Oct 20, 2001
Quotes | Stats | Audio
By PETE IACOBELLIAP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Julius Peppers and North Carolina held Woodrow Dantzler to 118 yards in the Tar Heels’ 38-3 victory over No. 13 Clemson on Saturday.
Peppers had a remarkable interception and North Carolina held Clemson’s Heisman hopeful to one of his worst games with 118 yards in the Tar Heels 38-3 victory over the 13th-ranked Tigers on Saturday.
“He had 900-something yards the past two games but we’re better than that,” said Peppers, the 6-foot-6, 285 pound end. “Our defense is better than that.”
They proved it against Clemson (4-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) to win their fifth straight after opening 0-3.
Peppers tipped Dantzler’s pass and lunged for the interception, which led to the first of Bosley Allen’s two touchdown catches. The rest of the time, North Carolina (5-3, 4-1) never gave Dantzler the chance to dazzle them like he did Georgia Tech and North Carolina the past two games.
“That’s typical Julius,” Tar Heels lineman Ryan Sims said. “It looks impossible, but he does it.”
Dantzler’s had a career of making the impossible probable. The latest examples came the past month as he accounted for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns in Clemson victories at Georgia Tech and North Carolina State.
In this one, Dantzler had few magic moments. He and the team heard the boos several times from the homecoming crowd of 84,000 at Death Valley.
“Right now, a lot of people want to throw us in the back barn,” Dantzler said. “But we don’t see that. We’ve got to play for each other.”
To ram home that point, Dantzler called a players meeting after the game. “That was a team issue right there,” he said. “Did I call it? Yeah.”
The Tar Heels, who had tied Wake Forest’s comeback streak of 1970 with last week’s victory over Virginia, became the first ACC school to win five in a row after starting 0-3.
Dantzler was replaced by backup Willie Simmons with 8 seconds to go in the third quarter and did not return for the Tigers. Dantzler was 10-of-25 for 73 yards passing and had 12 rushes for 43 yards.
Both North Carolina quarterbacks, freshman Darian Durant and senior Ronald Curry, played more like” Dantzler than Dantzler.
Durant was 11-for-11 for 97 yards. He threw a 22-yard TD pass to Bosley following Pepper’s interception and rushed for scores of 5 and 1 yard in the second half.
Curry, before leaving with a left hamstring strain in the third quarter, ran for 82 yards and passed for 109, including a 48-yard touchdown to Bosley as the Tar Heels led 21-3.
North Carolina, led by Peppers, held the ACC’s top offense to 209 yards – less than half its 455-yard average.
“We weren’t going to change nothing for Woody,” Peppers said. “We knew if we played our defense, we could stop them.”
Clemson lost its second straight game at Death Valley for the first time in coach Tommy Bowden’s three seasons. It’s also the first time Bowden’s offense was held without a touchdown since he joined the Tigers.
“There was no special scheme,” said first-year North Carolina coach John Bunting, a former defensive assistant for the St. Louis Rams. “We just attacked the blocks with vision on the ball carrier.”
Dantzler led the Tigers into North Carolina territory four times in the first half and could only manage Aaron Hunt’s career-long 48-yard field goal.
Peppers sacked Dantzler on third down to stop the Tigers’ first series, while back-to-back incompletions by Dantzler halted the next.
Peppers then made the play of the game to set up North Carolina’s second touchdown, tipping Dantzler’s pass high and then lunging for his third interception this year. Three plays later, Durant hit Allen with a 22-yard TD pass.
Dantzler was held to 36 yards rushing and 8-of-18 passing for 62 yards in the opening half. He was 2-of-7 for 13 yards and had 7 yards rushing in the third quarter before Simmons came in.
“They did some things because of their defensive ability,” Bowden said. “A lot of it was them, they made it tough to execute.”
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