Clemson Successful on Homecoming
Saturday will be Homecoming at Clemson, a celebration that has included a Clemson victory nearly 75 percent of the time since its first celebration in 1922. Clemson has an overall record of 59-19-3 for its previous 81 Homecoming games, a .747 winning percentage. That includes a 29-3-2 record on Homecoming games since the 1971 season.
The first homecoming game at Clemson was in 1922, a 21-0 loss to Centre. Clemson was actually 0-4-1 through its first five homecoming games, so it is surprising that the tradition continued. Clemson defeated Auburn in 1927 by a 3-0 score for its first homecoming victory.
There is no record of a homecoming game in 1930 or 1938, but the event has been held in conjunction with a football game every year since 1939, even through the war years.
Clemson has just three losses on Homecoming since 1971, a 1989 defeat to Georgia Tech, 1997 to Virginia and 2001 to North Carolina. Tommy Bowden is 5-1 in his previous six Homecoming games, including three wins in a row. Clemson defeated a 24th ranked Virginia team on Homecoming by a 30-27 score in overtime in 2003. Clemson downed Utah State 35-6 last year. Four of Tommy Bowden's five Homecoming wins have been against ACC foes.
This will be the first time Duke has been Clemson's Homecoming opponent since 1992, a 21-6 Tiger victory. Overall, Clemson is 7-0-1 against the Blue Devils on Homecoming. Tommy Bowden was on the Duke sidelines for two of those Clemson wins, a 54-21 victory in 1984 and a 35-3 Clemson win in 1986. The tie took place in 1976 when Duke kicker Vince Fusco booted a 57-yard field goal on the last play of the game to tie the contest, 18-18. The kick actually hit the crossbar and bounced over. It was the sixth field goal of the game for Fusco, an ACC record that was tied earlier this year by Clemson's Jad Dean when he booted six against Texas A&M.
Clemson vs. Duke Series
Clemson holds a 32-16-1 lead in the series with Duke, including a 17-4-1 lead in games played in Death Valley. But, the Tigers have just a 13-12 lead in games at Duke. That includes last year's 16-13 Duke victory that was won on the last play of the game on a 53-yard field goal by Matt Brooks.
Duke has not won at Clemson since a 34-17 victory over a Danny Ford's second Clemson team in 1980. A freshman quarterback named Ben Bennett led the Duke offense and Dennis Tabron had three interceptions for 128 return yards to lead the Blue Devil defense in that game. Clemson has won 12 in a row over the Blue Devils in Death Valley, including the last meeting, a 40-7 Clemson victory in 2003. Clemson's average victory margin in those 12 consecutive wins over Duke at home is 25.6 points per game. The only game that has been within double digits was a 29-20 Clemson victory in 1997 that was the first overtime game in ACC history.
Clemson and Duke have split the last eight meetings at Duke, and three of the four wins have been by seven points or less. Clemson's only resounding win at Duke since 1981 was a 52-22 win in 2000. Seven of the last eight meetings between Clemson and Duke in Durham have been decided by seven points or less. Overall, Clemson has won 12 of the last 15 in the series dating to a 21-17 loss at Duke in 1989, Danny Ford's last year as Clemson head coach. Steve Spurrier was the coach of the Blue Devils for that game. Clemson entered that 1989 game with a 4-0 record, a #7 AP ranking and had recently won at Florida State.
Some of Clemson's single game records have been set against the Blue Devils. In 1995, Raymond Priester rushed for a record 263 yards to lead the Tiger offense in a 34-17 Tiger victory. On the other side of the line of scrimmage that day, Brian Dawkins had three interceptions in the first quarter to set a school record for a quarter and a half, and tie the record for a single game.
In 2002, Charlie Whitehurst made his first career start against the Blue Devils and completed 34 of 52 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns. The 420 passing yards set a record that still remains today. The same goes for the 34 completions, and the four touchdown passes tied the Clemson single game record.
