Clemson has won each of its last five games overall and seven in a row at home dating to the 2003 season. Clemson's five-game overall winning streak is its longest since the Tigers won the first eight games in 2000. Clemson's seven-game home winning streak is its longest since the Tigers won seven in a row at Death Valley between 1995-96. Ironically, the opposing head coach who broke that seven game home winning streak was current Clemson Assistant Head Coach Brad Scott, who led South Carolina to a 34-31 win in 1996 that broke the winning streak.
Clemson is still far away from the school record for winning streaks in both categories. Clemson won 15 straight regardless of site between 1947-49, a streak that was ended at Rice in 1949. The home victory streak is 13, set between 1927-31. That streak was established at Riggs Field. The record winning streak in Death Valley is 11 in a row set between 1989-91.
Clemson entered 2004 as one of nine schools with a four-game winning streak. Miami (OH) dropped off the list last week when it lost at Michigan. Boise State is now the national leader as far as the nation's longest active winning streak with 12. Southern Cal is second with a 10-game streak, followed by LSU (9), UCONN (6), Maryland (6), Utah (6) and Clemson (5).
Clemson Opens Season with Overtime Victory
Kyle Browning scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst and the Tiger defense held Wake Forest scoreless in the bottom of the second overtime period, and Clemson went on to a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest at Death Valley last Saturday. The victory offset Wake Forest's 45-17 win over the Tigers in 2003, the last time Clemson has lost a football game.
Clemson had forced the overtime period when Yusef Kelly culminated a 78-yard, 11-play drive with just 1:48 remaining on a one-yard scoring run. A two-point conversion pass from Whitehurst to sophomore Kelvin Grant tied the score at 27-27.
Clemson had jumped out to a 19-3 lead with just 20 minutes gone in the game. Airese Currie, who had a career high 152 receiving yards, scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Whitehurst, then Justin Miller scored on a 69-yard punt return on the last play of the first period. Chansi Stuckey then blocked a Wake Forest punt through the endzone to give Clemson a 16-3 lead, then Stephen Furr booted his first career field goal from 42 yards out, a kick that hit the left goalpost and bounced through.
Wake Forest then went on a 24-0 run behind the play of wide receiver Jason Anderson and running back Chris Barclay. Anderson scored on an 85-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Ben Mauk, tied for the longest touchdown pass in Wake Forest history (ironically, the only other 85-yarder also took place against Clemson in 1982 in Tokyo, Japan).
Barclay continued to be a thorn in Clemson's side as the junior gained 179 yards on the ground for the game, his second +160-yard game against Clemson in as many years. His 50-yard run put Wake Forest up 27-19 with 12:20 left. Wake Forest then held Clemson on the next drive. So, the Demon Deacons had an eight-point lead with the ball with seven minutes left. But, Whitehurst led the Tigers back by going 3-4 for 43 yards on the game-tying drive.
Whitehurst was 20-41 for 288 yards and two touchdowns for the afternoon. He also had 15 yards rushing to give him 303 yards of total offense on the day. Airese Currie was the top receiver with nine catches for 152 yards, while Chansi Stuckey added 8-112. Yusef Kelly led the rushers with 19-57 and a touchdown.
The defense was led by Justin Miller and LeRoy Hill with nine tackles apiece. Tye Hill added two pass deflections in the secondary, while Miller had the only takeaway with a fumble recovery.
Clemson was out-gained 410-371 and committed three turnovers to just one by Wake Forest. But, the Tigers won the special teams in just about every area. Furr made two field goals in his first kicking assignment in Death Valley, including a 23-yard field goal in the overtime that tied the game. Miller scored on a 69-yard punt return and also had 47 yards on two kickoff returns. Cole Chason added a 40.6 punting average and Clemson's coverage unit allowed just 19 punt return yards in four attempts.
Clemson-Tech Series Has Been Thrilling
* Georgia Tech has a 43-23-2 lead in the series with Clemson dating to a 23-0 Tiger win in Augusta, GA in 1898, just the 11th game in Clemson football history. In fact, Clemson won the first four games of the series, including games in 1902 and 1903 when John Heisman was at the helm. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta 73-0 in 1903 with Heisman as head coach. ·The series was incredibly close in the 1990s and that trend has continued in the 21st century. Seven of the last eight games have been decided by five points or less. That includes a streak of six straight games decided by exactly three points from 1996-2001. That might be a first in college football history. We aren't talking by three points or less, but exactly three points.
