Defense Dominates Saturday

Wide receiver Michael Collins caught two touchdown passes to lead the offense and defensive end Charles Bennett had two sacks and three pass deflections at the line of scrimmage to highlight Clemson's Orange and White Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The two-and-half hour event ended Clemson's Spring practice season. The Tigers will open the 2004 season with a home game against Wake Forest on September 4.

The offense vs. defense scrimmage featured many outstanding plays by Clemson defenders. The offense scored just two touchdowns and kicked a pair of field goals. The Clemson pass defense allowed just 22 completions in 58 attempts for 371 yards, just 6.4 yards per attempt. The defense had three interceptions and forced four turnovers overall.

"We had a lot of passes deflected at the line of scrimmage," said Bowden. "I am not sure if that had to do with a lack of pass rush. Our offensive linemen might have been reacting based on knowing what was coming. That can happen in a spring game. It had not been a problem in the previous 14 practices, nor last year. I don't think it will be a problem."

Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in effect had to go "both ways" throughout the day. He never got a break after the first quarter as backup signal caller Will Proctor suffered an eye injury in the first quarter. When that happened Whitehurst played quarterback for the first team and the second team. At one point he took 51 consecutive snaps without a rest.

There were two other injuries in the scrimmage. Wide receiver Chris Jefferson suffered a concussion when he was hit trying to catch a pass over the middle. He walked off with help. Tim DeBeer, who had just moved into a first-team tackle slot, suffered a sprained ankle and a sprained knee on a field goal attempt. He was held out of the rest of the game and was on crutches after the contest. Both injuries are not believed to be serious.

Whitehurst completed 19-47 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He completed three apiece to Chansi Stuckey, Airese Currie and Gerald McCloud for 24 yards per completion. Currie had the longest play of the day when he caught a 51-yarder from Whitehurst. Proctor completed a 29-yard pass to McCloud before he left with the eye injury.

Collins scored both touchdowns, the first on an eight-yard reception from Whitehurst in the second quarter and the second on a nine-yard catch from Whitehurst in the third quarter. Those were the only touchdowns of the day for the Clemson offense.

Clemson's running backs were solid with Duane Coleman (12-45), Reggie Merriweather 9-47) and Yusef Kelly (9-35). "I don't think we have a number-one running back," said Bowden after the scrimmage. "Yusef Kelly showed great improvement this spring and he has run hard. Coleman and Merriweather also had very good springs."

Brandon Nolen also had a good day as the rising red-shirt freshman had 7-29 on the day.

Tavaghn Monts was the top tackler with eight tackles, including seven first hits. Charles Bennett had the most big plays with six tackles, including two sacks and three pass deflections at the line of scrimmage. Gaines Adams, another defensive end, had a pair of sacks. Reserve linebacker Steven Jackson had five tackles, including an interception of a batted pass. Roy Walker and Jamaal Fudge also had interceptions and Travis Pugh had a fumble recover to key the defense.

Stephen Furr, who lettered in 2002, but did not appear in a game last year, booked two field goals, one of 46 yards. Cole Chason had a 41.7 yard average on 10 punts that were performed without a rush or a return.

Final Stats
Passing: Whitehurst 19-47-290-2-2; Proctor 2-7-45-1-0; Lowther 1-4-36-0-0. Totals 22-58-371-3-2

Rushing: Merriweather 9-47; Coleman 12-45; Kelly 9-35; Nolen 7-29; Lowther 2-13; Stuckey 1-25; Baham 1-15; Proctor 1-(-4); Whitehurst 10-(-35). Totals 52-170

Receiving: Currie 3-85; McCloud 3-74; Stuckey 3-60; Collins 3-25-2; Baham 2-18; Hall 2-18; McLaurin 2-43; Williamson 1-16; Charpia 1-23; Kelly 1-7; Coleman 1-2

Defensive Leaders
Tackles: Monts 8, Bennett 6, M. Nelson 6, Groover 5, Pugh 5, Dunham 5, Jacson 5, T. Hill 4, Fudge 4, Resse 4, Watkins 4, Jamison 4, Fountain 4

Sacks: Bennett 2-11, Adams 2-10, Clark 1-5, Jamison 1-9, Williams 1-3, Fountain 1-5 Interceptions: Walker 1-27; Jackson 1-6, Fudge 1-0

Passes Defensed: Bennett 3, E. Coleman 2, R. Nelson 1, Groover 1, Gilliam 1, Tate, Dunham, Adams

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