The top two instances of the quickest back-to-back touchdowns in Clemson history took place against Duke. In 2003, Derrick Hamilton caught scoring passes from Whitehurst just 14 seconds apart, a record for the quickest back to back touchdowns in Clemson history. In 1999 Brian Wofford scored on an 18-yard TD pass from Brandon Streeter, then Terry Jolly ran an interception back from 20 yards out, scores that took place just 21 seconds apart, the second fastest back-to-back touchdown scores in Clemson history.
From a Duke standpoint, just three players in Clemson football history have caught 13 passes in a single game against the Tigers and all three are Duke players. Henley Carter had 13 catches against Clemson in 1968, Wes Chesson had 13 against the Tigers in 1970 and Mark Militello turned the trick in 1983. Tommy Bowden was the Duke quarterbacks coach for that performance. Those all tie for the second most catches in a game against Clemson. Kelly Campbell had a record 14 against the Tigers in 2000.
There have been many noteworthy performances in the Clemson vs. Duke series:
· 1957: In just the fourth meeting between the two teams, an 11th ranked Duke team defeats a 14th ranked Clemson team 7-6 in Durham. It is the fourth straight win to open the series for the Blue Devils.
· 1965: Clemson kicks a field goal to defeat Duke, 3-2, the only 3-2 score in Clemson football history, and tying a school record for the fewest points in a Clemson victory.
· 1971: Clemson upsets a 14th ranked Duke tam in Norfolk, VA by a 3-0 score. Eddie Seigler booted a 39-yard field goal for the Tigers.
· 1976: Vince Fusco sets and ACC record with six field goals, including one from 57 yards on the last play of the game that hit the goal post and bounced over in an 18-18 Homecoming tie at Death Valley.
· 1980: Duke upsets a 4-1 Clemson team in Death Valley 34-17 behind Dennis Tabron's three interceptions and Clemson opponent record 128 return yards. That was Duke's last win in Death Valley.
· 1981:Clemson gained over 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in a dominant 38-10 victory on the way to the National Championship.
· 1983:Both teams gained over 500 yards total offense, but the Tigers held on with a 38-31 victory. Tommy Bowden was Duke's quarterback coach in this game.
· 1988: Clemson defeats a 22nd ranked and 5-0 Duke team by a 49-17 margin. It is the last time both teams were ranked in the top 25 entering the game.
· 1989: Duke upset a 4-0 and seventh ranked Clemson team 21-17 in Durham. Clemson had upset Florida State in Tallahassee earlier in the season. Duke went on to win seven straight games and the ACC Championship.
· 1995: Raymond Priester set Clemson single game rushing record with263 yards in 34-17 victory. Brian Dawkins had three interceptions in one quarter for the Tigers.
· 1997: Clemson wins first overtime game in ACC history with 29-20 victory over Duke at Clemson. Rahim Abdullah returned interception 63 yards for a touchdown.
· 2001: Woody Dantzler became first 2000/1000 quarterback in NCAA history in 59-31 Clemson win.
· 2002: Charlie Whitehurst threw for school record 420 yards on 34 completions and Aaron Hunt kicked the game winning field goal with eight seconds left in 34-31 Clemson win.
· 2003--Charlie Whitehurst threw for 33 yards on 27-40 passes and three touchdowns in 40-7 Clemson victory. Two of the scores came just 14 seconds apart, both to Derrick Hamilton.
Clemson Veterans versus Duke
Gaines Adams (DE) -- Had four tackles including two tackles for loss in 2003. Had three tackles, including a sack at Duke in 2004.
Curtis Baham (WR) -- Caught two passes for 23 yards and his first career touchdown in 2003. Did not catch a pass at Duke, but started the game in 2004.
Charles Bennett (OG) -- Had five tackles, including career high three tackles for loss and a sack at Duke in 2004.
Tremaine Billie (WHIP) -- Had two tackles in 14 snaps in 2003. Had five tackles, including a sack in 44 plays as a starter, in 2004.
Kyle Browning (TB) -- Ran three times for 21 yards in 2003.
Cole Chason (P) -- Punted two times for a 37.5 yard average with both punts being downed inside the 20-yard line in 2003. Had 6 punts for 40.3 average and had a 40.0 net, his second best of the 2004 season.