* Clemson has won the last three games, including last year's 39-3 Tiger win in Atlanta. That was Clemson's largest margin of victory in the series since a 73-0 Tiger win in Atlanta in 1903 when Heisman was the Clemson coach. Clemson was victorious last year by a 24-19 score and by a 47-44 score in overtime in Atlanta in 2001. ·If Clemson can gain victory on Saturday, it would give Clemson a four-game winning streak, tying the Clemson record for consecutive victories in the Tech series. Clemson won four in a row from 1993-96 and from 1898 to 1903. ·The Tigers have an 8-4 advantage in games at Clemson, but Georgia Tech leads 39-12-2 in games played in Atlanta. Every game between the two teams in the 1907-74 era was held in Atlanta. Clemson's only wins in those 36 meetings came in 1907, 1936, 1945 and 1969. The 1969 victory was Frank Howard's final season as head coach. ·The first time Georgia Tech played in Clemson's stadium was 1974, a 21-17 Clemson victory. Clemson won that game on a three yard touchdown pass from current Clemson offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain to All-America tight end Bennie Cunningham with 8:26 left.
* Clemson has a 12-9 advantage in the series, regardless of site, since Tech joined the ACC in 1983. Tech actually joined for the 1979-80 academic year, but did not compete for the football championships until 1983.
* Since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech games have been high scoring as the average score is 36-28.4 in Clemson's favor. Clemson has a 3-2 lead in those five games and has outscored the Yellow Jackets 180-142.
* Woodrow Dantzler had one of the best all-around games of his career with 164 yards rushing and 254 yards passing in the victory in 2001. He threw for two scores and ran for two, including a 38-yard "Hail Mary Run" on the last play of the first half to cut Tech's lead to 19-14 at intermission. His 63-yard scoring pass to J.J. McKelvey with 1:58 left put Clemson ahead by three, but Tech tied the count with a 20-yard field goal with just six seconds left. Dantzler's "walk-off" six-yard touchdown in overtime gave Clemson the win.
* Clemson has had just two games in its history in which both teams scored in the 40s. They have both taken place against Georgia Tech under Bowden. Tech won 45-42 in 1999 and Clemson won 47-44 in 2001 in Atlanta.
Clemson Veterans vs. Georgia Tech
* Cole Chason (P)--Had 44.3 average on six punts against Georgia Tech in 2003. It was his high punting average of the season and he was named Clemson's special teams player of the game by the Tiger coaches.
* Eric Coleman (DT)--Had one tackle in 28 plays in 2003 and two tackles in 18 plays in 2002.
* Airese Currie (WR)--Had 6-78 and one touchdown at Georgia Tech in 2003. He did not catch a pass against the Yellow Jackets in 2001 or 2002.
* Mo Fountain (DE)--Had three tackles, including his first sack of the year, a play that resulted in a safety in the 2003 Clemson victory. Had two tackles in 2001 and 2002 victories over Tech.
* Jamaal Fudge (ROV)--Had five tackles in 55 plays as a starter in 2003 against Tech.
* Leroy Hill (LB)--Had 11 tackles, including two for loss in Clemson's win in 2003. Had three tackles on special teams in 2002.
* Tye Hill (CB)--Had two tackles, including his first career tackle for loss, in the win at Tech in 2003.
* Yusef Kelly (TB)--Clemson's top rusher in win over Tech in 2002 when he had 20-89 rushing and 3-9 receiving. Had three yards in one carry at Tech in 2003.
* Justin Miller (CB)--Had two tackles and a 41-yard kickoff return at Tech in 2003 and had five tackles in 20 snaps as a freshman in 2002.
* Travis Pugh (FS)--Had eight tackles, two PBUs and a tackle for loss at Tech in 2003.
* Eric Sampson (WHIP)--Had five tackles, including a sack at Tech in 2003. Had two tackles as a starter in 2002 and three as a reserve in 2001.
* Anthony Waters (LB)--Had season high six tackles in 20 plays at Tech in 2003.
* Charlie Whitehurst (QB)--Hit on 23-38 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns in Clemson's 39-3 victory at Georgia Tech in 2003.
