gator Bowl will be one of just two non-BCS bowl games involving top 16 ranked teams in the AP poll, top 13 ranked teams in USA Today. The other game is the Oregon vs. Texas contest in the Holiday Bowl.
Clemson’s Gator Bowl History Clemson was extended a bid to the Gator Bowl on Nov. 14. This will be the eighth appearance for the Tigers in this bowl game, the first since 1995. Clemson will tie Florida for the Gator Bowl appearance record with eight when the game is played Jan. 1, 2001 at Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, FL.
The Tigers have a 4-3 record in its previous seven Gator Bowls. Clemson’s first appearance in the bowl was at the conclusion of the 1948 season, as the Tigers concluded a perfect season with a 24-23 win over Missouri. Clemson also participated in the Gator Bowl at the conclusion of the 1951, 1977, 1978, 1986, 1989 and 1995 seasons. One of Clemson’s most famous bowl victories in history came in the 1978 Gator Bowl. The Tigers defeated Ohio State 17-15, the first Clemson win in history over a Big Ten team. That was Danny Ford’s first game as head coach and Woody Hayes’s final game. Clemson was led to victory by Steve Fuller, Jerry Butler, Dwight Clark and Bubba Brown. A late interception by middle guard Charlie Bauman provided the key play for the Tigers.
Clemson has won three of its last four Gator Bowl appearances. In addition to the win over Ohio State, Clemson was 2-0 in the 1980s at the Gator Bowl, a 27-21 win over Stanford and a 27-7 win over West Virginia. That was Danny Ford’s final game as Clemson head coach. The Tigers defeated a West Virginia team that had played for the National Championship the previous year. Virginia Tech is in that same situation this year. That win over West Virginia attracted a Gator Bowl record crowd of 82,911, a total that remains the bowl’s record crowd.
This will be Virginia Tech’s third appearance in the Gator Bowl. The Hokies are 0-2, having lost to Tennessee in 1994 (a game played in Gainesville, FL) and to North Carolina in 1997.
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl Experience Clemson’s nine current assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 72 bowl games entering this year’s Gator Bowl game. This will be Rick Stockstill’s ninth bowl game as a Clemson assistant, while it will be the sixth for defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. Overall, it will be the 15th for Herring in his coaching career.
Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl games. Brad Scott led South Carolina to its only bowl win in history when he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. Mike O’Cain, hired as Clemson’s quarterbacks coach on Dec. 4, served as N.C. State’s head coach in three bowl games. He was 1-2 in those games.
Bowden To Coach in 10th Bowl Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden will coach in the 10th bowl game of his career, his second at Clemson and his second as a head coach. Last year he coached Clemson in the Peach Bowl, a 17-7 loss to Mississippi State.
Bowden guided Tulane to a perfect 11-0 regular season in 1998, but resigned shortly after the regular season in order to start his Clemson career. He did not coach Tulane in its Liberty Bowl victory over Brigham Young that year. However, current assistant coaches , Ron West, Thielen Smith and Burton Burns all were on the sidelines for Tulane in that game.
Bowden coached in three bowls as an assistant at Florida State, three as an assistant at Alabama and two as an assistant at Auburn for a total of eight previous bowls. His teams were 4-4 in those games. Thus, combined with his head coaching career, he is 4-5 in bowl games as a Division I coach. Bowden’s last win was as an assistant at Auburn in 1996 as an assistant under Terry Bowden. Auburn defeated Army in the Independence Bowl that year, 33-29.
Bowden has coached in the Gator Bowl before. That took place in the 1982 season as an assistant under his father, Bobby Bowden, at Florida State. The Seminoles defeated West Virginia, 31-12 in the 1982 Gator Bowl.
This will be the second consecutive year the Tigers have been to a bowl game under Tommy Bowden. Bowden joins Charley Pell as the only coach in Clemson history to take the Tigers to a bowl in each of his first two years. Pell did not coach in the bowl game at the end of his second year, however, as he had resigned to go to the University of Florida.
Clemson Bowl Experience Clemson has 41 players on its active roster for this bowl game who have played in a bowl game previously for Clemson. The list includes eight players (Theo Mougros, Rod Gardner, Terry Witherspoon, Terry Bryant, Jason Holloman, Terry Jolly, Robert Carswell, and Chad Speck) who have played in two bowl games. Those eight players participated against Auburn in the 1998 (after 1997 season) Peach Bowl, and in the 1999 Peach Bowl (end of 1999 season).
The list of bowl veterans includes Robert Carswell, the only active Tiger to start in two bowl games. A total of 36 different Tigers have played on scrimmage plays and five others who have played special teams only in bowl games. There are 14 different players who have started in a bowl game.
The only active Tigers to score a touchdown in a bowl game are Chad Speck and Terry Witherspoon. Both of the scores came against Auburn in the 1998 Peach Bowl. Speck scored on an 18-yard blocked punt return, while Witherspoon scored on a two-yard run.
Tigers Face Former Tigers Two coaches for Virginia Tech will be coaching against their alma mater in the Gator Bowl. Ricky Bustle and Dan Pearman are both Clemson graduates and former Clemson players who will be involved in the Virginia Tech braintrust. Bustle is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Virginia Tech and is a 1977 Clemson graduate. Pearman is the tight ends and offensive tackles coach at Virginia Tech and has two degrees from Clemson, his undergrad in 1987 and his graduate degree in 1989.
Bustle was a three-year letterman for the Tigers in 1974-75-76. He had 16 catches for 258 yards and two TDs in his career. His touchdowns came in consecutive games his sophomore year, against Tennessee and Wake Forest. He has been an assistant coach at Virginia Tech since 1987 with the exception of 1994, when he was at South Carolina.
In 1994, Bustle coordinated a South Carolina offense that beat Clemson in Death Valley 33-7. The South Carolina head coach for that game was Brad Scott. Scott will be the offensive coordinator in the Clemson press box for the Gator Bowl.
Pearman started all 11 games for the Tigers 1987 ACC Championship team that defeated Penn State, 35-10 in the Citrus Bowl. He caught a pass in that game, the worst bowl game defeat in Joe Paterno’s career. Pearman coached at Alabama between 1990-97, earning a National Championship ring with the Tide in 1992.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Series This is the third straight year that Clemson and Virginia Tech have met on the gridiron. Virginia Tech defeated Clemson 37-0 in Death Valley in 1998, followed by a 31-11 Virginia Tech win in 1999 . The 1998 meeting was the first since 1989. The series actually dates to 1900 when Clemson defeated Virginia Tech 17-5 to increase its record to 5-0-0 on the way to a perfect 6-0 mark under first-year coach John Heisman.