Jad Dean (PK)--Made 2-2 field goals (20 and 32 yards) and 1-1 on extra points in 2004.
David Dunham (LB) -- Made four tackles in only six snaps last season. Had 1 tackle in 14 plays at Duke in 2004.
Jamaal Fudge (ROV) - Had six total tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and two pass break ups in 2003. Had two tackles in 67 plays at Duke in 2004.
Tye Hill (CB) -- Had three tackles in 2003. Made one special teams tackle in 2002. Had five tackles and a pass break up at Duke in 2004.
Reggie Merriweather (RB)--Had 18 rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead Clemson ball carries at Duke in 2004.
Chansi Stuckey (WR) -- Completed one pass for 13 yards and rushed three times for 12 yards and a touchdown in 2003. Also caught two passes for 10 yards in that game. Had two receptions for 23 yards and one rush for five yards at Duke in 2004.
Trey Tate (DT) -- Had three tackles in only 15 snaps in 2003. Added three tackles in 37 plays as a starter in 2004.
Anthony Waters (LB) -- Tied his career high in tackles with six in 2003 game as a freshman. Had eight tackles in 52 snaps as a starter in 2004.
Nick Watkins (LB)--Had five tackles, including one for loss as a reserve at Duke in 2004.
Charlie Whitehurst (QB) -- Is 2-1 as a starter against the Blue Devils completing 73 of 118 passes in those three games for 868 yards and seven touchdowns. Set the Clemson single game passing record by throwing for 420 yards in 2002. Also had a record 34 completions and record tying four touchdown passes. That was his first career start. Has 136.5 career efficiency rating against the Blue Devils, his best against an ACC opponent.
Last Year vs. Duke
Duke 16, Clemson 13
Matt Brooks' 53-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired to give Duke a 16-13 come-from-behind victory over Clemson. The Blue Devils scored 10 points in the final 1:21 to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1998. In the first quarter, Clemson moved 66 yards in eight plays, and the drive ended in a Jad Dean 20-yard field goal. The key play on the drive was a Charlie Whitehurst 40-yard pass to Airese Currie. Duke answered the Tiger score with a field goal of its own, as Brooks connected from 27 yards out.
Clemson then fumbled the ensuing short kickoff and the Blue Devils recovered the ball at the Tiger 19. Brooks hit his second field goal of the day, this time from 21 yards away.
The Tigers came back with a field goal of their own when Dean drilled a 32-yarder 1:56 into the second quarter. Reggie Merriweather carried six times on the drive for 46 yards. The final quarter began with Clemson on its only touchdown drive of the day. It was a scoring march that covered 76 yards in 11 plays and ended with a Merriweather three-yard touchdown run.
The two defenses began to take over, as each team punted twice before Duke took over at its own 46-yard line with 4:25 remaining. Mike Schneider completed five of six passes and hit Ronnie Drummer for a four-yard touchdown pass with 1:21 left in the game. ACC Defensive Player of the Year Leroy Hill was injured and did not play on the final two Blue Devil drives.
Clemson began its next drive at its 26-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Whitehurst threw over the middle for Michael Collins, but Collins was on the ground when Deonto McCormick came up with an interception at the 50. He returned it eight yards to the Tiger 42.
Three passes gained six yards to the Clemson 36-yard line to set up Brooks. The Tigers used two of their three timeouts to try and ice Brooks, but it did not work, as he was good on his third-straight attempt of the day, and Clemson saw its chances at winning season in the conference fade away. The 53-yarder was a career long for the senior kicker.
Merriweather led the Tiger rushing attack with 76 yards on 18 carries. Currie caught a game-high six passes for 75 yards and went over the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
The Clemson defense played well, as it allowed only 21 yards rushing and 234 total yards, while Duke had an average starting field position at its own 43. The rushing defense tied for the best by a Tiger team over the last 25 years in a loss. Clemson also had 14 tackles for loss and five sacks. Travis Pugh and Hill each had 10 tackles to lead the Tigers.