Clemson 39, Georgia Tech 3
2003 Meeting at Atlanta, GA
Clemson ended a series of close games with Georgia Tech by defeating the Yellow Jackets 39-3 in Atlanta. The seven previous games between the two schools had been decided by just 23 points, including six consecutive three-point decisions from 1996-01. The Tigers' 36-point margin of victory was the most against Georgia Tech by Clemson since John Heisman was roaming the Clemson sidelines in 1903. The 36-point win was the best for Clemson in an ACC road game since a 55-0 win at Virginia in 1984.
Clemson got on the board in the late portion of the first quarter after Aaron Hunt connected on a 23-yard field goal. The score was set up by a holding penalty by Georgia Tech on a punt, thus giving the ball back to the Tigers.
Clemson tacked on to its lead in the second after John Leake intercepted his first career pass. His effort set up Tony Elliott from nine yards out on a touchdown reception from Charlie Whitehurst. It was Elliott's second touchdown in as many years against the Yellow Jackets.
The Tigers struck again on the ensuing possession. Kevin Youngblood grabbed a jump-ball pass from Whitehurst for a 44-yard gain to get into Tech territory. Youngblood was rewarded moments later when he caught a pass, then spun away and dove for the endzone on a 12-yard touchdown play.
Georgia Tech got on the board late in the second quarter with a Dan Burnett field goal, but the Tigers responded quickly. Derrick Hamilton returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to Clemson's 45-yard line. From there, Youngblood caught a 22-yard pass, then Whitehurst hooked up with Airese Currie for a 33-yard touchdown strike just before halftime. Whitehurst's third touchdown pass gave the Tigers a 23-3 lead at the break.
Clemson's defense was the story of the second half. On the Yellow Jackets' second possession, quarterback Reggie Ball was pressured inside his own 10-yard line. He ran back to avoid the rush but could not get away from Maurice Fountain and Vontrell Jamison, who threw the freshman down for a safety and a 25-3 lead.
The running game stepped up in the fourth quarter for Clemson. On its second possession of the quarter, the Tigers took to the ground. Kyle Browning rushed three times for 33 yards before Duane Coleman took a handoff straight up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the longest run from scrimmage for the Tigers in the young season.
Clemson added a touchdown to its final margin when Whitehurst scored on a quarterback sneak. The Tigers got the ball back after fullback Steven Jackson recovered a fumble on the kickoff. The Tiger defense kept Tech out of the endzone in the waning moments of the game, preserving the 36-point victory.
Whitehurst led the Tigers again offensively. He was 23-38 for 298 yards and accounted for four scores. Currie led a trio of Tiger receivers, with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Youngblood caught five balls for 101 yards and a touchdown. Hamilton had five catches for 79 yards to go along with 59 return yards and 14 rushing yards.
Clemson rushed for 138 yards on 30 carries in the game, more rushing yards gained than both Auburn and Florida State had against the Georgia Tech defense in the previous two weeks. Georgia Tech entered the game having upset a top-15 Auburn team the previous week.
Defensively, the Tigers totaled 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and harassed Ball and the Tech offense the entire night. Leading the way was Leake, who had 14 tackles and three for loss. LeRoy Hill continued his fine play with 11 tackles, including two for loss and his fourth sack of the year. Additional sacks were recorded by Fountain, Tye Hill, Eric Sampson, and Donnell Washington.
Touré Francis led the defensive backs with four pass breakups. Justin Miller and Travis Pugh each added a pair of deflections for the Tiger secondary.
Tigers 4-0 in Overtime
Clemson increased its all-time perfect record in overtime games to 4-0 with its 37-30 win over Wake Forest in the season opener last weekend. The Tigers are now one of four Division I schools with a perfect overtime record, given a minimum of four overtime games. Brigham Young, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio State are also 4-0 in overtime games since the rule was put into effect in 1996. Ball State, Nebraska, Northern Illinois and South Florida are all 3-0 and could join the previous group with an overtime victory this year.
Clemson's win over Wake Forest last Saturday was a double overtime affair, the first time Clemson has had to go a second "extra inning" to claim an overtime win. Both Clemson and Wake Forest kicked field goals in the first period, then Clemson scored a touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst to Kyle Browning. Wake Forest could not get a first down on its possession and when a fourth down pass fell incomplete, Clemson had the victory.