Clemson has a 17-9-1 lead in the series, including a 6-2 record in games played in Blacksburg, 4-1 in Lane Stadium. But, Virgnia Tech has won the last two meetings and the two teams have split the last six contests. Clemson had won six in a row in Blacksburg prior to the 1999 game. The Tigers are 3-2 against Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and have won 12 of the last 15 against any VPI coach. Clemson was 6-1 against Virginia Tech in the decade of the 1980s.
Bill Dooley led the Hokies to a 20-14 win in Death Valley in Clemson’s season opener in 1986. Both teams went on to bowl games and a top 20 final ranking. A key play in the game took place when Virginia Tech’s Mitch Dove recovered a blocked Bill Spiers punt in the endzone for a touchdown. Spiers went on to an outstanding season as Clemson’s punter, averaging nearly 40 yards a punt. He of course was noted as a Tiger All-American baseball player and is now with the Houston Astros. Defense was a key in Clemson’s three victories in 1987-88-89 over Virginia Tech. The Tigers allowed just 24 points in those three games combined and one of those touchdowns was on a 90-yard kickoff return for a score by Marcus Mickel in 1989 at Virginia Tech. Levon Kirkland, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in that game.
Last year, Clemson was in the game until the final four minutes. Clemson trailed just 17-11 until the Hokie defense scored two touchdowns on Clemson turnovers in the last four minutes, leading to the 20-point Virginia Tech win. That was the largest margin of defeat for Clemson in Tommy Bowden’s first year and is his second largest margin of defeat as a head coach.
Brandon Steeter completed 27 passes in the game, including nine to Rod Gardner. Robert Carswell had a career game with two interceptions and 16 tackles, his career high. Clemson’s defense allowed just 17 points in the game, just three in the second half. They held Michael Vick to 7-16 passing for 88 yards and three interceptions.
Matchup of All-Around Quarterbacks One of the highlights for fans attending the Clemson vs. Virginia Tech game will be the matchup between Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler and Virginia Tech signal caller Michael Vick. Both have had outstanding seasons and were mentioned as candidates for the Heisman Trophy at various points of the season. Both saw their respective candidacies take a turn for the worst when they sustained foot injuries.
This matchup could have taken place last year. But, Brandon Streeter was Clemson’s starting quarterback at the time of the Clemson vs. Virginia Tech game and Dantzler did not take a snap.
A look to the stats shows that they can both hurt the opposition with their feet as much as their arm. They had similar seasons at similar times, even to the point where they were originally injured just a week apart. On Sept. 23, Dantzler gained 220 yards rushing, thanks to a 75-yard run at Virginia. A week later, Vick gained 210 yards on the ground, thanks in part to an 82 yard run in a win at Boston College. Both players threw six interceptions for the season. Vick averaged 14.2 yards a completion, Dantzler 13.9. In terms of total offense, Vick averages 6.98 yards a play, Dantzler 6.87.
Dantzler had the advantage in terms of passing efficiency, completion percentage and rushing yards per game. He also held the upper hand in terms of touchdowns rushing and passing. Vick played in 10 games this year, while Dantzler played in 11, but was healthy for only eight. Here is a statistical comparision of the two all-purpose quarterbacks:
Dantzler fourth in Career Total Offense at Clemson Sets Single Season Mark Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler’s bid to become the first quarterback in NCAA history to reach 1,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards passing in the same season hit a snag at North Carolina when was forced out of the game with a bruise to his lower calf on his left leg. Playing with an injured lower left leg, he had just 283 yards of total offense over the next three games. Prior to the injury, Dantzler was averaging 299 yards of total offense per game. But, Dantzler finished strong against South Carolina. With two weeks to rest, he had 80 yards rushing and 185 yards passing in the 16-14 win over the Gamecocks. In the process, he upped his season total offense figure to 2,638 yards, an all-time Clemson record.
Despite the injuries, Dantzler nearly reached the 1,000/2,000 season. He enters the Gator Bowl with 947 yards rushing and 1691 yards passing. With the injuries and blowout games, he played just 8.5 games in the regular season.
Even though Dantzler has started just 17 games at quarterback in his Clemson career, he is already fourth in school history in total offense. He has 4,898 yards for his career. He went ahead of Homer Jordan at Florida State. Next on the horizon is Rodney Williams, Clemson’s winningest quarterback in history, who had 5,510. Dantzler has played 26 games in his career and now averages a school record 184 yards per game in total offense.
Dantzler still has a long way to go to catch career record holder Nealon Greene, who had 6,786 career total offense yards. But, he still has the rest of this season and all of next season.
Dantzler Had 4 Straight 100-Yard Rushing, 300-Yard Total Offense Games After his 374-yard total offense performance against Virginia, many members of the media proclaimed Woodrow Dantzler a 2000 Heisman candidate. The interest in Dantzler grew after his 134-yard rushing, 174-yard passing performance in the win at Duke and it continued with his 103-yard rushing, 220-yard passing game against N.C. State.
Dantzler had four consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing and at least 300 yards of total offense, a first in Clemson history. We are yet to find any quarterback nationally who has done it. The streak stopped against Maryland when he “only” had 87 yards rushing and 186 passing for 273 yards of total offense.
The junior from Orangeburg, SC certainly has some impressive and unusual numbers. On Oct. 8 Dantzler was ranked as the number-one candidate for the award by Heismanwatch.com. Clemson has had just one player rank in the final top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting. That was Steve Fuller, who finished tied for sixth in the voting with fellow ACC player Ted Brown in 1978. The only Clemson player to win a National Award is Terry Kinard, who was named National Defensive Player of the Year by CBS and Chevrolet in 1982.
Dantzler was named National Player of the Week by CNNSI.com for his performance at Virginia. That internet site picks one player, regardless of position for the entire country. Dantzler had 220 yards rushing, an ACC record for a quarterback, and 154 yards passing in the victory at Virginia.
Dantzler the Passer Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler gets a lot of attention for his running ability. And he should, he finished third in the ACC in rushing this year.
