Three Tigers Named ACC Players of the Week
Duane Coleman, Gaines Adams and Roman Fry were all named ACC Players of the Week for the Tigers victory at Florida State on September 16. Coleman was named the Defensive Back of the Week, Adams was named the Defensive Lineman of the Week and Fry was named the Offensive Lineman of the Week, giving Clemson three of the four major weekly honors.
Coleman was Clemson's top tackler in the game with 10 and he also had a fumble recovery. Adams had a pair of sacks and seven total tackles. Those two players were major reasons Clemson held FSU to 204 yards total offense, 102 on the ground and 102 in the air. It was the best total defense by a Clemson defense against Florida State.
Fry had 13 knockdown blocks and graded 87 percent for 53 plays, helping the Tigers gain 151 yards rushing against the nation's top rushing defense. Florida State had allowed just13 yards rushing per game entering the contest. But, Clemson gained 67 yards rushing on the final drive to score with eight seconds left and pull out the game 27-20.
Clemson Returns to Polls
Clemson returned to the AP and USA Today Coaches polls on September 17 after a week outside the top 25 after its win at ninth- ranked Florida State. Clemson is ranked 19th by Associated Press and 23rd by USA Today coaches according to the polls released on Sunday, September 17.
That was the second highest ranked team Clemson has defeated on the road in its history. The only win that is ranked higher is the 10-8 victory over eighth-ranked North Carolina in 1981.
Clemson was 18th in both polls during the preseason this year and remained in that position after the season opening win against Florida Atlantic. Clemson dropped to 26th in the poll points in AP and 27th in USA Today after the one-point overtime loss to Boston College. The Tigers jumped from unranked to 19th by AP after the 27-20 win at ninth-ranked Florida State on September 16. That was the biggest jump from being unranked to a spot in the polls since the 2001 season when unranked Clemson won at ninth ranked Georgia Tech 47- 44 in overtime, then moved to 19th in the AP poll.
The four position disparity in the polls this week is the largest for a Clemson team since September 22, 1997. That week Clemson was 17th in AP and 21st in USA Today. The record for the biggest disparity in ranking for Clemson between the two polls is eight spots. On October 8, 1951 Clemson was 16th in AP, but 24th in the UPI poll. The UPI ranked 25 teams for a few weeks during that season for some unknown reason according to the ESPN Encyclopedia of college football.
Clemson has now been ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll for seven of the last eight polls. The Tigers finished 21sth in the final poll of both AP and USA Today last year.
Proctor Has Consistent Start to Senior Season
Will Proctor is off to a strong start as the Tigers quarterback this year. The fifth-year player in his first year as a starter has led the Clemson offense to nearly 400 yards per game through the first three games. Clemson ranks second in the ACC in total offense, second in rushing offense and second in passing offense. Clemson leads the ACC in scoring with 38 points per game. Those are pretty strong rankings considering Clemson has played two of its three games against current top 25 teams Boston College and Florida State.
Proctor ranks second in the ACC in passing efficiency with 145.4 rating points, second only to Virginia Tech's Sean Glennon. Proctor and Glennon will face each other when the Tigers play the Hokies on October 26 on a Thursday night in Blacksburg. That game will be televised nationally by ESPN. Proctor has thrown for a league best six touchdown passes with just one interception and he has completed 54-90 passes, exactly 60 percent. He is also second in the ACC in passing yards per game with 234.3.
Proctor has started four games at quarterback in his career, three this year and the Duke game last year. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all four games he has started, including last week when he was 16-30 for 194 yards and a touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey. The native of Winter Park, FL is just two games away from tying the Clemson record for consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass. Mike Eppley had a streak of six straight games in 1984 and Woody Dantzler had a six-game streak in 2000. Charlie Whitehurst had two five-game streaks in his career.
Tiger Defense Holds Seminoles to 204 Yards
While Clemson's offense is near the top of the ACC stats in most areas, the Clemson defense is also well represented in the latest league data. Vic Koenning's defense is third in the ACC in total defense, allowing just 263 yards per game, and is third in pass efficiency defense with 97.8 rating points. Clemson is actually 19th in the nation in that category. The defense has also forced seven turnovers, a big reason Clemson is second in the ACC in turnover margin.