Clemson's defense has been outstanding in Clemson's four overtime games. In fact, the Tigers have yielded just nine points on three field goals and the opposition has not recorded a first down in five possessions. Tommy Bowden is now 3-0 in overtime games at Clemson and in his coaching career.
There is something about overtime and Clemson athletics. The Clemson basketball team has a 45-32 record in overtime games since the ACC started in 1953-54, second best among league schools in overtime winning percentage.
Georgia Tech Update
For the second straight week Clemson will have to contend with one of the top backs in the ACC. The Tigers gave up 179 yards rushing to Wake Forest's Chris Barclay last week, and now they have to face P. J. Daniels, who is coming in off a 169-yard performance in the opener for Georgia Tech. Daniels led the Yellow Jackets to a season opening 28-7 win over Samford last Saturday. Daniels scored on touchdown runs of 47 and one yard and also caught a 25-yard scoring pass from quarterback Reggie Ball.
Rashaun Grant added 75 yards rushing for Tech, who gained 268 on the ground and 201 in the air. Ball is the leader of the offense from the quarterback position, a role he provided all of last year when he helped Tech to a 7-6 record, including a win over a top 10 Auburn team. In the opener Ball was 14-21 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. That computes to a 169 passing efficiency mark. His top receiver is Levon Thomas, a second team wide receiver who had 3-54 in the opening win. Nate Curry added 3-40, including a score.
Georgia Tech's defense allowed just 12 first downs and 169 yards of total offense. Chris Reis was the top tackler in the opener with 10 stops, while Reuben Houston added nine, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Tech's defense had eight tackles for loss overall. Gerris Wilkinson added six tackles for Chan Gailey's team.
Currie, Stuckey both over 100 Receiving Yards
Clemson had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game for just the third time in history when the Tigers defeated Wake Forest in the season opener. Airese Currie had nine receptions for 152 yards and teammate Chansi Stuckey added eight for 112 yards, giving the due 17 catches for 264 yards and a touchdown. It was the most receiving yards for a wide receiver duo in Clemson history. Currie wears #1 and Stuckey wears #2, and that is their rank on the Clemson receiving list.
Currie's 152 receiving yards were a career high and rank in a tie for sixth best in Clemson history. Rod Gardner holds the record with a 182 receiving yards at North Carolina in 2000, while Derrick Hamilton's 175 receiving yards at Maryland last year is second. Jerry Butler had a 163 yard receiving game at Georgia Tech in 1977 and Terry Smith had 156 receiving yards at Florida State in 1993. Those are the only five games better than Currie's performance last Saturday. Currie's total was also the most ever for a Clemson player in a season opener.
The first time Clemson had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game took place in 1998 against NC State in Death Valley. Brian Wofford had 128 yards and Mal Lawyer added 100 receiving yards in Clemson's 46-39 loss to the Wolfpack. Ironically, Wofford had nine catches and Lawyer had eight, the same numbers for Currie and Stuckey, respectively against Wake Forest.
The only other time Clemson has had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game was at Duke in 2002, Charlie Whitehurst's first start at quarterback for the Tigers. That day, J.J. McKelvey had 10-103 and Derrick Hamilton had 7-101 in a 34-31 Clemson victory.
|182||7||Rod Gardner||a-North Carolina||2000|
|163||5||Jerry Butler||a-Georgia Tech||1977|
|161||7||Perry Tuttle||h-Wake Forest||1981|
|156||8||Terry Smith||a-Florida State||1993|
|152||9||Airese Currie||h-Wake Forest||2004|
|152||7||Tony Horne||a-Wake Forest||1997|
Stuckey's All-Around Performance
"He runs, he throws, he catches, he blocks, he hustles, he blocks punts and none of the 79,500 at Death Valley on Saturday would be surprised if he handled ticket distribution, ordered concessions and oversaw blowing up the orange balloons for the pregame ceremonies. His name is Chansi Stuckey, and if he didn't deliver the most spectacular debut in Clemson history, he surely came close."
Those were the words of Bob Spear, Columnist for The State Newspaper in Columbia, SC on Sunday, September, 5, 2004.
When Chansi Stuckey goes to position meetings each day, he attends those gathers in the Banks McFadden Building. The building is named in honor of Clemson's greatest athlete of the 20th Century, Banks McFadden. McFadden was an All-American in football and basketball for the Tigers in 1939 and was named the Nation's Most Versatile Athlete.