Dantzler is also a fine passer as his 57.5 percent completion percentage and 134.5 passing efficiency rating for this season shows. He ranks 21st in the nation in passing efficiency and is 47th in the country in rushing. He was third in the ACC in rushing and passing efficiency, a rare combination.
Dantzler has been very productive in Bowden’s system. In his 18 games as the predominant quarterback in the system, he has completed 57 percent of his passes, thrown for 172 yards a game and rushed for 80 yards a game. He has rushed for 17 touchdowns and thrown for 18 with only nine interceptions. He is second in career completion percentage with a 56.71 figure. He trails only Nealon Greene in completion percentage and Mark Fellers in passing efficiency.
Good Matchup of Running Backs While much of the pregame talk on offense will center around the quarterbacks, running backs Lee Suggs of Virginia Tech and Travis Zachery of Clemson figure to be significantly involved in the decisive plays of this game. Suggs and Zachery both went over 1,000 yards this year in terms of rushing, both went over 1,300 yards in terms of all-purpose running (in fact just 16 yards apart) and both set school records for touchdowns.
Suggs scored an incredible 27 touchdowns rushing, 28 overall, to set Tech records in both categories. Zachery, who like Suggs is listed at six-feet tall, scored 17 total touchdowns this year to tie Lester Brown’s single season record. He now has 38 career touchdowns at Clemson, an all-time school best. A difference between the two is the use of each player as a receiver. Suggs has just three catches all year, while Zachery has 27 for 288 yards and four scores, second best on the Clemson team in all three areas.
Both running backs are hard workers who are consistent and rarely have a breakaway run to build up their stats. Zachery’s long run this year was 52 yards, the only 50-yard run of his Clemson career. Suggs long run this year is 56 yards.
Both Teams Like Ground Attack Clemson and Virginia Tech have both had top 15 regular seasons and outstanding play on offense has had a lot to do with that. One item the two teams have in common is a sound rushing game. Virginia Tech has an offensive line that features four seniors. Clemson has a veteran line also, featuring second-team All-American Kyle Young at center and second-team All-ACC players Theo Mougros (The Sporting News) and Will Merritt at the guards.
Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rushing offense. The Hokies are fifth, averaging 270.5 yards a game, while the Tigers are 10th, averaging 236.4 yards per game. Clemson also averages over 200 yards a game through the air, but when Clemson is rushing the ball effectively, that usually means a victory. Clemson is 7-0 this year and 10-1 under Tommy Bowden when rushing for at least 200 yards. The teams are also comparable in other areas this year. The two teams were within five first downs of each other (252-247 in favor of Clemson) and sacks allowed were just one apart (22 allowed by Virginia Tech, 23 by Clemson).
Tigers Have Four All-American, Eight All-ACC Players This year’s Clemson team would have to rank among the most honored in school history. Four different Tigers were named to a first, second or third-team All-America squad, while nine players were named to an all-conference squad by either the ACC Sportswriters Association or the Sporting News. The Associated Press team had not been announced as of this writing.
Leading the way in terms of honors has been Keith Adams. The junior linebacker was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp, Football News, Sporting News and Gannett News Service. He is also a finalist for the Butkus Award and the Bednarik Award.
Kyle Young, Clemson’s starting center in every game the last two years, was a second-team All-American by Football News and a third-team selection by The Sporting News. He is also a first-team Academic All-American. Young was also a first-team All-ACC selection. Robert Carswell, Clemson’s starting free safety in each of the last 40 games, was a third-team All-American by The Sporting News and collegefootballnews.com. He was named first-team All-ACC each of the last two years.
Rod Gardner is a fourth different Tiger named to an All-America team. He was named a first-team wide receiver along with Michigan’s David Terrell by the Gannett News Service. Gardner was also named second-team All-ACC.
Clemson had four All-Americans this year, just the fourth season in school history that has happened. Clemson also had four All-American in 1991 and 1987 and five in 1981, Clemson’s National Championship season.
Clemson had six first-team All-ACC players this year, two on second team. That is the most All-ACC players Clemson has had since the 1991 season. In addition to Young, Adams and Carswell, Alex Ardley (CB), Terry Jolly (DT) made first-team All-ACC. Gardner and offensive guard Will Merritt made second team.
Clemson Politically Correct Team Clemson might be the most politically correct team in the country. The Tigers are the only school in the nation with a Gore and Bush on its roster. Buddy Gore III is a walk-on placekicker who has never played in a game, while Jovon Bush is a second team defensive tackle who has 16 tackles in 11 games. He has played 184 snaps as a reserve this year.
Gore is the son of former Clemson All-ACC running back Buddy Gore, who was Clemson’s first 1,000-yard rusher back in 1967. He is still fourth in Clemson history in rushing and still holds the career record for all-purpose running yards per game.
Gore and Bush had fun with this comparison this year. They were featured by CNNSI the week of the South Carolina game, and in a story that ran in the national Associated Press wire. One irony of the situation is their political inclination. Gore is a George Bush supporter, but Bush supports Al Gore. The feature is still available on the cnnsi.com internet site.
Relatively Speaking Clemson’s success so far this year could be tied to the fact that many Tiger players have a sports-related pedigree. There are 12 players on the Clemson team who are related to someone with playing or coaching ties to college or professional sports. The list includes leading tackler Keith Adams, who is the son of Julius Adams, who played 16 years with the New England Patriots.
The list also includes Joe Don Reames, whose brother Britt is a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals. While Joe Don was returning punts, helping Clemson to the win over N.C. State on Oct.7, Britt was gaining the win for the Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Playoffs.
Big Day for Reames Family Clemson receiver and punt returner Joe Don Reames returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of Clemson’s 31-10 victory over Virginia. It was an important score, bringing the Tigers to a 10-10 tie at the time.
That was the first kick return for a touchdown in the Tommy Bowden era at Clemson (16 games). It was the first Clemson punt return for a score since the last regular season game of 1997 when Tony Horne raced 40 yards for a score at South Carolina. Clemson has not had a kickoff return for a touchdown since 1990.
Reames has 23 punt returns for 281 yards this season and ranks 24th in the nation with a 12.22 average. His score at Charlottesville was an entertaining run in that he changed directions four times. He resembled the cartoon character “The Roadrunner” on that return. It is a fitting comparison because Reames has a tatoo of the character on his left leg.