Last Duke-Clemson Meeting at Death Valley
Clemson 40, Duke 7
Clemson followed up one of the most emotional wins in school history, a 26-10 win over 3rd ranked Florida State the previous week, with a 40-7 victory over Duke in Memorial Stadium. Duke was coached by Ted Roof, who had taken over for Carl Franks in October. The Tigers outgained the Blue Devils 486-174 in total yardage. Clemson's secondary allowed just 57 passing yards the entire game. Duke averaged just 3.2 yards per play as well.
Clemson scored 14 points in the opening quarter and never looked back. Eric Coleman got a quarterback sack to end an early Duke threat. From there, Charlie Whitehurst and the Clemson offense took over. After spreading the ball around the field, Whitehurst found Hamilton across the middle. He made just one move, and was in the endzone for a 31-yard touchdown catch.
On the ensuing kickoff, fullback Steven Jackson stripped Blue Devil receiver Senterrio Landrum of the ball. Buddy Williams pounced on the loose football and gave Clemson possession at the Blue Devil 25-yard line. On the very next play, Whitehurst again hooked up with Hamilton. The touchdowns were just 14 seconds apart, the quickest back to back touchdown scores in Clemson history.
The Tigers got the ball back quickly, and struck again. This time, Whitehurst again hooked up with favorite target Hamilton for a 40-yard gain. Hamilton cradled the ball in a miraculous catch down the left sideline. That set up Whitehurst on a four-yard touchdown strike to Curtis Baham in the back of the endzone. For Baham, it was his first career touchdown and it gave Clemson a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Clemson received the ball to start the second half, and the offense continued to shine. Whitehurst directed a 13-play, 77-yard drive that ended with Hunt's second field goal. His 20-yarder put Clemson ahead 27-0. Following a Duke punt, the Tigers put the game away. Justin Miller took the punt at his own 37, made one slight move to the left and raced 63 yards for his first career punt return for touchdown. It was his second returned touchdown in just two years as a Tiger. He joined Bobby Gage as the only Tigers with a kickoff return and punt return for a score.
Duke got on the board in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter after Kelvin Grant fumbled in Tiger territory, giving the ball to the Blue Devils. Chris Dargan ran up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown, cutting the score to 34-7. Clemson tacked on a final touchdown with Chansi Stuckey playing quarterback. Stuckey had caught two passes at wide receiver earlier in the contest. He directed a 60-yard scoring drive that ended in his four-yard draw for a touchdown.
Whitehurst became the first Clemson quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season after his 331-yard performance in this game Hamilton set the single-season record for touchdown receptions after he caught two against Duke. That gave him nine for the year, eclipsing the previous mark shared by Perry Tuttle (1981), Terrance Roulhac (1984), and Tony Horne (1997). Defensively, several Tigers contributed to the cause. Donnell Washington had a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Jamaal Fudge was all over the field, as he had a tackle for loss, two pass breakups, and an interception. Miller also had his second interception of the season, as well as a pass deflection.
Roof and Bowden Worked on Same Staff
Duke coach Ted Roof began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant at Alabama under Bill Curry. One of the assistant coaches on that Alabama staff was Tommy Bowden. They were on the same staff under Curry in 1987 and 1988. Bowden remained another year before moving on to Kentucky for the 1990 season as offensive coordinator. Roof has also served as an assistant coach at Massachusetts, Western Carolina and his alma mater, Georgia Tech. During his time with the Yellow Jackets he was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented to the top assistant coach in the nation.
A four-year letter winner with the Yellow Jackets as a player, Roof was a starter for the 1983-84-85 seasons. He was one of the leaders of Georgia Tech's "Black Watch Defense" of 1985, helping Bill Curry's Tech team to a 9-2-1 season that included a bowl victory over Michigan State. A first-team All-ACC player, he still ranks in the top 10 in Georgia Tech history with 417 career tackles. A member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame, Roof was the top tackler for Georgia Tech in its 14-3 win at Clemson in 1985. Roof took over as Duke's head coach in October of 2003 and he coached his fourth career game at Clemson in November of that year. He then defeated the Tigers in Durham last year.