Clemson allowed Florida State to gain just 204 yards of total offense, a perfectly balanced 102 rushing and 102 passing. Ironically, that is the exact same rushing total the Seminoles got against Clemson in the 35-14 Tiger win at Death Valley in 2005. Florida State has scored just one touchdown against Clemson over the last eight quarters. Florida State has scored a pair of special teams touchdowns during that time.
The 204 yards of total offense by Florida State last Saturday was the fewest Florida State has ever recorded against Clemson. The previous low was recorded in 2005 when Florida State had just 226.
Gaines Adams had a strong game against Florida State, the second consecutive year he has been a factor against Bobby Bowden's team. He had seven tackles and two sacks last Saturday. Duane Coleman, Clemson's leading tackler on the season with 26 stops, had 10 tackles at Florida State to lead the Tiger point prevention unity.
North Carolina Update
North Carolina enters Saturday's game at Clemson with a 1-2 record. John Bunting's team plays a tough schedule as the Tigers will be their second top 20 opponent this year. They have already faced Virginia Tech, ranked 11th in the latest AP poll, and now will face 19th ranked Clemson. Their other loss is to an undefeated Rutgers team in the season opener, and they will play at top 20 Notre Dame in November.
North Carolina is coming off a 45-42 victory over Furman, a team Clemson will face next year. The Tar Heel offense has been productive and ranks third in the ACC in total offense, gaining 372.3 yards per game. The Tar Heels and Tigers are the only two teams in the ACC ranked in the top four of the league in both rushing offense and passing offense.
Ronnie McGill, a native of Clover, SC, was the top rusher for UNC in 2003 and 2005 and he is on the way to a third team rushing title this year. He has averaged 74.3 yards per game so far and has a 4.6 average. The top receiver is Hakeem Nicks, who is seventh in the league in receptions per game with 4.67. Brooks Foster is third in the conference in reception yards per game with a 62-yard average on 17 catches for 186 yards.
North Carolina has used two quarterbacks this season. Cam Sexton is listed as the starter entering this game. The freshman from Laurinburg, NC has completed 23-41 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown. He has a passing efficiency of 145.3, just below Will Proctor's 145.4. Joe Dailey has completed 34-53 passes for 289 yards as the backup quarterback.
The North Carolina defense is led by Jacoby Watkins, another native of Laurinburg, NC, who has 20 tackles and two passes deflected. D.J. Walker, a free safety, also has 20 stops for the year. Hilee Taylor is a defensive end, still another player from Laurinburg, NC, who has 11 tackles, including three behind the line of scrimmage.
This will be North Carolina's only appearance at Death Valley between 2003 and 2010. After Saturday's game the two teams don't meet again in the regular season until 2010 when they play in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels will next come to Clemson in 2011.
Clemson vs. North Carolina Series
Clemson holds a 33-18-1 lead in the series with North Carolina that dates to 1897, the second year of Clemson football. The 1897 game was just the sixth game in Clemson football history and the Tar Heels won that game 28-0. It was the first game for the Tigers against a team that is now in the ACC.
Clemson has won four of the five meetings since Tommy Bowden became the Tigers head coach in 1999. Bowden's teams have scored at least 31 points in each of the four wins against North Carolina, but just three in the loss. Bowden's Tigers scored 31 points in a 31-20 win at Death Valley in 1999 against Tar Heel team coached by Carl Torbush. The Tigers won the 2000 game 38-24 behind four touchdown passes by backup quarterback Willie Simmons, who was on for an injured Woody Dantzler. Simmons is now a video graduate assistant with the Clemson football staff.
Clemson was ranked 13th in the nation entering the 2001 meeting with the Tar Heels and Woody Dantzler was coming off the best back to back performances in Clemson history by a Tiger signal caller. He had 418 yards total offense in an overtime win against Georgia Tech and 517 in a win at NC State. Over 84,000 Clemson fans attended that Homecoming game in 2001, but Julius Peppers and the North Carolina defense had a plan to stop Dantzler and held him to a season low 127 total yards rushing and passing in a 38-3 North Carolina win. That Tar Heel team went on to defeat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Charlie Whitehurst threw four touchdown passes in a 42-12 Clemson win at North Carolina in 20-02. Tye Hill had the only 100-yard rushing day of his career in that victory. The next year Hill moved to defense and he is now a starting cornerback with the St. Louis Rams.