Reames was one of two members of his family to receive headlines in the sports page on Sunday morning, Sept. 24. His brother, Britt Reames, pitched the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field that same day. The Cardinals final out and Joe Don’s punt return took place within a half hour of each other.
The Reames family resides in nearby Seneca and Britt is a frequent visitor to Clemson football practices when he is not in season. We wouldn’t be surprised if he comes to the Gator Bowl to root on the Tigers.
Clemson Records Set in 2000 Clemson established 40 school records during the 2000 season. That included 30 individual records and 10 team records. A total of 35 of the 40 records were set on offense. Clemson set 38 school records in Tommy Bowden’s first season, including 26 on offense. Only one of the 38 records set in 1999 was broken in 2000 (single game rushing yards by a quarterback). In other words, in Tommy Bowden’s two years at Clemson the Tigers have set 77 school records, 60 that deal with the offensive side of the football.
Tigers from Florida Clemson has 12 players on its roster from the state of Florida, 11 of whom are expected to play against Virginia Tech. Freshman Ronnie Delusme is being red-shirted this year. Some of Clemson’s top players are from the Sunshine State, including six players who could start the game for the Tigers.
Rod Gardner heads the list of Tigers from Florida. He is Clemson’s top receiver with 51 catches for the season and 159 for his career. He needs four catches to become Clemson’s career receiving leader. He attended Raines High in Jacksonville, one of three Tigers from that high school. Thus, Gardner and defensive back Darrel Crutchfield have the unusual situation of playing his final college game in his hometown.
Crutchfield and starting wide receiver Kevin Youngblood are also from Raines. Raines has been good to Clemson in the past. Recent Tigers Brian Dawkins and Patrick Sapp, were both alums from Raines. Dawkins is now a Pro Bowl safety with the Eagles.
Three Tigers are from Shanks High in Quincy, FL. The list includes Willie Simmons. Ronnie Thomas and Charles Harper are two more Shanks alums who will be playing for the Tigers. Other Clemson starters from Florida include Alex Ardley (CB), and Theo Mougros (OG).
Clemson Attendance Second Highest on Record in 2000 Nearly 550,000 fans came to the seven home football games at Death Valley in 2000, the second highest attendance total in school history. Clemson Ticket Manager Van Hilderbrand announced official attendance figures for Clemson’s seven home games on Dec. 1. The Tigers drew 548,647 people for the seven home games, an average of 78, 378. The attendance total is the second highest on record, topped only by the 1987 season when 602,526 fans came to a record eight home games.
Clemson’s average for the 2000 season marked the second straight year that Clemson has averaged at least 78,000 fans per game. That is the first time since 1989 and 1990 that Clemson has had back-to-back seasons with an average of at least 78,000 fans on average. Overall, the 78,378 average this season was the fifth highest on record.
The Clemson vs. South Carolina game drew a crowd of 85,187, the third highest attendance in the history of Death Valley. Only the 1999 Florida State game (86,092) and the 1994 South Carolina game (85,872) are higher. The Maryland game on Oct. 14 drew 83,752, the eighth highest attendance in Clemson history.
Speck Named Tatupu Special Teams Award Finalist Clemson defensive back Chad Speck was named one of five finalists for the 2000 Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Award. The winner will be announced at the 2001 Hula Bowl on the Island of Maui. The award is named after the former Southern California player who starred on special teams throughout his career.
Speck is tied for first in Clemson history in career special teams tackles with 45. He has 16 this year to key a Clemson special teams defensive unit that has allowed just 7.4 yards per punt return and 20.0 on kickoff returns this year.
The free safety has 30 tackles in his 11 games overall this season. He has been a key special teams player for the Tigers since 1997 when he became the first Tiger in history to return a blocked punt for a touchdown in a bowl game. He accomplished that against Auburn in the 1998 Peach Bowl.
Speck is an outstanding all-around student-athlete. He serves as the president of LIFELINE, Clemson’s football leadership organization, and he has a 3.84 career grade point average. He has never missed a game for the Tigers, playing 46 in a row over four years.
Speck is the fifth different Clemson player to be named a finalist or semifinalist for a national award. Earlier, Keith Adams was named a finalist for the Butkus Award. Robert Carswell was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award and Rod Gardner was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award. Finally, quarterback Woodrow Dantzler was named one of eight semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award.
Adams on Display at College Football Hall of Fame Clemson linebacker Keith Adams is one of 10 active players featured in the “Race for the Pantheon 2000” exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana. The display, located in the main exhibit hall, includes Adam’s jersey and photos of the Clemson junior linebacker. It was unveiled Sept. 8.
The “Race for the Pantheon Display” features what the College Football Hall of Fame considers to be the top 10 players in college football. Adams was the only linebacker listed and is one of four juniors involved. He is a first-team preseason All-American for 2000 after earning All-America honors last year as a sophomore when he led the nation in tackles for loss and total tackles.
Five Clemson Players On Award Lists Robert Carswell and Woodrow Dantzler were all named finalists or semifinalists for national position awards on Nov. 12. Adams, Clemson’s All-America linebacker, was named one of three finalists for the Butkus Award. Earlier, Rod Gardner was named a semifinalist (one of 10) for the Biletnikoff Award, while special teams player Chad Speck was named a finalist for the Mosi Tatupu Award.
Carswell was listed among 12 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, which is presented to the top defensive back in the nation, while Dantzler was named one of eight semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is give to the nation’s top quarterback. This is the first time in history Clemson has had five different players listed as semifinalists or better for national player position awards. Additionally, running back Travis Zachery was named to the midseason Doak Walker Award list.
Clemson had a pair of semifinalists in 1997 when Tony Horne was among the final 10 for the Biletnikoff and Anthony Simmons was one of the top 10 for the Butkus. Clemson also had two top five players according to position rankings in 1990. Levon Kirkland was listed among the final five for the Butkus and Stacy Long was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy.