Bowden Coached at Duke
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden was the quarterbacks coach at Duke from 1983-86. He was named offensive coordinator in 1985. Among the players Bowden tutored was Anthony Dilweg, a Duke quarterback who went on to play in the NFL.
During those four years, Clemson was 4-0 against the Blue Devils, but the two games in Durham were close. In 1983, Bowden's first year at Duke, a 9-1-1 Clemson team that finished the year ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll, defeated the Blue Devils 38-31. Duke had the ball on the Clemson nine for a fourth-down play on its last drive, but Clemson lineman James Robinson batted down Ben Bennett's final pass. Bennett was 34-53 for 367 yards and four touchdowns that day under Bowden's direction.
Close Games Continue
Clemson's run of close games continued at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets won by a 10-9 score. Clemson had the ball in Georgia Tech territory with under three minutes left, but could not convert a fourth-and eight play. Over the last 14 games, Clemson has a 9-5 record. All five of the losses have been by six points or less. Clemson has lost four games this year by a total of 14 points. That list includes two overtime games, so the point difference in regulation in those four losses this year is just five points.
This is the longest stretch without a loss by more than six points since the 1986-87 era when Clemson went 15 consecutive games without a loss by at least seven points. That streak started with a 28-20 win at Wake Forest on November 1, 1986 and ended when South Carolina defeated the Tigers 20-7 in Columbia on November 21, 1987.
Over the last 14 games the only blemishes on Clemson's record have been a 16-13 loss at Duke, a 36-30 triple overtime loss to Miami (FL), a 16-13 overtime loss to Boston College, a 31-27 loss to Wake Forest, and the 10-9 loss to Georgia Tech. Four of those five losses the winning opponent points were scored within the last 33 seconds of the game. Clemson's first five games of the 2005 season were decided with offensive or defensive plays within the last minute of play. That includes four of the five that were decided within the last two seconds, four on the last play of the game.
Clemson and Navy were the only schools in the nation to have each of their first five games decided by seven points or less. As far as Clemson history is concerned, this was the first time since 1906 that Clemson played five consecutive games in the same season that were decided by seven points or less. That year Clemson had three scoreless ties (Virginia Tech, NC State and Davidson), had a 6-0 win over Georgia and a 6-4 win over Auburn, to start the season. The streak was broken at NC State when Clemson came away with a 31-10 victory.
Clemson has scored an even 200 points this year compared to 158 for the opposition, yet the overall record is 4-4. Clemson has scored 20 touchdowns, has made 20 extra points and kicked 20 field goals for perfect symmetry in the scoring area so far this season. While Clemson has a +42 in the scoring column there are many other areas that very close with the opposition and certainly are further indicators to a many close games over the course of the season.
Tigers Have Just Nine Turnovers and 40 Penalties
Clemson lost four turnovers and committed eight penalties in the 10-9 loss to Georgia Tech on October 29. Those mistakes contributed to the loss, but certainly were the exception for this 2005 Clemson team. The Tigers lost three fumbles in the first half after going 499 consecutive offensive plays without a fumble. Clemson was the last team in the nation to lose a fumble after going the first seven games without losing. Reggie Merriweather broke string with a lost fumble on a play that was first called down, but later changed to a lost fumble by instant replay. It was Merriweather's first lost fumble as a Tiger on his 238th career carry.
While Clemson made mistakes against Tech, the Tigers are still ranked high nationally in terms of not committing turnovers or penalties. Clemson has lost nine turnovers for the season on three lost fumbles and six interceptions, tied for the eighth fewest in the nation. With three lost fumbles, Clemson is tied for seventh in the nation in fewest fumbles lost. Rutgers is now the national leader with one lost fumble for the season. The Tigers are also 11th in the nation in fewest penalties committed with 40 in eight games.
