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Peppers And Tar Heel Defense Gear Up To Stop Dantzler, Tigers In ACC Clash

Peppers And Tar Heel Defense Gear Up To Stop Dantzler, Tigers In ACC Clash

Oct. 17, 2001

(AP) – The North Carolina defense must find a way to contain Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler on Saturday if the Tar Heels are to extend their winning streak to five games.

Dantzler has been unstoppable in his last two games and was named Atlantic Coast Conference offensive back of the week Monday after racking up 518 yards of total offense against North Carolina State last Saturday.

Dantzler completed 23 of 27 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He broke seven school records in the game and became the school’s all-time leader in total offense as the Tigers (4-1, 2-1 ACC) beat the Wolfpack 45-37.

With no clear-cut Heisman Trophy candidate, Dantzler’s efforts the last few weeks may push his name up the list of hopefuls.

“I think the award needs to be won on the field,” Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. “Performances like this will definitely get out. This will get people’s attention. He’s had 300, 400 and 500 yard games his last three.”

Dantzler also became the first quarterback in ACC history to record 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing in a career. He broke a 54-year-old Clemson record by accounting for six touchdowns as the Tigers overcame 20 penalties.

The Heisman hopeful has averaged 467.5 yards of total offense and scored 10 touchdowns in Clemson’s last two games.

Dantzler was a non-factor in the Tiger’s 38-24 win over North Carolina last year. Dantzler was knocked out of the game in the first half with a foot injury.

After a dismal 0-3 start, North Carolina (4-3, 3-1) has rebounded to win four straight games. The Tar Heels defense has held the opposition to 17.5 points a game during the streak after allowing Texas to score 44 points against them in a 44-14 loss on Sept. 8.

North Carolina’s three wins have come against unranked teams and Tar Heels head coach Jim Bunting knows it will be difficult to contain the shifty Dantzler.

“Thirteen players and a crystal ball,” said Bunting about Dantzler on Tuesday. “That’s the only way I know how to defend him.”

Sophomore Andre’ Williams ran for 147 yards and a touchdown, and free safety Dexter Reid scored on a 67-yard interception return as North Carolina beat Virginia 30-24 on Saturday. Reid, who also had eight tackles, was named the league’s top defensive back on Monday.

The four-game winning streak is the Tar Heels’ longest since they won 10 straight from 1996-97.

North Carolina, which started slowly in its first six games, got going quickly against Virginia. The Tar Heels had 312 yards by halftime and finished with a season-high 477.

Clemson holds a 31-17-1 advantage in the series with North Carolina that dates to 1897, the second year of football at Clemson.