Clemson has won 17 of the last 23 meetings in the series. The Tigers have a 16-7 lead in games played at Clemson and Death Valley, and a 15-10-1 advantage in games in Chapel Hill, including a 14-9-1 lead in games at Keenan Stadium.
The landmark game of the series took place at North Carolina in 1981. The Tigers won that contest 10-8 behind an outstanding defense led by Jeff Davis and Jeff Bryant. It was the first meeting of top 10 ACC teams in the history of the conference, as Clemson was undefeated and ranked second in the nation entering the contest, while the Tar Heels were 7-1 and ranked eighth.. Jeff Bryant recovered a North Carolina lateral with a minute left to clinch the victory for the Tigers, a key win in Clemson's National Championship season.
Tigers from the Tar Heel State
Clemson has just three players on its travel roster from the state of North Carolina. C.J. Gaddis of Raeford, NC, a starting cornerback, Crezdon Butler, a reserve cornerback from Asheville, NC, and Antwon Murchison, a reserve defensive tackle from Aberdeen, NC are the three Tigers on the travel roster from the Tar Heel state. Chris Hairston is a freshman from Winston-Salem, NC and Carver High School who is also on the Clemson roster. The freshman offensive lineman will be red-shirted this season.
Last Meeting was a Thriller
Clemson won the last meeting between the Tigers and the Tar Heels by a 36- 28 score on October 25, 2003. It was an eight- point margin, but the decision came down to virtually the last play of the game. Clemson gained 528 yards of total offense, 309 passing and 219 rushing, but still had to have a great play by its defense to save the game. Clemson has never lost a game in which it has gained 500 yards of total offense, but the streak nearly ended on this day in Death Valley.
Clemson held the 36-28 lead when North Carolina took over the ball with three minutes left. Devin Durant, now a quarterback in the Canadian Football League, completed five consecutive passes and also scrambled twice for first downs on the drive. On second- and-six from the Clemson 14, he ran to the left and appeared to have his sights set on a tying touchdown.
But, he was hit hard by Travis Pugh and Jamaal Fudge and the ball popped loose. The ball carried across the goal line into the endzone where David Dunham recovered for a touchback with just 42 seconds remaining. Fudge had quite a day for the Tigers with an interception return of 21 yards and seven tackles. Leroy Hill added 11 tackles and two tackles for loss.
Duane Coleman, currently a starting cornerback for the Tigers, had 111 yards rushing 13 attempts, his career high in rushing yards in a single game. Airese Currie, now with the Chicago Bears, had four receptions for 87 yards and Derrick Hamilton added three receptions for 103 yards and a 100-yard kickoff return for a score. He became the first player in Clemson history with 100 yards receiving and 100 kickoff return yards in the same game. His 100-yard return erased a 28-23 North Carolina lead in the third period when both teams scored 14 points. Charlie Whitehurst completed 18-34 passes for 309 yards to lead the offense.
There are 16 current Clemson players who played in the 2003 game against North Carolina. The list alphabetically includes Gaines Adams, Nathan Bennett, Tramaine Billie, Cole Chason, Duane Coleman, Jad Dean, Marion Dukes, Dustin Fry, Roman Fry, Sergio Gilliam, Thomas Hunter, Reggie Merriweather, Brandon Pilgrim, Brent Smith, Chansi Stuckey, and Anthony Waters. Billie and Waters are injured and will not play against North Carolina.
Tigers Win at Florida State with Late Score by Davis
Clemson registered a landmark victory in many wins in its 27- 20 win at 9th ranked Florida State last Saturday. The victory was the first for the Tigers in Tallahassee since Florida State joined the ACC for the 1992 season, and the first by any Clemson team in Tallahassee since 1989 when Danny Ford was the head coach of the Tigers. Fittingly, Ford and his 1981 National Championship team will be honored at Death Valley on Saturday.