Whitehurst Needs 163 Yards for Third 2000-yard Season
Charlie Whitehurst needs just 163 yards passing to reach the 2000-yard passing mark for the third time in his career. When he does he will own three of the top five 2000-yard passing seasons in Clemson history. Whitehurst owns the Clemson record with 3561 yards during Clemson's 13-game schedule in 2003. He had 2067 last year, which is the fourth most passing yards in a season. Woody Dantzler and Nealon Greene are the only other Clemson quarterbacks with a 2000-yard passing season. Whitehurst ranks sixth in ACC history in passing yards, but will move into the top five with his next completion. Spence Fisher, ironically a Duke quarterback (1992-95) is just two yards ahead of Whitehurst.
Merriweather Has Back to Back 100-Yard Games
Reggie Merriweather rushed for a career high 128 yards in 23 carries against Georgia Tech, his second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and fourth of his career. Merriweather had 108 yards in the win over Temple and is now the first Tiger running back to have consecutive 100-yard rushing days since Travis Zachery had 147 against NC State and 151 against Maryland in consecutive games in 2000. Woody Dantzler had consecutive 100-yard games against South Carolina and Duke to close the 2001 regular season.
A 100-yard day against Duke would make Merriweather the first Clemson player to have three consecutive 100-yard days since Dantzler had four in a row in 2000. The last running back to have three consecutive 100-yard rushing days is Raymond Priester, Clemson's career rushing leader, who had four in a row to close the 1996 season.
Entering this week, Merriweather is Clemson's top rusher with 555 yards in eight games, an average of 69.4 yards per game. That is fourth best in the conference behind Chris Barclay of Wake Forest (124.8), Tyrone Moss of Miami (96.4) and P. J. Daniels of Georgia Tech (84.9). Merriweather out-rushed Daniels in their head to head battle last weekend, 128-100.
Merriweather now has 1281 career rushing yards, tops among active Tigers. He has four touchdowns this season and 15 for his career.
Merriweather Sets Clemson Record
Clemson running back Reggie Merriweather scored the game winning touchdown for the Tigers in the 28-24 win at Maryland on September 10. His 38-yard jaunt around right end on a third-and-seven play with 2:58 left marked the second straight year and third time in his career that he had scored a game winning touchdown with three minutes or less left in game. In fact, it was the third time he had done it in a seven-game period.
Merriweather scored from two yards out with 23 seconds left to give Clemson a 10-7 win over Maryland in 2004, then scored from a yard out in overtime against Miami just a couple of weeks later. Clemson kept the Hurricanes out of the endzone and Clemson had the victory.
When Merriweather scored his game winner at Maryland he became the first player in Clemson history to score three fourth-quarter game winning touchdowns in a career. Prior to the Maryland game, Merriweather was joined in the Tiger record books in that category by Fred Cone, Doug Cline, George Usry, Lowndes Shingler and Jerry Butler. Merriweather is now one game-winning play behind David Treadwell. Treadwell booted a fourth-quarter game winning field goal for Clemson four times in his career, including consecutive years within the last 10 seconds against Georgia (1986-87).
Two of NCAA Career Leaders in Interceptions on Display
Two of the career leaders in interceptions among active Division I players will be on display when Clemson meets Duke this Saturday. The Blue Devils John Talley has 11 career interceptions to rank sixth nationally, while Clemson's Jamaal Fudge has nine career pass thefts to rank in a tie for 13th among active players.
Talley has five interceptions in nine games this year and ranks tied for ninth in the nation in that category. His 11 career picks have been returned for 245 yards, also among the national leaders in that category. An All-ACC selection last year, he already ranks second in Duke history in interception return yards, trailing only Fred Folger (1946-48) by 38 yards.
Talley is a native of nearby Duncan, SC and Byrnes High School where he helped Byrnes to the State 4A championship game as a senior in 2002. In addition to his contributions on interceptions this year, Talley has 42 tackles to rank in a tie for fifth and has seven passes broken up, giving him 12 passes defensed, also first on the team. He is already in the top 10 in Duke history in that category.
