Miller's All-Around game vs. NC State
Clemson all-purpose player Justin Miller added to his resume of accomplishments in Clemson's victory over NC State. The junior who is a cornerback by trade, had two interceptions to lead the Tiger defense to a six-turnover game. He also contributed three punt returns for 37 yards to help in the special teams area.
For the first time since his first play as a Tiger against Louisiana Tech in 2002, Miller played on offense in addition to defense and special teams. He caught one pass on a shovel pass for seven yards in that 2002 game with Louisiana Tech. In Saturday's game against NC State, Miller played three snaps on offense. He ran the ball for three yards, then threw a pass for two yards to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. He was also in on another play, but was not the intended receiver.
Thus, Miller intercepted the ball, completed a pass, rushed the ball and punted the ball in the same game. It marked the first time a Clemson player had done all four of those statistical entries in the same game since Don King did all four against Presbyterian in 1954. It just so happened that the Clemson Athletic Department had picked the NC State game to honor the 1954 team and King was back at Death Valley for the reunion.
King had 2-10 rushing completed 2-3 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown passing, had 2-16 on punt returns and one interception for no return yards in that game against Presbyterian in 1954.
Miller Now third in Clemson History in Interceptions
Justin Miller had two interceptions against NC State, giving him three for the season and 13 for his Clemson career. All three have come in the last two weeks, which is normal for Miller. Over his Clemson career 11 of his 13 interceptions have taken place during games that have occurred in the second half of the season.
It marked the second time in Miller's career that he has had two interceptions in the same game. He also did it against Maryland in 2002, his freshman year, when he had eight to rank in the top 10 in the nation and tie a Clemson single season record. With the recent flurry, Miller has moved into third place in Clemson history in career interceptions. Entering the Miami (FL) game, Miller trails only all-time great Terry Kinard, who had 17 between 1978-82, and Fred Knoebel, who had 15 between 1950-52.
Hill Ties Clemson Record
Clemson linebacker LeRoy Hill tied the school record for consecutive games with at least one sack when he had a six-yard sack of NC State quarterback Jay Davis in the first half of the game on October 30. It gave the senior linebacker five consecutive games with a sack, tying the mark also held by Chester McGlockton and Keith Adams.
Hill joined some strong company ,as McGlockton went on to a 12-year NFL career in which he made four Pro Bowls, while Adams is currently playing for the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. McGlockton had his streak of five consecutive games with a sack over the 1990 and 1991 seasons, while Adams did it on five straight games in 1999. McGlockton actually got to witness the record tying performance in person as he was back in Clemson to watch the NC State game.
Hill has at least one sack in seven of the eight games this year. The only team to keep him off the quarterback was Texas A&M in the third game of the season. Hill has at least one tackle for loss in every game this year and has a streak of 10 straight games dating to last year. The last time Hill did not have a tackle for loss was in Clemson's 40-7 win over Duke last year, a game in which Hill played just 39 plays. Adams has that record with 19 over the 1999 and 2000 seasons, so Hill can not catch him.
Over the last two years, Hill has 16 quarterback sacks and 42 tackles for loss. In 2003 he ranked second in the nation in tackles for loss per game with 27 in 13 games for an average of 2.08 per contest. He was also fifth in solo tackles per game with 8.5 and 22nd in overall tackles per game with 11.2. NCAA defensive stat rankings were not available through the games of October 30 as of this writing, but he should remain in the top 10 in the nation with his eight sacks in eight games and should also be in the top 20 in tackles for loss with his 15 in eight games.
Hill leads the Clemson team in tackles with 78, in first hits with 54, in tackles for loss with 15, in sacks with eight and in minus yardage on tackles for loss with 84.
Hill was the ACC Defensive Lineman of the week in Clemson's loss to Georgia Tech when he had a season high 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss. He had 13 stops at Florida State, including three tackles for loss and a sack. For the season he has reached double figures in tackles in five of the eight games and has done it in15 of his last 23 games over two seasons.