Adams joined Rocky Calmus of Oklahoma and Dan Morgan of Miami (FL) among the finalists for the Butkus Award. Dantzler is Clemson’s first quarterback in history to rank among the semifinalists for a national award. Dantzler was joined on the list by Drew Brees of Purdue, Eric Crouch of Nebraska, Joey Harrington of Oregon, Josh Heupel of Oklahoma, Marques Tuiasosopo of Washington, Michael Vick of Virginia Tech and Chris Weinke of Florida State. Carswell, who ranks fourth on the Clemson team in tackles with 80 and is Clemson’s career leader among defensive backs in that area, was among 12 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award. The other semifinalists for that award included Will Allen of Syracuse, Leo Barnes of Southern Miss, James Boyd of Penn State, Gary Baxter of Baylor, Nate Clements of Ohio State, Nijrell Eason of Arizona State, Jamar Fletcher of Wisconsin, Andre Lott of Tennessee, Dwight Smith of Akron, Fred Smoot of Mississippi State and J.T. Thatcher of Oklahoma.
Clemson Kyle Young Named First Team Academic All-Americans Clemson starting middle linebacker Chad Carson and starting center Kyle Young were both named 2000 Verizon Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Clemson was the only NCAA Division I School to have two first-team All-America selections this year. This is the second year in Clemson football history that the program has had two Academic All-America selections in the same season. The only other time was in 1999 when the same two players were chosen.
Carson of Newnan, GA has a 3.94 career GPA in biological sciences. He has made just one “B” in his academic career. Young, a native of Clemson, SC has a 3.97 career GPA in secondary education. Young is a senior academically, but a junior on the field.
“Kyle Young have worked hard and being presented with this honor recognizes this hard work”, said Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. “Both manage their academics and football very well. They set an inspiring example for our players on the field and in the classroom.”
Now a two-time first team All-America selection, Young was a major contributor to the success of the Clemson offense. His leadership on the field played a major part in Clemson’s average of 446.5 yards per game, highest in school history. He had 106 knockdown blocks at center, most ever by a Clemson center. Young was named first-team All-ACC and second team All-American by Sporting News and Football News.
Young is just the second two-time first-team Academic All-America selection in Clemson history. He joins Steve Fuller (1977-78) with that distinction. He was also an All-American on the field. He is just the third Clemson football player in history to be named Academic All-American and on-field All-American in the same year, join Fuller (1978) and Lou Cordileone (1959).
Carson a second-team Academic American in 1999, finished the season with 146 tackles, averaging 13.3 per game. That figure ranked first on the Clemson team and second in the ACC. He had nine tackles for loss and three sacks during the 2000 seasons. He had nine games of 10 or more tackles, with a season high of 22 versus Georgia Tech. He went over the 300 tackle mark in the South Carolina game. He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the week twice this year.
Clemson in the Preseason Polls Clemson was ranked in the top 25 of just about every preseason Top 25 poll. The highest ranking Clemson received gained the most publicity. The Tigers were ranked eighth by Sports Illustrated. Associated Press, the oldest and one of the two major weekly polls, had Clemson 17th. The USA Today Coaches poll has Clemson 19th in its preseason rankings. Clemson is ranked 13th by USA Today and 16th by AP entering the Gator Bowl.
Final Game for 19 Clemson Seniors Clemson’s 19 seniors (15 on scholarship and four walk-ons) are heading down the home stretch with just a bowl game remaining. These seniors have been the corps that has provided one of the great comebacks in school history. The Tigers have gone from three wins in 1998 to six wins in 1999 to nine wins so far in 2000. The thrilling win over South Carolina meant Clemson increased its win total by at least three wins in consecutive years for just the third time in school history. Clemson did that from 1926 -1928 and from 1976 -1978.
This year’s senior class features wide receiver Rod Gardner, who needs just four receptions to become Clemson’s career leader in that area. Fellow receiver Justin Watts will receive his fifth varsity letter this year, the first Clemson player to do that since Stumpy Banks in 1917. The offensive seniors also include two year starters Theo Mougros and Terry Witherspoon.
Robert Carswell is the senior defensive leader. He has 362 career tackles, more than any other defensive back in Clemson history and seventh best in school records overall. The senior defenders include three-year starter Terry Jolly and Jason Holloman.
As a team, this class has helped Clemson to a pair of second place ACC finishes, three bowl games and 25 total victories. This class also became just the 10th in Clemson history to defeat South Carolina four straight years. The Clemson classes that were 4-0 against the rival Gamecocks were the senior of 1900, 1919, 1930, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1983, 1991 and 2000.
Tigers Look for 10-Win Regular Season Another significant accomplishment for this senior class would be to leave with a 10-win season. Clemson has not won 10 win season since 1990 when Clemson was 10-2, the fourth straight 10-2 season for the Clemson program. This year’s team is already the first since 1993 to have nine wins and the first to get nine regular season victories since 1991.
A total of seven Clemson teams have won at least 10 games in a season. The list of teams to accomplish this feat are: 1948 (10-0), 1978 (11-1), 1981 (12-0), 1987 (10-2), 1988 (10-2), 1989 (10-2), 1990 (10-2).
Bowden Semifinalist for Coaching Award Clemson’s Tommy Bowden took over a 3-8 team and took the Tigers to a bowl game in his first year. Clemson has improved on that victory total by three more so far this year, giving Clemson it first nine-win season since 1993. With a #13 ranking heading into the Gator Bowl, Clemson is virtually assured of its first top 25 finish since 1993.
As a result, Bowden was listed as semifinalists for the Football News National Coach of the Year. The other nine coaches on the list are Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech, Lou Holtz of South Carolina, Mike Bellotti of Oregon, Bob Davie of Notre Dame, Dennis Franchione of TCU, Rick Neuheisel of Washington, Gary Nord of UTEP, bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Randy Walker of Northwestern.
Clemson’s Improvement on Offense Significant Clemson has made a significant improvement in many offensive areas since Tommy Bowden came to Clemson. Clemson scoring is up 82 percent, total offense is up 46 percent, rushing yards have increased 96 percent and touchdowns per game is up 90 percent when compared to the season before the Bowden era opened at Clemson.
Most importantly, the victory total has gone from 3 to nine, an improvement of 200 percent. Below is a chart that shows Clemson’s stats for 2000 compared to the per game stats for the 1998 season.
Gardner Needs 8 Catches for All-Time Record Rod Gardner needs just four catches to become Clemson’s career leader in total receptions. He enters the Gator Bowl with 159 career receptions, second best in Clemson history. Only Terry Smith (162) has more. In the win over North Carolina, the native of Jacksonville, FL had seven catches for a school record 182 yards and a school record tying three touchdowns. He averaged 26 yards a catch in that game. His yardage total broke the record of 163 yards by Ring of Honor member Jerry Butler at Georgia Tech in 1977.