Fudge has two interceptions this year and nine for his career. He is attempting to lead Clemson in interceptions for a third consecutive season, something no Tiger has ever done. Currently, Tye Hill is ahead of him with three interceptions. Fudge has a fumble recovery this year and two caused fumbles, including one last week at Georgia Tech. He has four caused fumbles in his career. He has two career fumble recoveries to go with the nine interceptions, giving him 11 career takeaways.
The native of Jacksonville, FL is following in the footsteps of Jacksonville native Brian Dawkins, now an All-Pro with the Philadelphia Eagles, when it comes to tackling. Fudge is known for his fierce tackling from the secondary and the 43 tackles for the season to rank fourth on the Clemson team. He now has252 for his career, more than any other active Tiger. Fudge has now started 32 consecutive games, second among active Tigers behind Charlie Whitehurst's 37 consecutive starts, and has played in 45 in a row. Fudge has never missed a Clemson game.
Stuckey Leads ACC in Receptions
Chansi Stuckey had a solid game at Georgia Tech and got some help from his defensive teammates, enabling him to move past Calvin Johnson into the ACC lead in terms of receptions per game. Stuckey had eight catches for 89 yards at Tech (including 49 yards after the catch), and now has 42 catches in eight games for the season, a 5.25 average. Johnson was held to four receptions for 46 yards by the Clemson defense and now has 36 receptions in seven games for 5.14 catches per game, just below Stuckey's average.
Stuckey's 5.25 receptions per game would be fifth best in Clemson history if the season ended today. The record is 6.75 catches per game by Rod Gardner in 1999, a year in which he had a school record 80 receptions. Airese Currie had 61 catches in 11 games last year for a 5.55 average when he led the ACC. In addition to his pass catching, Stuckey is ranked in the top five in the ACC as a punt returner with a 9.1 average on 16 returns. His season in that area included a 47-yard punt return for a touchdown in the season opener against Texas A&M.
Stuckey Attempting to Join Exclusive Club
Clemson Chansi Stuckey is on the verge of joining an exclusive club in Clemson football history. The junior receiver has accounted for a touchdown three different ways in his a career. He threw two touchdown passes as a freshman quarterback at Wake Forest in 2003. He ran for a touchdown as a reserve quarterback at South Carolina in 2003. He scored a touchdown on a punt return against Texas A&M in 2005.
Now he just needs to score a touchdown on a reception to become the third player in Clemson history to account for a touchdown by four different means. The other two Tigers to account for touchdowns four different ways are Bobby Gage and Ray Mathews. Both did it four different ways in the same season. Gage scored on a run, pass, reception and kickoff return in 1947, while Mathews scored on a run, pass, reception and punt return in 1948.
Stuckey has 34 receptions to lead the Tigers in that category this year and rank in a tie for second in the ACC with 4.9 catches per game. But, he is yet to get that elusive touchdown reception. He has 69 career receptions to rank first among active Tigers in that category.
The junior receiver was very productive in the win over NC State. In the win at NC State, he had eight receptions for 103 yards, the second 100-yard receiving game of his career. His total included a 39-yard reception, the longest catch of his career. He also had 22 yards rushing on two attempts, including a 21-yard run, the longest run of his career. In the win over Temple he had another 100-yard all-purpose running game. He had 58 receiving yards, 23 rushing yards and 21 punt return yards in that game.
Defense Coming on Strong
Clemson's defense has held the opposition to 10 points or fewer in three consecutive games. That is the first time Clemson's defense has done that since the first four games of the 2000 season. Clemson held NC State to 10 points on a Thursday night ESPN National TV victory on October 13, then held Temple to seven in a 37-7 Clemson win. Last Saturday the Clemson defense held Georgia Tech and All-America wide receiver Calvin Johnson to just 126 yards passing and 10 points.
Over the last three games, Clemson has allowed the opposition just 906 yards of total offense, 27 points and just three touchdowns, including just one touchdown pass.
For the season, Clemson is now up to 30th in the nation in scoring defense and 33rd in total defense. And, that includes overtime periods. Clemson has given up 22 overtime points so Clemson has allowed just 17 points per game in regulation play. A scoring defense of 17.0 would rank 15th in the nation.
Clemson -Duke Game Notes
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