Clemson Pounds N.C. State Behind Dantzler

In a battle of teams that both needed a win, the Tigers came out on top Saturday afternoon 45-37 behind some great execution and even better play calling. The Clemson offense continued to improve on it's peformance in Atlanta two weeks ago, while the defense did a respectable job against one the nation's top quarterbacks in Phillip Rivers....and then there is Woody Dantzler.

The star of this football game was none other than Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler, who accounted for over 500-yards of total offense and played a near flawless game. Woody completed 23 of 27 passes for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, and ran for another 184 yards and 2 scores. Simply put, Woody was the man, and he showed for the 2nd consecutive game why he is the most exciting player to watch in college football.

Game Summary
The first half was one that featured several momentum swings as the Tigers and North Carolina State exchanged punches like they were in a heavyweight title bout. Quick scoring plays and big turnovers highlighted an exciting first half as the game started to resemble the shootouts you'd come to expect from these two teams.

Clemson rolled out of the gates early with a 4-play, 81-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Woody Dantzler scoring from 55-yards out. On what started out looking like an option play, Woody ran several steps to his right, and turned back to his left all the way across the field through a plethora of defenders for a beautiful touchdown run and a 7-0 Clemson lead.

After forcing a Wolfpack punt on their first possession, the Tigers methodically moved down the field, getting down to the N.C. State 29 yard line on a reverse to freshman WR Airese Currie. Unfortunately, a clipping penalty, followed by 2 consecutive sacks forced the Tigers into a punting situation.

In what seemed like a huge momentum killer, the snap on the punt went to the left of Wynn Kopp and rolled on down the field to the Clemson 9-yard line. 3 plays later, the game was tied at 7 when QB Phillip Rivers hit WR Jerricho Cotchery with a touchdown pass on a fade route.

Following a Travis Zachary fumble on the Tigers' next possession, Phillip Rivers hit Jerricho Cotchery once again in the endzone and North Carolina State jumped out to a suprising 14-7 lead.

Clemson responded though, as the defense would hold N.C. State to only a field goal the rest of the 1st half. Freshman TE Ben Hall, and WR Derrick Hamilton caught two beautiful touchdown passes from Woody Dantzler as the Tigers regained the lead at halftime 21-17.

At the start of the 2nd half, North Carolina State was unable to get a first down as the Tigers' defense continued to key on stopping the draw play to State RB Ray Robinson. Phillip Rivers also seemed to be slightly off-target, overthowing his receivers on several occasions.

Meanwhile, the Tigers moved quickly down the field on their first possession of the 2nd half, as the brilliant play calling continued by the Clemson coaching staff. Travis Zachary caught a wide open 22-yard touchdown pass from Woody Dantzler and it seemed like Clemson would blow the game wide open.

The following series saw Clemson defensive back Eric Meekins break up a sure touchdown on a halfback pass and DE Donnell Washington sacked Phillip Rivers to force another 3 and out. Following a 40 yard pass from Dantzler to Zachary, Woody scampered in from 8-yards out for a commanding 35-17 lead midway through the 3rd quarter.

North Carolina State answered as Jerricho Cotchery caught his third touchdown pass, this time on a successful halfback pass from WR Peterson for a wide open touchdown. Following the miss on the extra point, Clemson still maintained a 35-23 lead.

As N.C. State began to gamble more to try and neutralize the explosive Clemson offense, it was only a matter of time before there were too many game-breaking plays to overcome.

Woody Danztler ran a quarterback draw on 2nd and 14 from the N.C. State 47 and ran all the way down to the 7-yard line. On the run, It appeared the Wolfpack defenders had him stopped on 4 or 5 occasions, but it didn't matter. In almost a Bo Jackson like effort, Dantzler broke the back of the N.C. State defense. Two plays later Woody nailed Chad Jasmin for a 4-yard touchdown pass, again off of play-action, to complete a 7-play 93-yard scoring drive.

After the Tigers' defense held on 3 plays, Brian Mance fumbled the punt and N.C. State took advantage by scoring from 39-yards out on 4 plays. Phillip Rivers threw another scoring pass, but the 2-point try failed, and Clemson maintained a 13-point advantage with 12:51 remaining in the game.

On the following possession, it was time for Airese Currie to step into the spot light, and boy did he ever.

Currie caught a 78-yard pass in stride, dragging two State defenders down to the 2-yard line as Clemson once again looked to deflate the North Carolina State sideline. The Wolfpack defense stepped up though and held Dantzler on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line.

Ryan Hemby then intercepted a Phillip Rivers pass on the following possesion to realistically end any hopes of another Wolfpack rally. From there, Derrick Hamilton took a inside shovel pass on a reverse and raced 21 yards, but North Carolina State held the Tigers and Aaron Hunt kicked a 32-yard field for a 45-29 lead.

The Wolfpack went into their hurry-up offense and twice converted on 4th-down on their final possession, the last conversion for a touchdown to produce the final score of 45-38. After recovering the onside kick, Clemson ran the clock out and locked up the win.

If anything, the final score was not indicative of how the Tigers' dominated this football game. Three costly turnovers led directly to 3 N.C. State touchdowns, otherwise this game would have clearly been a blowout. "There for a while we were self-destructing, but we turned it around in the 2nd half," said Tommy Bowden after the game.

Tommy Bowden Quotes:
"We had some great blocking by the offensive line and by the wide receivers downfield, and that played a big role in the win, even though we got some holding penalties."

On the Purple Pants:
"I hate looking like Virginia, Illinois, and Syracuse and I want to eliminate all the blue on the field. Orange, white and purple are the school colors anyway. The players wanted to do it and I thought we looked pretty good....Woody must have liked it."

Indeed he did, and the Tigers can now look forward to a homecoming rumble with the North Carolina Tarheels next weekend.

Injury Report:
Bernard Rambert went out late in the third quarter with a minor ankle sprain but was cleared to play in the 4th quarter.

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