Gardner enters the Virginia Tech game ranked third in Clemson history in total receiving yards. He went ahead of all-time great Jerry Butler with 75 receiving yards at Florida State. The 6-3 Gardner, who will need to pass just one course in the second semester to graduate, had five catches for a career high148 yards against Maryland and 10 catches for 137 in the win over NC State.
Gardner now has a streak of 29 straight games with at least one catch, 27 in a row with at least two.
Gardner was one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, the honor given to the top receiver in the nation. In the South Carolina game he had 4-107 yards, including a 50-yard catch from Woodrow Dantzler with 10 seconds left that set up the game-winning field goal. Gardner fought off three South Carolina defenders to make the catch. That catch, the final of his career in Death Valley, gave him a 100-yard receiving game, the ninth of his Clemson career. That set a school record for 100-yard reception games in a career. Gardner needs just 96 yards against Virginia Tech to reach the 2500 yard mark for his career. He needs just 44 yards receiving in the Gator Bowl to reach 1000 for the season. He had 1084 yards last year, the first 1000-yard receiving season in Clemson history.
Zachery Reaches1000-yard season Clemson running back Travis Zachery, a midseason addition to the Doak Walker Award list, became the eighth different player in Clemson history to have at least 1000 yards rushing in a season. A 1000-yard rushing season had been achieved just eight times previous. Raymond Priester did it twice, 1996 and 1997, then had 956 yards rushing in 1997. Zachery had 21-84 and a touchdown against South Carolina to reach the magic figure. He has 1012 entering the Gator Bowl.
Zachery has averaged 92 yards rushing per game this year. He reached 1000 yards with just three games of at least 100 yards. His high was 29-151 and two scores against Maryland. He was not held under 67 yards in a game all year.
For the season, Zachery has 13 rushing touchdowns and four receiving for a total of 17. He tied the single season Clemson record of 17 held by Lester Brown with a rushing touchdown in the South Carolina game. Zachery now has 38 touchdowns for his career, 33 rushing and five receiving. He has the Clemson career record in both areas. Zachery is also Clemson’s career record holder in receptions by a running back. He now has 58 total receptions for his three years, 13 more than any other running back in Clemson history. His total for the season is 27 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns. The 27 receptions are the best single season figure in Clemson history. Zachery ended the season ranked in the top 50 in the nation in three categories. The junior was 14th in the nation in scoring (9.3 points per game), 38th in rushing (92.0), and 44th in all-purpose running yards per game (120.9).
Clemson on Record Pace in Terms of Scoring Clemson is scoring points at a modern record rate through the regular season. The Tigers rank 14th in the nation in scoring with an average of 36.0 points per game. The overall school record for scoring average per game is 38.0 set back in 1901 by John Heisman’s second Tiger team. The modern record is 32.9 points a game by the 1950 team. Clemson set two school records against Georgia Tech. The Tigers scored four touchdowns, giving Clemson 51 for the season. That broke the previous mark of 48 set by Clemson’s 1950 team. Ironically, that team was honored prior to the Georgia Tech game. Clemson now has 53 touchdowns entering the Virginia Tech game.
Clemson also set the season record for total points scored in the Tech game. The 28 points gave Clemson 373 for the season. That broke the previous best of 368 set in 1978 and 1989. Clemson enters the Gator Bowl with 396.
The Tigers have three games of at least 50 points this year, just the second Clemson team in history to do that. The 1950 team is the only other Clemson team to record three games of at least 50 points. Clemson’s 52 points at Duke were the sixth most ever on an opponent’s home field, most since 1984 when Clemson beat Virginia, 55-0. Clemson scored 62 in the win over Missouri, most by any Clemson team since 1981 when the Tigers beat Wake Forest 82-24.
Clemson’s 2000 Tigers scored at least 28 points in each of the first nine games of the season. That included a streak of eight straight 30-point games to open the season, a Clemson record for consecutive 30-point games at any juncture of the season.
Clemson can set a school record for touchdown passes in a season with one against Virginia Tech. This team has 17, the same total as the 1984 club.
Simmons Ties Clemson Record Freshman quarterback Willie Simmons came off the bench to complete 10 of 18 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Tigers to a 38-24 victory at North Carolina on Oct. 21. He entered the game with six minutes left in the first half and took the Tigers to 38 points in his 36 minutes of play.Simmons connected on scoring passes of 29 yards to Rod Gardner just before halftime. Then, in the second half, he led the Tigers to 24 points, completing two more touchdown passes (43, 25 yards) to Gardner.
Simmons tied the Clemson record for touchdown passes in a single game with his four against North Carolina. The record is also held by Bobby Gage against Auburn in 1947 and by Nealon Greene against UTEP in 1997. It was obviously a record for a non-starter.
The freshman from Quincy, FL nearly led the Tigers to victory off the bench against Georgia Tech. He connected with Gardner on an 18-yard scoring pass with 1:52 remaining to give Clemson a 28-24 lead. But, Tech came back to score with just seven seconds left and beat the Tigers, 31-28.
For the Tech game, Simmons was 9-18 for 131 yards and a score. For the season, Simmons is now 36-80 for 616 yards. He has thrown for seven scores and has just two interceptions, one a desparation pass on the final play against Georgia Tech. He is averaging 17.1 yards per completion. His passing efficiency for the season is 133.6, just a bit below Woodrow Dantzler’s 134.5
Simmons passing efficiency for the North Carolina game was the fifth best in Clemson history given a minimum of 15 attempts. His efficiency figure for the game was 235.29, best by a Tiger since… .Woodrow Dantzler had a record 247.21 efficiency rating for the season opener against The Citadel. Thus, two of the top five individual efficiency games in Clemson history have taken place this year. Simmons performance at Chapel Hill was the best ever by a Clemson quarterback on the road.
Clemson Overcomes 17-point Deficit Clemson overcame a 17-0 deficit to defeat North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Oct. 21. That was only the third time in school history that the Tigers overcame that large a deficit to win, the first time since 1992. Rod Gardner led the Clemson comeback to the eventual 38-24 triumph.
The only two other games in which Clemson overcame that large a deficit were both against Virginia. In 1992, Clemson trailed the Cavaliers 28-0 with two minutes left in the half. Clemson, behind quarterback Louis Solomon, went on a 29-0 run to win 29-28. Nelson Welsh kicked the game-winning field goal from 32 yards with 52 seconds left.