On the gridiron, McFadden did everything possible, as he went both ways as a single wing tailback and a standout defensive back. He was known for his passing and running skills on offense, but when Clemson defeated Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl, McFadden had four pass deflections in the second half to lead Clemson to a 6-3 victory.
Stuckey was named the Chevrolet Player of the Game by ABC Sports in Clemson's win over Wake Forest. He might have had the best game by a Clemson football player in so many areas since McFadden played for the Tigers.
Making his first career start at wide receiver, Stuckey had eight receptions for 112 yards. It was the first time a Clemson receiver had a 100-yard receiving game in his first career start since 1979 when Perry Tuttle had 145 yards in a victory over Furman in his first career start. His performance included two catches for 35 yards on Clemson's game tying touchdown in the fourth period that sent the game into overtime.
Stuckey also threw a pass on an end-around, a play that resulted in a pass interference call in the endzone. He had four rushes for 10 yards, including a 14-yarder that was Clemson's long rush of the day. He even took a couple of snaps at quarterback in a shotgun formation.
On special teams, Stuckey had a blocked punt that resulted in a safety in the second period. He also had a key block on Justin Miller's 69-yard punt return for a touchdown. That might have been the all-time hustle play in Clemson history. Stuckey lined up at the line of scrimmage on the right end and rushed the punter. His dive in front of the punter's foot was just a few inches from a block. He then reversed his field and ran to the 48-yard line in front of the Clemson bench, where he threw a key block on Miller's run to a score.
Whitehurst Nearing Completion Record
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst completed 20 passes for 288 yards and two scores in the win over Wake Forest. The junior already owns 33 Clemson records, but is continuing his pursuit of many more. Entering Saturday's game with Georgia Tech, Whitehurst has thrown 431 completions, third in Clemson history and just 30 completions short of Woodrow Dantzler's career record of 460. His 288 passing yards against Tech give Whitehurst 5403 career passing yards, also third in Clemson history. The record is 6037, also held by Dantzler, so Whitehurst needs 635 to break that mark.
If Whitehurst can have similar success this Saturday as he did last year against Georgia Tech he will gain on those records. A year ago Whitehurst led the Tigers to victory over Georgia Tech by connecting on 23-38 passes for 298 yards and three scores. He had 306 yards of total offense. Whitehurst has now thrown for at least 246 yards in seven straight games and in 12 of his last 13. The streak of seven straight 200-yard passing games is already a Clemson record. The only game he failed to reach 200 yards through the air was at NC State last year when he had 196.
Pickens Makes First Career Appearance
Clemson senior offensive tackle Jesse Pickens was one of seven Clemson players who made their first career starts in the win over Wake Forest. It was quite a start for Pickens, who had never appeared in a game for the Tigers. In fact, he had played just 20 snaps in his high school career at Spartanburg High. Pickens played 76 snaps and graded 77 percent for the game.
Marion Dukes, Clemson's other starting tackle, also made his first career start and played 76 snaps. He earned a 77 percent grade from the coaches and had four knockdown blocks. Chansi Stuckey was the third offensive player making his first career start. His accomplishments in the Wake Forest game have already been documented.
Four players on defense made their first career start. The list included Charles Bennett (DE), Eric Coleman (DT), Trey Tate (DT) and Anthony Waters (LB). The four players combined for 17 tackles.
Miller Sets Clemson Record
Justin Miller tied for game honors in terms of tackles against Wake Forest with nine, including eight first hits. He was a big reason Wake Forest completed just 10-25 passes and had an efficiency rating of just 105.
But, the most electrifying play the junior provided was a 69-yard punt return on the last play of the second period. It gave Miller a second consecutive home game with a punt return for a score, as he had a 63-yard touchdown on a punt return against Duke in the final home game of 2003. Miller became just the fourth player in Clemson history to have two punt returns for a score in a career. The others to do it were Shad Bryant, Don Kelley and Donnell Woolford.
Miller had a kickoff return for a score against NC State in 2002, so he now has three kick returns for touchdowns in his Clemson career, more than any other player in Clemson history. Miller and Bobby Gage are the only players in Clemson history with a punt return and a kickoff return for touchdown over their respective careers.
