Aug. 31, 2008
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ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) – Nick Saban’s plan to bring No. 24 Alabama back to prominence looks way ahead of schedule. As for No. 9 Clemson, another big game ended with the Tigers on the losing end.
The Crimson Tide had little trouble rolling past Clemson 34-10 at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night, the biggest victory in coach Saban’s two seasons at Alabama.
Alabama’s defense held Clemson to zero rushing yards and John Parker Wilson threw for two touchdowns as Alabama beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since topping No. 5 Florida in 2005. That was part of the last hurrah for former coach Mike Shula, who followed that 10-2 season with a 6-7 campaign that ended his time with the Tide.
Wilson finished 22-of-30 for 180 yards and, with his career total completions now at 500, surpassed Brodie Croyle’s old record of 488.
The Tigers managed only 188 yards, way off their 403-yard average from last season.
Right from the start, though, Alabama showed it matched up fine with the ACC’s favorite.
The Tide ran the ball easily on Clemson’s defense, which was ninth in the country a season ago. At one point, Alabama had outgained the Tigers 114-1. By the time, tight end Nick Walker had slipped behind three defenders for a 4-yard TD catch, Alabama was ahead 20-3 midway through the second quarter.
Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper, voted the favorite to win ACC player of the year, was continually pressured and off target throughout.
The Tigers, down 23-3 at the half, got a burst of life when Spiller broke for a 96-yard kickoff return TD to start the second half, then forced the Tide into their first punt of the night a series later.
Clemson, though, could get little going and, for the second time in eight months, left the Georgia Dome with more questions and answers.
The Tigers just can’t help but stumble whenever they close in on success.
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