For his career, Hill now has 283 tackles, 44 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback sacks. His sack total is now 14th best in Clemson history, seventh among linebackers. He has done this even though he has started just 21 games in his Clemson career. Over his first two years, he played just 182 snaps from scrimmage. Hill is now eighth in Clemson history in career tackles for loss. He recently moved ahead of Levon Kirkland, who had 40 between 1988-91. Next on the list for Hill is current San Diego Chargers defensive end Adrian Dingle, who had 45 between 1995-98. Michael Dean Perry is Clemson's career leader in that category with 61.
During the preseason, Hill was named to the Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski Award lists, one of 16 players nationally to appear on all three lists. The only other ACC player on all three was Pat Thomas of NC State.
Clemson-Duke Kickoff Set
The Clemson-Duke football game on Nov. 13 has been scheduled for a 1:00 PM kickoff. There will be no live television coverage of the game.
Who Will Score Clemson's 20,000th Point?
Clemson has 170 points for this season and 19,999 for the history of Clemson football entering Saturday's game with Miami (FL). Thus, Clemson's first score will put the program over the 20,000 mark for its history. The opposition has scored 15,196 entering Saturday's game. The Clemson program has played 1055 games entering Saturday's contest with Miami (FL), so Clemson has an average of 19 points per game and has given up an average of 14.4.
The Fudge Factor
Clemson starting roverback Jamaal Fudge is having another outstanding season. He ranks fourth on the team in tackles with 49, but is third in first hits with 41. Eighty-four percent of his tackles are first hits, the second highest percentage on the team behind Justin Miller (86 percent).
Fudge has three interceptions to tie Justin Miller for the team lead and, like Miller, all three have come within the last three games. Fudge has had one in each of the last three games and another at Miami (FL) could tie a Clemson record. The school record for consecutive games intercepting a pass is four, set by Bobby Gage in 1948, Terry Kinard in 1980 and 1981 and Dexter Davis in 1990.
Fudge led the Tigers in interceptions last year with four, including two in the regular season finale against South Carolina. He now has seven over the last two years and all seven have come within the last 15 games. He also has nine passes broken up this year, giving him 12 passes defensed for the year, among the ACC leaders.
Tye Hill Among ACC Leaders in Passes Broken Up
Clemson cornerback Tye Hill is yet to intercept a pass this year, but he does have 12 passes broken up n eight games. Hill is on pace to break the single season record of 17 held by Dextra Polite in 1999. Polite also has the passes defensed record with 21 (passes defensed includes PBUs plus interceptions.)
Hill, also a star on the Clemson men's track team that won an ACC Championship last spring, has 40 tackles this year in eight games, already ahead of the 37 tackles he recorded last season. A running back who averaged 5.4 yards a carry as a freshman in 2002, Hill had eight tackles against NC State to tie his career high. During that game, he wore a hidden microphone for the ESPN program "The Season," a program that will be shown on ESPN2 this Thursday evening. It was believed to be the first time a college player has been miked during a game.
Hill, Miller, Fudge and free safety Travis Pugh are considered to be among the best defensive back groups in the nation. They are a big Clemson stands 20th in the nation in passing efficiency defense.
Any headline after a Clemson game that reads, "Coleman scores!" would logically bring to mind Clemson running back Duane Coleman, Clemson's leading rusher last year who had five touchdowns in 2003 and two this season. But, it was Clemson defensive tackle Eric Coleman who did the scoring in the win over NC State on October 30. The senior from Charlottesville, VA scored on a 20-yard interception return in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 10-3 lead. It was the first score all year for the Clemson defense after an opponent's turnover. Clemson finished the game with 16 points off turnovers.
Coleman became the first Clemson defensive player to return an interception for a touchdown since Charles Hafley did it against Missouri on a 27-yard return for a score in 2000. Coleman was the first defensive lineman to score on an interception return since Terry Jolly went 20 yards (the same distance as Coleman) against Duke in 1999, Tommy Bowden's first season.
Coleman also had five tackles, including a sack, in the Tiger victory. It marked the second time this year that Clemson had a player record a sack and score a touchdown in the same game. Bobby Williamson did it against Utah State when he scored a touchdown on a recovery of a blocked punt and recorded a sack.
Coleman has become one of Clemson's team leaders , along with classmate Mo Fountain. Both players have exactly 31 tackles through eight games. Coleman now has four tackles for loss and two sacks for his 390 snaps on defense. He has had exactly five tackles in four consecutive games.