In addition to his 72 yards on punt returns against Wake Forest, Miller also had 47 kickoff return yards. He is first in Clemson history in kickoff return average.
Clemson Still Ranked in Top 20
Clemson is ranked 20th in the latest AP poll. The USA Today poll was not known as of this writing. Clemson was 15th in the preseason AP poll, its first preseason top 25 ranking since the Tigers were 18th in the 2001 preseason poll.
Clemson has now been ranked in three consecutive polls. The Tigers were 22nd in the final poll of the 2003 season. The number-15 preseason ranking was Clemson's highest ranking at any time since a #10 ranking in the October 29, 2000 poll when Clemson was ranked 10th. The highest AP ranking for the Tigers under coach Bowden is a number-5 ranking in four straight polls from October 1-22 in 2000.
Clemson's highest ranking in history is the number-one ranking on November 30, 1981 and January 3, 1982. The school record for consecutive polls in the top 25 is 51, set between October 24, 1989 and October 26, 1992.
During his talk to the Clemson team the night before the Clemson vs. Wake Forest game, head coach Tommy Bowden encouraged all his players to be ready to make a game winning play on Saturday afternoon. He then singled out one player. "Kyle Browning, be ready, you could be the one who wins the game for us on Saturday."
Bowden became a profit on Saturday afternoon. Of course he had final veto power on play calling, so it might have been a little more than a coincidence, but it was Browning who scored the game winner on an 11-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst in the second overtime period to give Clemson a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest.
Browning played 18 snaps in the contest, but touched the ball just twice, both on pass receptions. It was the second consecutive game that the 5-7 172-pound junior had scored a touchdown in limited duty. In the Peach Bowl victory over Tennessee he played just one snap on offense, but scored on an eight-yard run on a "Panther Play", a rooskie in which he took the ball between his legs from Charlie Whitehurst and raced to the left untouched to the endzone, while the entire line and Whitehurst ran to the right.
Browning was Clemson's third leading rusher last year with 152 yards on 29 carries and his 5.2 average led the team. He started two games last year, Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech, and had 15 carries for 85 yards in the two games combined. Clemson scored 75 points in the two victories. He had 4-32 rushing against Georgia Tech in last year's 39-3 Clemson victory.
Eight Sets of Same Names
There are eight sets of players with the same last name on the Clemson football team, but only one combination are brothers. Maurice Nelson (#42) and Roosevelt Nelson (#49) are brothers from Rembert, SC and Crestwood High School. Maurice is a red-shirt freshman and Roosevelt is a red-shirt junior.
Three name combinations are starters, or could be once Duane Coleman returns from injury. The starting combinations are the Hills (Leroy and Tye, who both start on defense), the Bennetts (Charles, starting DE and Nathan, starting guard), and the Colemans (Eric, starting defensive tackle and Duane, starting tailback when healthy).
There are two unrelated Frys who play on the offensive line, Roman and Dustin, who are both currently second team. Yusef Kelly is the starting tailback and Aaron Kelly is a freshman receiver, while Lionel Richardson is a reserve linebacker and Barry Richardson is a reserve offensive tackle. Both played against Wake Forest. Finally, Robert Reese is a reserve defensive back and Tribble Reese is a reserve freshman quarterback.
Williamson throwback Player
Players haven't gone both ways in college football on a consistent basis since the 1963 season. But, Clemson junior Bobby Williamson is one of those "throw back players" and played on both sides of the ball in the win over Wake Forest.
The 250-pounder from Tarpon Springs, FL played seven snaps at tight end and 15 snaps at defensive end in the first game of the season. It is believed to be the first time a player has played at least seven snaps on both sides of the ball in the same game since the 1960s. Williamson had an 86 percent blocking grade and one knockdown block from his tight end position. He did not have a tackle on defense for his 15 plays.
Williamson had been strictly a tight end in his first three years at Clemson. He played 24 games out of 26 possible contests at tight end in 2002 and 2003. In fact, he started 11 of the 13 games last year and had 12 catches for 205 yards, first among Clemson tight ends. He had five receptions at NC State, most by a Clemson tight end in a single game since 1975.