While Clemson hadn't won at Tallahassee in 17 years, neither had a lot of teams. Florida State was 54-2 in home ACC games since Bobby Bowden's team joined the ACC in 1992. Both previous losses at home in ACC play had been to NC State, in 2001 and 2005. Clemson has now won three of the last four from the Seminoles and that makes this senior class the first ACC senior class to post a winning record against the Seminoles. Florida and Miami (FL) senior classes have done it since 1992, but they were not ACC teams.
Clemson gained the victory with a last minute 85-yard drive for a touchdown, a drive that culminated with a one-yard scoring run by James Davis with just eight seconds left. That was the second latest game winning touchdown in Clemson history. The only touchdown scored later in a game that gave the Tigers a victory took place in 1958 when Harvey White scored on a three-yard run with three seconds left to give Clemson a 12-7 win at Vanderbilt.
Florida State was ranked ninth in AP entering the game and that is the second highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on the road in school history. The record for the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on the road is a #8 North Carolina team in 1981. The Tigers also defeated a ninth-ranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta in 2001. Clemson has six wins over top 10 teams on the road in its history and Tommy Bowden has been the coach in three of those six games.
Welcome Back Danny Pearman
Danny Pearman is in his first year as an assistant coach at North Carolina, but he certainly is no stranger to games at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Pearman is a 1987 Clemson graduate who was a member of the Clemson team as a tight end between 1984 and 1987. He came to Clemson as a walk-on tight end and was a part of ACC Championships in 1986 and 1987. The native of Charlotte, NC was the starting tight end in 11 of the 12 games in 1987 when Clemson had a 10- 2 record and defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl in his last game.
Pearman remained at Clemson for the 1988 and 1989 seasons as a graduate assistant and collected two more bowl rings, plus a 1988 ACC Championship ring. He moved on to Alabama where he was a full time assistant on Alabama's 1992 National Championship team. He remained at Alabama until 1998 when he moved on to Virginia Tech where he served as a tight ends and offensive tackles coaches under Frank Beamer. He was an assistant on the Hokies 1999 team that played for the national championship against Florida State.
Pearman has experienced success everywhere he has played and coached. He has coached in a bowl game 15 consecutive seasons, or every year he has been a full-time assistant coach. Including his time as a player at Clemson, he had gone to a bowl game 21 consecutive years entering this season.
Pearman is the first of two Clemson graduates who will coach against Clemson this year. Mike O'Cain, who was a Tiger quarterback from 1974-76, is the quarterbacks coach at Virginia Tech and will coach against the Tigers on October 26.
Bowden Has Ties to UNC Offensive Coordinator
Frank Cignetti is in his first year as offensive coordinator at North Carolina. He has never coached at Clemson, as his only college coaching stops have come at Fresno State and Pittsburgh and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. But, he does have a tie to the Bowden family. His father, also Frank Cignetti, replaced Bobby Bowden as the head coach at West Virginia in 1976 and was Tommy Bowden's head coach during Tommy's senior season. Tommy then remained at West Virginia for the 1977 season as a graduate assistant coach on Cignetti's staff.
1981 Team Inducted into Ring of Honor Saturday
Clemson's 1981 National Championship team will be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor Saturday at Memorial Stadium as part of their 25-year anniversary celebration. Last year the Clemson Ring of Honor Committee voted to induct all Clemson national championship teams into each sports respective Ring of Honor on an anniversary year.
All Clemson national championship teams, led by their head coach, will be inducted eventually. Saturday, Danny Ford and his 1981 football team will be inducted during pre-game ceremonies. As part of that ceremony, Ford will be presented a replica of the 1981 National Championship trophy.
In future years in conjunction with a team anniversary, the 1984 and 1987 Clemson men's soccer teams coached by Dr. I.M. Ibraham will be inducted into the soccer Ring of Honor at Riggs Fields. The 2003 Clemson golf team coached by Larry Penley will be inducted into the Ring of Honor as well. Those coaches will receive a replica of their team national championship trophy as well.
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