Notebook: Tigers Make a Statement

CLEMSON – In the not-so-distant past, Clemson's football team would have been prone for a letdown following such a big win like last week at Florida State.

But according to the Tiger players following the a 52-7 win over North Carolina, things ain't like they used to be.

"It says we're a different team, I think," center Dustin Fry said. "Usually after a big win we kind of fall apart. We think we've arrived and then we play down to our opponent. We just showed that we're a different team from where it has been in the past and that we can keep everything going and not have a collapse."

Saturday's performance was the kind of showing that good teams do after a big win. Clemson came out of the gate and left no doubt as to whom the winner would be.

It was a statement game in many ways.

"We had said all week that we needed to have a sense of urgency for this one," offensive guard Roman Fry said. "I felt like the team did a great job of preparing as a whole."

However, Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden says the season's long from being over and that one win hasn't exorcised all of the team's past demons.

"I'd like to say it is a statement game other than the fact that we've got eight left to play," he said. "If that were the last game of the year, I'd say yes, because I wouldn't have to back it up. … Whether we can maintain it, I don't know. But it does show something more than what we have shown in the past."

How bad was the it?
The beating Clemson laid on the Tar Heels was so bad that the Tigers scored seven rushing touchdowns, which is the most ever against a North Carolina team.

The previous record for rushing touchdowns against was six, which had happened five times, with the most recent coming from Auburn in 1988.

One reason for the easy time of it by the Tigers is that according to some of their offensive linemen, North Carolina never did anything out of the ordinary defensively.

"UNC just kind of played us straight up," Dustin Fry said. "We were expecting a lot more slanting. When they just give us vanilla looks and don't show us anything different, it makes our job a lot easier."

It was also so bad that even Bowden had some sympathy for Tar Heels coach John Bunting, who very well could be out a job at the end of the season.

"I've certainly been where John Bunting is with up at Wake Forest a few years ago," he said. "I've been there where you just want the game to end as quickly as possible."

Under Bunting, North Carolina now has 16 losses of 25 points or more and 12 by 30 or more. It is also the sixth time a team has scored at least 50 points against the Tar Heels since 2001.

In each of the Tar Heels' games this year, the opposition has had someone score at least three rushing touchdowns.

Quick Hits
James Davis has at least one touchdown in each of Clemson's last eight games. … His four touchdowns against the Tar Heels are the most by a Tiger since Chad Jasmin did it against South Carolina in the famous 63-17 game in 2003. … That game was also the last time Clemson has scored 21 points in the first quarter.

Tight end Thomas Hunter's 47-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest of his career. … At halftime, Clemson's 1981 National Championship team made a million dollar pledge for the WestZone Project. …

The last time Clemson had seven rushing touchdowns came against Duke in 1982. … Bowden is now 5-1 against the Tar Heels. … The 38:17 was the longest time of possession under any Bowden-coached team. … Saturday was the first time all season placekicker Jad Dean hasn't missed a kick.

The Clemson Tiger performed 248 pushups, all of which were done before the end of the third quarter. That's on top of the 265 he did against Florida Atlantic in Week 1, which comes to a total of 513 in two home games. …

Tailback Reggie Merriweather sustained a sprained ankle and offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson has a bruised shoulder.

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