Tigers in the NFL
According to rosters released on September 5, 15 former Tigers are NFL rosters heading into the first week of play. The list includes rookies and 2003 Clemson team members Derrick Hamilton of the San Francisco 49ers and Gregory Walker of the New York Giants. Walker is the only player in Clemson history to play in 50 games and Hamilton left Clemson as the school's all-time leader in receptions and all-purpose running. Donnell Washington, also a member of Clemson's 2003 team, is on injured reserve with the Green Bay Packers. A 15th player, Lorenzo Bromell of the New York Giants, is on the physically unable to perform list and should return by midseason.
The list below does not include practice squad players who could be added later this week.
The list of Tigers in the NFL includes Brentson Buckner of the Carolina Panthers, who is in his 11th season in the league, Brian Dawkins, a three time Pro Bowl safety with Philadelphia, Chris Gardocki, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is in his 14th season in the league, and Trevor Pryce of the Denver Broncos, a two-time Super Bowl Champion and four time Pro Bowl selection. Lamont Hall was cut and did not play for the New Orleans Saints last year, but he is back with the team in 2004.
|57||Keith Adams, LB||
|91||$Lorenzo Bromell, DE||
|New York Giants|
|99||Brentson Buckner, DT||
|20||Brian Dawkins, FS||
|90||Adrian Dingle, DE||
|San Diego Chargers|
|21||Antuan Edwards, DB||
|87||Rod Gardner, WR||
|17||Chris Gardocki, P||
|89||Lamont Hall, TE||
|New Orleans Saints|
|88||Derrick Hamilton, WR||
|San Francisco 49ers|
|22||Dexter McCleon, DB||
|Kansas City Chiefs|
|93||Trevor Pryce, DT||
|51||Anthony Simmons, LB||
|73||Gregory Walker, OL||
|New York Giants|
|95||#Donnell Washington, DT||
|Green Bay Packers|
#Injured reserve, $Physically unable to performTommy, Sharp on Offensive Line
During the preseason, Clemson had a lot of injuries in the offensive line, which led to many players moving positions. That was especially the case with Roman Fry, who was referred to as "our putty man" by head coach Tommy Bowden.
But, one player who has not moved up or down the depth chart, or across to another position has been reliable center Tommy Sharpe. The 6-0, 270-pounder from Albany, GA has now started 18 games in his career, 18 of the 19 Charlie Whitehurst has started at quarterback. He had one of his better games as a Tiger in the win over Wake Forest as he had a team best 91 percent blocking grade and a team best seven knockdown blocks. He was a big reason Clemson's offensive line allowed just one quarterback sack.
Whitehurst now has a 13-6 record as a starter and the Tigers are 12-6 when Sharpe and Whitehurst are working in tandem. Last year, Sharpe started all but the North Carolina game and had 56 knockdown blocks, second on the team behind Gregory Walker, who just earned a roster spot with the New York Giants. He had a career high eight knockdown blocks in the win over third ranked Florida State.
54 Players Saw Action vs. Demon Deacons
Fifty-four different players participated for Clemson in the season opener against Wake Forest. That included six freshmen, 14 sophomores, 21 juniors and 13 seniors. The Tigers used 23 different players on offense and 21 different players on defense. Bobby Williamson played seven snaps on offense and 15 snaps on defense, but is counted just once. Coach Bowden used just two first-year freshmen in the game, wide receiver La'Donte Harris and offensive tackle Barry Richardson, who played nine and seven plays, respectively. Six players, three on offense and three on defense, played in their first games for the Tigers.
The Future of the ACC (Division structure)
The ACC is one 11-team league in 2004, as Miami (FL) and Virginia are in the ACC for the first time. Next year, Boston College will join the conference, creating a 12 team league that will have a conference championship at the end of the year.
The league will be divided into two divisions for 2005. Division A will be composed of Maryland, Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College. Clemson is guaranteed to play each of those schools every year. Division B is composed of Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech. Clemson is guaranteed to play only Georgia Tech every year from that Division.
The winners of each division will meet in the ACC Championship game the first Saturday in December in Jacksonville, FL each of the next two seasons.
Fourth Quarter Comeback
Clemson trailed Wake Forest by one point entering the fourth quarter and by eight points with just seven minutes left before gaining the 37-30 overtime victory. Saturday's victory marked the fifth time under Coach Bowden that Clemson has scored to break a tie or overcome a deficit with two minutes or less left on the clock.