In 1966, in another game against Virginia, the Tigers trailed the Cavs 35-18 with just 18 minutes left. But, Clemson went on a 22-0 run over the last 18 minutes of the contest to win 40-35. That game was played in Death Valley.
The Clemson record for the greatest comeback in the fourth quarter also took place at Virginia. In the 1980 contest on the road, Clemson trailed 24-10 entering the final period. But, Clemson scored a pair of touchdowns, then Obed Ariri kicked a 52-yard field goal with three seconds left to give Clemson a 27-24 win.
Clemson 2-1 in Close Games Clemson had a 2-1 record in games decided by seven points or less this year. The first victory was a 34-27 triumph over N.C. State. Charles Hafley batted away an N.C. State pass with a couple minutes left, then Clemson ran out the clock with its rushing game to claim the victory.
Clemson’s second win by a close margin was the 16-14 win over South Carolina. Aaron Hunt booted a 25-yard field goal with just three seconds left to give the Tigers the win. His kick was set up by a 50-yard pass from Woodrow Dantzler to Rod Gardner to the South Carolina eight. It was the latest score by Clemson to win a game since 1987 when David Treadwell kicked a 21-yard field goal with two seconds left to beat Georgia, 21-20.
It was important for Clemson to win a close game this year. The Tigers were 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less in 1999 and had lost 13 in a row by seven or less prior to the win over N.C. State.
Tigers Over 200 Rushing and Passing Offensive balance usually means victory for the Clemson Tigers. Over the years, Clemson is 33-0-1 in games in which the Tigers have at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game. Along the same lines, averaging at least 200 rushing and 200 passing per game over a season would certainly indicate a successful season.
No team in Clemson history has ever averaged 200 of each in the same year. The closest a Clemson team has come to doing it took place in 1984 when Clemson averaged 211.5 rushing and 169 a game passing. That was a team quarterbacked by Mike Eppley, now a color commentator on Clemson’s radio network.
This 2000 Clemson team is the first team in school history to have at least 2000 yards rushing and 2000 yards passing in the same season. Clemson enters the Gator Bowl with 2600 rushing and 2311 passing. Currently, Clemson is averaging 236.4 yards a game rushing and 210.1 passing. The Tigers are one of six teams at the Division I level averaging at least 200 of each per game. The others are Northwestern, Michigan, Akron, Boston College and Iowa State.
Tigers Had 8 Straight 400-yard, 30-point Games Led by Woodrow Dantzler, center Kyle Young, running back Travis Zachery and wide receiver Rod Gardner, Clemson gained at least 400 yards and scored at least 30 points in each of the first eight games this year. This was the first time in history that Clemson had eight consecutive 400-yard total offense games. Georgia Tech broke the streak, holding Clemson to 354 yards of total offense on 28 points on Oct. 28.
Clemson has already set a school record for 400-yard games in a season with eight. Three Clemson teams (1950, 1978 and 1982) had seven 400-yard games in one season. Clemson has also averaged at least five yards per play in each of the first nine games, also a first in Clemson history.
In four of the 11 games, Clemson had at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Clemson is undefeated in its history when it has at least 200 of each. Clemson is now 33-0-1 in its history when gaining at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game. Clemson has done that 200-double 34 times in its history, six in the last 22 games under Bowden after doing it just 28 times in its first 985 games.
Mance Records 88-yard Punt Return Clemson won the ACC championship in punt returns this year and is ranked 14th in the nation in that area. Clemson is averaging 15.0 yards per return on 35 attempts. Part of the reason has been the performance of Joe Don Reames and Brian Mance. Both have punt returns for touchdowns this year. Reames had a 59-yard return for a score at Virginia, while Mance had an 88-yarder against Georgia Tech. Reams has a 12.2 average this year and ranks 24th in the nation.
Mance’s return against Tech tied for the fourth longest in school history and was the longest by a Tiger since 1991 when Darnell Stephens went 89 yards against Maryland. Mance finished the game with 3 returns for 105 yards. That was just the seventh 100-yard punt return game in Clemson history, first since Tony Horne had 107 yards against UTEP in 1997.
Mance has had an active year. He had three takeaways, two interceptions and a fumble recovery, in the win over Missouri. That tied a Clemson single game record for takeaways. Mance has six punt returns for a 32-yard average. He does not have enough returns to qualify for hte national rankings.
The Tigers already have 524 punt return yards, already the most by a Clemson team in a season since 1991 when Clemson had 555 yards. The single season record is 720 set by the 1987 Tiger team.
Middle and End of Century Means Strong Clemson Team It is interesting to note that the beginning and middle of a century means a special season at Clemson. John Heisman’s 1900 teams was 6-0, then Frank Howard’s 1950 team finished with a 9-0-1 ledger and a #10 final ranking. This is the 50-year anniversary of that season and that club was honored at the Georgia Tech game on Oct. 28. Now we are in the year 2000 and Clemson has an 9-2 record.
The Tigers opened 6-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1983. Clemson finished tied for second in the ACC this year with a 6-2 mark, the second straight year the Tigers can make that claim. This will be the first time since 1990-91 that Clemson has finished in the top two in the ACC in consecutive years.
Adams Moves Up the ChartsKeith Adams reached a landmark in his Clemson career in the win over South Carolina. The native of College Park, GA had two tackles for loss, giving him an even 53 for his career. The Butkus Award finalist moved ahead of Anthony Simmons into third place on the Clemson all-time list. He now trails only the Perry Brothers, Michael Dean and William on the all-time Clemson list. He also has 22 career sacks, tied for fourth in school history.
Adams was named ACC Player of the Week for his performance against North Carolina. In addition to getting 15 tackles, he caused a fumble and had his first career interception. With Clemson leading by just seven points late in the fourth period, he intercepted a Ronald Curry pass and returned it 27 yards to the North Carolina two-yard-line. Adams finished the regular season in fine style with 16 tackles and two tackles for loss and a caused fumble against South Carolina. The first-team All-American was named ACC Player of the Week for his efforts.
Carson Takes Team Lead in Tackles While Keith Adams is a Finalist for the Butkus Award, it is Chad Carson who leads the Clemson team in tackles. The native of Georgia who competed against Adams in high school has 146 tackles for the season. He is averaging 13.3 tackles per game and a team best 4.7 plays per tackle. Carson ranks second in the ACC and in the top 10 in the nation in tackles.