A veteran of 42 games as a Tiger, Coleman went over the 100-mark in career tackles in the win over NC State and now has 101, including 12 tackles for loss and three sacks for his Clemson career.
Many Happy Returns
Tuesday night the nation will be watching Presidential election returns. Saturday night, much of the nation (ESPN 7:45 PM) will be watching kick returns. Or will they? With the success Clemson's Justin Miller and Miami's Devin Hester have had this year, both coaches may elect to kick the ball out of bounds instead of challenging two of the nation's most dangerous return men.
Last week, Miller was named a mid-season first-team All-American as a kick returner according to collegefootballnews.com. Miller was the kickoff return selection and Devin Hester of Miami (FL) was named as the punt returner.
Clemson's Miller ranks second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 33.88 average, and he is 16th in punt returns with a 14.71 average. Miami's Hester is third in the nation in kickoff returns with a 31.67 average and is third in punt returns with a 26.18 figure. Miller, Hester and Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush are the only three players in the nation to rank in the top 16 nationally in both punt returns and kickoff returns.
Hester and Miller have combined for seven kick returns for touchdowns this year. Hester has four, including three punt returns, and Miller has three, including two kickoff returns. Hester had two punt returns for scores against Louisiana Tech on September 18, then Miller had two kickoff returns for touchdowns the very next Saturday at Florida State. Both were ACC records.
In case you are wondering, the national record for kick returns for touchdowns in a season is six, set by Derek Abney of Kentucky in 2002. He had four punt returns and two kickoff returns for scores that year. Only one player in history has led the nation in kickoff returns and punt returns in the same season. That was Erroll Tucker of Utah in 1985.
Clemson Has Five Touchdowns on Returns
Clemson has five returns for touchdowns this season, two on kickoff returns, two on punt returns (includes a blocked punt recovery for a touchdown) and one on an interception return for a touchdown. This is the most returns for touchdown in a Clemson season since the 1997 Clemson team also had five.
This 2004 Clemson team is already just the third in school history with at least five returns for touchdowns in the same season. The school record for one season is seven, set by the 1990 team that had two kickoff returns, one fumble return and four interception returns for scores. That 1990 Clemson team finished 10-2, ranked ninth in the nation in the AP poll, and was number-one in the nation in total defense.
Clemson now has 15 returns for touchdowns under Tommy Bowden. That is broken down to five on punt returns (includes blocked punt returns), five on kickoff returns, three on interception returns, two on fumble returns. The 10 kick returns for touchdowns in just six years is impressive, especially in comparison to Clemson history. Between 1971-98, the 28 seasons prior to Bowden's arrival, Clemson had just nine punt or blocked punt returns and just three kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Tigers Forces Six turnovers
The key statistic in Clemson's win over NC State was turnover margin. Clemson forced six turnovers and committed just one on offense in its 26-20 victory. Clemson had forced just six turnovers in its first seven games, then forced six in game number-eight. Clemson was last in the nation in turnover ratio through four games (117th) after having a --5 turnover margin in the loss to Florida State, but has now lost the turnover game just once in the last four games. Clemson has won three games in a row and has a +6 turnover ratio for those three victories.
Clemson's six forced turnovers were the most by a Clemson team since the Tigers forced six against Missouri in a 2000 victory in Death Valley. Clemson had five interceptions on defense and that was the most by a Clemson team in a single game since a Tiger team led by current Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro Brian Dawkins had five in a win over North Carolina in 1995. It marked just the second time in the Bowden era that Clemson forced six turnovers in one game.
It was just the 12th time in Clemson history that the Tigers had five or more interceptions in a single game. The record is six, established at South Carolina in 1971 and at NC State in 1995. The five interceptions recorded against the Pack tied the Clemson record for a game in Death Valley. Clemson also had five interceptions in Death Valley against Virginia in 1964 and 1972, against Georgia in 1981 and the aforementioned North Carolina game in 1995.