It was the third time Clemson has won in overtime. The other two occasions took place against South Carolina in 2000 when Aaron Hunt kicked a 25 yards field goal with three seconds left to give Clemson a 16-14 victory, and when Hunt kicked a 21-yard field goal with eight seconds left to beat Duke in 2002.
Clemson Wins Special Teams
Clemson won just about every phase of the special teams in the win over Wake Forest. The Tigers scored nine points directly, seven on a 69-yard punt return for a score by Justin Miller and two on a blocked punt for a safety by Chansi Stuckey.
Clemson's kickers were also outstanding. Stephen Furr, making his first start as the place kicker, had a pair of field goals, including a 23-yarder in the first overtime that allowed the game to continue to a second overtime. Punter Cole Chason had a 40.6 gross average and a 36.8 net figure. Clemson had a net punting figure of 36.8 for the game, while Wake Forest had a 21.8 figure.
Tigers Tough in September
Clemson opened the season with a 37-30 victory over Wake Forest on September 4, 2004. The victory gave Clemson a 16-3 record under Tommy Bowden in the month of September, including a 15-1 record since the turn of the century. Clemson's only loss in September under Bowden since the beginning of the 2000 season was to Virginia in 2001 when the Cavaliers defeated Clemson 26-24 on the last play of the game. Clemson has now won eight straight games in the month of September, including two in overtime.
Tigers from Georgia
Twenty of the 88 players who were on the dress list for Clemson's game with Wake Forest are from the state of Georgia. That includes four who list Atlanta as their hometown. The players from Atlanta are Nigel Vaughn, reserve linebacker, Chip Myrick, reserve offensive guard who was a starter last year, Tim DeBeer, reserve offensive lineman, and Kwam Williams, reserve defensive end.
Other prominent Tigers from the state of Georgia include Chansi Stuckey, starting wide receiver, Charlie Whitehurst, starting quarterback from Duluth, GA, Cole Chason, starting punter, LeRoy Hill, leading tackler on defense from Haddock, GA, starting center Tommy Sharpe and starting offensive guard Cedric Johnson.
The Fall Finish of 2003
Clemson won its last four games of the 2003 season, thanks to statistical excellence in just about every phase of the game. During the stretch, Tommy Bowden defeated three coaches who have won the national championship (Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Bowden and Lou Holtz). Holz and Bowden both have over 200 victories.
During the four-game winning streak quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 84-133 for 1,151 yards and eight touchdowns. That is a 63.2 completion percentage and 288 yards per game. He had 306 yards per game in terms of total offense during the four wins. Linebacker LeRoy Hill led the defense with 43 tackles to match the number on his uniform.
The biggest area where Clemson dominated might have been in rushing defense. Clemson held Florida State to 11 yards rushing, fewest by a Bobby Bowden coached Florida State team, and held Tennessee to a season low 38 yards rushing in 26 attempts.
Clemson enters this season as one of nine schools with a four-game winning streak. The others are Miami (OH) (14, including a victory this year), Boise State (11), Southern Cal (10, including win over Virginia Tech), LSU (8), UCONN (5), Maryland (5), Utah (5, plays Texas A&M Thursday), and Miami (FL) (4).
Hill, Currie Seek Double ACC Championships
Clemson starting cornerback Tye Hill and starting wide receiver Airese Currie have already been on an ACC Championship team in 2004. Both were key members of Clemson's 2004 ACC Outdoor Track championship team. The Tigers won the event last April with 224 points, the most in the history of the meet by any school.
Hill could claim the title as the ACC's fastest athlete because he won the ACC Championship in the 60 meters indoors (6.73) and captured the 100 meters outdoors (10.29). He is the seventh Clemson track athlete to win both in the same academic year. Only one man has done it twice in a career and that is Shawn Crawford, who won the Gold Medal in the 200 meters in Athens this summer. Hill hopes to join Crawford with that distinction this coming year.
Currie ran a Clemson team season best 10.22 in the 100 meters outdoors and was a member of Clemson's ACC Championship 4X100 meter relay. He was the NCAA East Region champion in the 100 meters in 2003 and was a track All-American as a freshman in 2002 when he was a member of Clemson's national second place 4X100 meter relay team.
A third Clemson football player who is a two-sport athlete is reserve cornerback C.J. Gaddis. The native of North Carolina was a member of Clemson's baseball team in 2004.