Carson had a career-high 22 tackles against Georgia Tech, tied for the third highest single game tackle total in Clemson history. It was the third straight game he led Clemson in tackles and he has been the leader in five of the 10 games so far this season. The record is 27 by Adams against South Carolina last year, while Jeff Davis had 24 in 1980 against North Carolina. Bubba Brown had a pair of 22 tackle games, one in 1978 and another in 1979, and Jeff Davis had a 22-tackle game against Maryland in 1980. Overall, it was just the 12th game of at least 20 tackles by a Clemson individual in history. Carson, a 3.94 student in biological sciences and a future Rhodes Scholar candidate, was named first-team Academic All-American this year. Carson had 144 tackles last year, 10th highest figure in Clemson history. His 146 tackles this year, trumped that total. Thus, he now has two of the top 11 single season figures in Clemson history. For his career, Carson now has 301 tackles.
Adams, Carswell Both Among Clemson’s All-time Tackle Leaders Preseason first-team All-Americans Robert Carswell are both now ranked in the top 10 in Clemson history in career tackles. In fact, they are virtually neck and neck in the career standings. Adams has 138 for the season and now has 369 for his career. He had 16 in the loss at Florida State and moved ahead of Carswell. Clemson’s senior safety had 11 tackles in the Florida State and South Carolina games and now has 362 for his career, including 80 this season. He had double figures in each of the last three games. As you can see by the chart below, Adams is now sixth in Clemson history, while Carswell is seventh. Carswell’s total is the most ever by a defensive back. Next on the list for both players is Randy Scott, an All-ACC performer who had 382 and ranks fifth.
Young All-America Candidate On and Off the Field Center Kyle Young has been Clemson’s highest graded offensive lineman in nine of the 11 games this year. Young has been named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice, against Missouri when he had 10 knockdown blocks and graded 80 percent, and for his performance against Virginia, when he helped the Tigers to a 31-10 victory.
He played his finest game as a Clemson Tiger in the win at Virginia in the fourth game of the season. He registered a then career high 15 knockdown blocks, most by a Clemson lineman in seven years. He graded a career high 93 percent for his 65 plays and had a 100 percent grade in terms of effort from the Tiger offensive line coaches.
Young played another solid game against Maryland with 14 knockdown blocks and a 74 percent grade. For the year, he leads the team in knockdown blocks with 112. He has an average film grade of 83 percent for his 766 snaps this year. Young has started 27 consecutive games. Young was Clemson’s highest graded lineman in eight of the 12 games last year. The native of Clemson is the grandson of Ed McClendon, who was a member of Clemson’s 1939 Southern Conference Championship team. His brother, Will Young, was an All-ACC player for the Tigers in 1995. A first-team academic All-American each of the last two years as a red-shirt sophomore, he has a 3.97 career GPA. He is a big reason Clemson is 10th in the nation in rushing, 10th in total offense and 14th in scoring.
Clemson in top 25 in 9 Categories Clemson ranks in the top 25 in the nation in nine different team statistical categories. Clemson is in the top 10 in the nation in total offense and rushing offense. The number 10 finish in total offense is the best by a Clemson team since 1978 when Clemson was fourth in the nation.
Even though he has was injured over the last four games and missed 10 quarters for the year, Woodrow Dantzler still ranked in the top 50 in the country in rushing (47th), passing efficiency (21st), Total offense (29th), and points responsible for (25th). His favorite receiver, Rod Gardner, ranked 24th in receiving yards/game and Travis Zachery was 14th in scoring and 38th in rushing. Alex Ardley actually had the top individual finish. The junior was eighth in the nation in interceptions.
Ardley Ties School Record Cornerback Alex Ardley tied a Clemson record for interceptions in a game when he had three against Maryland on Oct. 14, the defensive highlight of Clemson’s 35-14 victory over the Terps. Ardley had 61 interception return yards on those three thefts.
The junior from Tallahassee, FL now has six interceptions this year and ranks tied for eighth in the nation in that category. He led the ACC in interceptions this year and was chosen first-team All-ACC. He was named ACC Defensive back of the week for his performance against South Carolina.
Ardley also had six tackles in the game, and now has 60 for the season. Ardley now has 12 interceptions for his Clemson career and ranks tied for third in school history. He had one for 26 yards and a touchdown at North Carolina in 1998, then had five a year ago to rank 20th in the nation.
The other Tigers who have had three interceptions in a game are Kit Jackson (vs. Wake Forest in 1965), Leomont Evans (vs. N.C. State in 1995), Brian Dawkins (vs. Duke in 1995). Ardley is the second Tiger this year to record three takeaways in a single game. Brian Mance had two interceptions and a fumble recovery against Missouri on Sept. 9.
Clemson Bowl Eligible Clemson had a very successful September. Clemson’s win at Duke gave the Tigers five wins in September for the first time ever. This was just the fourth month in school history in which Clemson won five games.
Clemson last had had a 5-0 month in November of 1991. Clemson used the perfect November to finish the regular season 9-1-1 and capture the ACC Championship. That was the last time Clemson won the ACC title.
Other 5-0 months are October of 1977 and October of 1981. Clemson ended the 1977 season with an 8-3-1 record and advanced to the Gator Bowl, Clemson’s first bowl season in 18 years. Clemson won the National Championship in 1981.
Clemson’s seventh win of the season, its sixth against a Division I team, made the Tigers bowl eligible. This is the earliest Clemson has been bowl eligible in terms of the calendar date. Clemson has been to 23 bowls in its history and has a 12-11 record in those bowl games. Clemson has been to a bowl game, 16 of the last 23 years.
Bowden’s Offense Averages 35.8 points a Game Offenses coached by Head Coach Tommy Bowden and coordinated by Rich Rodriguez have sustained a 35.8 scoring average over a 44-game period. When you take the offensive figures for Tulane in 1997-98 and Clemson the last 21 games you come up with some impressive numbers. Bowden has a 32-12 career record.
For the 44 games Bowden has been a head coach, his teams have averaged 35.8 points a game, 4.68 touchdowns per game and 435 yards of total offense per game. On average his team’s run 75.0 plays a game, 43.3 rushing plays and 31.7 pass attempts.
March 14, 2019