As stated above, Clemson had just one turnover against NC State on offense. The Tigers have had just one turnover in the last two games and just four over the last four contests. Charlie Whitehurst had 13 interceptions over his first six games, but now has gone consecutive games without throwing a pick. He has a streak of 76 consecutive passes without an interception dating to the second quarter of the Utah State game. For the year, Clemson has committed 18 turnovers and forced 12 for a --6 ratio. But, the Tigers jumped from 113th to 93rd, a 20-place improvement, off the NC State game.
Dean Still Perfect in 2004
Clemson placekicker Jad Dean made 4-4 field goals in Clemson's win over NC State. It marked the first time since last year's Florida State game that a Clemson kicked had made four field goals in a game. Aaron Hunt made four in Clemson's 26-10 victory over the Seminoles last year. Notice Clemson's point total was the exact same.
Dean has been Clemson's starting place kicker over the last five games and is now 6-6 on field goals and 11-11 on extra points for the season. His performance on Saturday included a 47-yarder, his career long, and longest by a Clemson player since Hunt had a 47-yarder in 2002. Dean now leads the Clemson team in scoring with 29 points, five more than running back Reggie Merriweather.
Dean has also been a strong contributor on kickoffs. He has 35 kickoffs this year and 20 have been good for touchbacks. The average starting position for the opposition this year is the 22-yard-line, giving Clemson a 10-yard advantage in this category over the course of the season. The Clemson offense has an average start of its own 32.
For his performance against NC State, Dean was recognized as one of the three National Stars of the Week by the Lou Groza Award committee. Dean was joined on the list by Connor Barth of North Carolina and Wes Zunker of New Mexico.
Clemson vs. Miami (FL) Series
This will be the sixth meeting between Clemson and Miami (FL) on the gridiron, the first since 1956, a regular season game won by Miami (FL) 21-0. That was a match-up of top 20 teams as Clemson was ranked #13 in the AP poll and Miami (FL) was eighth. Miami (FL) has a 4-1 edge in the series that dates to 1945.
Clemson went on to finish with a 7-2-2 record in 1956, and was ranked 19th in the final AP poll, while the Hurricanes finished 8-1-1 and were ranked sixth. The Tigers also played in the Orange Bowl that year against Colorado and lost 27-21. Thus, both of Clemson's losses in 1956 came in the same Stadium, the Orange Bowl.
Clemson's only victory in the series took place in the Orange Bowl game at the end of the 1950 season. Frank Howard and the Tigers won that game 15-14 when Clemson middle guard Sterling Smith tackled Miami running back Frank Smith in the end zone for a safety with under two minutes left. It is one of just two times Miami (FL) has lost an Orange Bowl game since 1950. The only other time Miami (FL) has lost an Orange Bowl postseason game was in 1995 (end of the 1994 season) when Nebraska defeated the Hurricanes, 24-17.
The two teams also met in the 1951 Gator Bowl and the Hurricanes came away with a 14-0 victory. That was also a battle of top 20 teams.
Clemson and Miami (FL) have met five times previously and all five games have been played in the state of Florida. That will change in 2005 when Miami travels to Clemson for a regular season game.
Clemson has scored just 28 points against Miami in five previous games, all played between 1945-56. Frank Howard was Clemson's coach in all five meetings with the Hurricanes.
Miami and Clemson combined to give Florida State all three of its losses in 2003. The Hurricanes defeated Florida State twice and Clemson downed the Seminoles once. Miami has already defeated Florida State this season.
This will be Clemson's second trip to the state of Florida this year. Earlier this year Clemson lost at Florida State by a 41-22 score on September 25. Clemson has not won a football game in the state of Florida since the Tigers won the 1990 Hall of Fame bowl in Tampa over Illinois by a 30-0 score. Clemson has lost 10 straight games in the state of Florida, including the loss at Florida State this year.
Clemson in the Orange Bowl
This will be Clemson's seventh trip to the Orange Bowl, its first since the Tigers won the National Championship on January 1, 1982 with a 22-15 victory over Nebraska. Clemson is 2-4 all-time at the Orange Bowl stadium, 2-1 in the Orange Bowl postseason game and 0-3 against the University of Miami in regular season play.
Clemson's Last Trip to The Orange Bowl
Clemson 22, Nebraska 15
January 1, 1982
After 86 years of playing football, Clemson claimed its first National Championship with a 22-15 win over perennial Big Eight power Nebraska in the 48th Orange Bowl. After a 13-3 win over 1980 National Champion Georgia at home on September 19, the Tigers worked their way to the number-one ranking in both wire service polls by the end of the regular season when Penn State beat number-one ranked Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day, 48-14. The win over the Cornhuskers gave Clemson the national title and its third perfect season in history.
Nebraska took the kickoff, but three plays later, Tiger middle guard William Devane recovered quarterback Mark Mauer's fumble at the Nebraska 33. Clemson Quarterback Homer Jordan drove Clemson to the Nebraska 24 before the drive stalled, and Donald Igwebuike drilled a 41-yard field goal to put the ACC Champions up, 3-0.
Nebraska came right back, however, as the Big Eight title holder drove 69 yards in eight plays to score on a 25-yard halfback pass from Mike Rozier to Anthony Steels. Kevin Seibel's extra point gave Nebraska the lead at 7-3 with 6:43 to go in the first quarter
After an exchange of punts, the Clemson offense moved from the Nebraska 42 yard line to the 21 to set up Igwebuike's second field goal. The 37-yard boot narrowed the score to 7-6.
A second-quarter Phil Bates fumble gave Clemson the ball at the Nebraska 27, and the running combination of Jordan, Kevin Mack, and Cliff Austin moved the ball to the Cornhusker two. Austin, who had been stuck in the hotel elevator for two hours earlier in the day, scampered in for the score that gave Clemson a lead it would not relinquish.
On its second possession of the second half, Clemson drove 75 yards in 12 plays to score its final touchdown of the night, a 13-yard pass from Jordan to All-American receiver Perry Tuttle in the corner of the end zone. It was Tuttle's eighth touchdown grab of the season, which set a school record. Bob Paulling's extra point put the Tigers ahead, 19-7. The catch was shown on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week, the only time a Clemson student-athlete (active at the time) has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After Billy Davis's 47-yard punt return, Jordan moved the Tigers to the Nebraska 20, where Igwebuike kicked a 36-yard field goal, his third of the evening, to put Clemson ahead 22-7 with two-and-a half minutes left in the third stanza.
Nebraska was down but not out, though. After a near-interception by Johnny Rembert, Mauer engineered an eight-play, 69-yard drive that was capped by a 26-yard run by Roger Craig. After a penalty, Craig ran in the two-point conversion from eight yards out to close the gap to 22-15 with nine minutes to play.
The Clemson defense shut down the Big Red on their final extended drive, then the offense held on to the ball for nearly five-and-a-half minutes to run down the clock to six seconds. Andy Headen deflected Mauer's desperation pass to preserve the win and the championship for Clemson.
Jeff Davis (who is now an assistant AD at Clemson and will travel to Miami for this weekend's game) led the Tiger defense with 14 tackles in his final game. He also recovered a fumble, giving him a school-record eight for his career. Bill Smith, now on the Clemson Board of Trustees, added a career-high 10 tackles from his defensive end position.
Another Bowden Takes on Miami (FL)
This will be the second time this year Miami (FL) has faced an ACC team coached by a Bowden. Earlier this year, Miami (FL) defeated Florida State, coached by Bobby Bowden, by a 16-10 score in overtime. That game was also played in the Orange Bowl and it was shown on national television by ABC.
Tommy Bowden will be attempting to end a Bowden losing streak against the Hurricanes. Miami has defeated Bobby Bowden and the Seminoles six consecutive times. Florida State's last win in the series took place in 1999, so Florida State is 0 for the 21st century against Miami (FL).
Tommy Bowden has never coached against Miami as a head coach, but has been on the sidelines as an assistant five times. In four games as an assistant at Florida State between 1978 and 1982, Florida State won three of the four. In 1983 as a Duke assistant, Miami defeated the Blue Devils, 56-17.
Clemson assistant coach Dabo Swinney has experienced the ultimate against Miami (FL). In the 1993 Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1992 season Alabama defeated the Hurricanes to win the national championship. Swinney was a receiver on that Alabama team.
Tigers Set to Battle Miami
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