Clemson - Duke News & Notes

Clemson has four games remaining and a 4-4 record. The Tigers must win at least two of the remaining four games to become bowl eligible, something Clemson has been in each of the last three years under Tommy Bowden. Bowden is the only coach to take Clemson to a bowl game in each of his first three years with the program.

Game Eight: Clemson at Duke
Saturday, November 2, 2002 Noon
Wallace Wade Stadium Durham, NC

Television: Jefferson Pilot
Play By Play: Steve Martin
Color: Doc Walker
Sideline: Mike Hogewood

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Properties
Play By Play: Jim Phillips
Color: Rodney Williams
Sideline: Pete Yanity

Series History: Clemson leads 30-15-1

Clemson's Remaining Schedule
Clemson has four games remaining and a 4-4 record. The Tigers must win at least two of the remaining four games to become bowl eligible, something Clemson has been in each of the last three years under Tommy Bowden. Bowden is the only coach to take Clemson to a bowl game in each of his first three years with the program. He took the Tigers to he Peach Bowl in 1999, the Gator Bowl in 2000 and the Humanitarian Bowl in 2001.

Clemson has been to a bowl game 14 of the last 17 years. The three years Clemson has failed to reach a bowl during that time frame have been in even numbered years (1992, 1994 and 1998). Clemson must win two of its last four against teams that have a collective record of 15-18. The eight teams Clemson has played so far are collectively 44-23. Clemson has played two of the eight remaining undefeated teams, Georgia (8-0) and NC State (9-0). Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia and Wake Forest are also having winning seasons at this juncture in the season.

Clemson Has Played 10th Toughest Schedule
Clemson has a 4-4 record against a schedule ranked as the 10th most difficult in the nation by the Jeff Sagarin computer poll, a rating published by USA Today. The Tigers are ranked 41st overall in that ranking.

Clemson has losses to three top 10 teams according to the Sagarin rankings. Clemson and Iowa State are the only two teams in the nation to have played three of the top 10 teams according to this poll. The four teams who have beaten Clemson this year are collectively 28-6. The four teams Clemson has beaten are collectively 16-17.

Clemson's highest final schedule ranking in the history of the Sagarin poll is a #7 rating in 1999, Tommy Bowden's first year as head coach. Clemson was 6-6 that year, but still had a final top 25 ranking (24th) according to Sagarin's computer rankings. Clemson's highest overall final ranking by Sagarin is #15 in 2000.

Clemson vs. Duke Series
* Clemson holds a 30-15-1 advantage in the series with Duke, a series that dates to a 20-6 Duke win in Durham in 1934. Duke won the first four games of the series, all played at Duke.

* Clemson has a 12-11 lead in games played at Duke. The Tigers have a 16-4-1 advantage in games played at Clemson. Clemson won the last neutral site game in the series, a victory in Tokyo in 1991.

* Clemson has won three in a row, 10 of the last 12, and 18 of the last 21 meetings between the two teams. Duke's only wins over Clemson since 1981 took place in 1989 (21-17 at Duke), 1994 (19-13 at Duke) and 1998 (28-23 at Duke).

* Duke has not won at Clemson since 1980, a 34-17 Blue Devil triumph behind quarterback Ben Bennett. Clemson has won 10 straight over the Blue Devils in Death Valley, outscoring Duke 414-143, an average victory of 41-14. Clemson defeated the Blue Devils last year in Death Valley, 59-31.

Clemson 3-0 under Bowden vs. Duke
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden coached at Duke from 1983-86. He served as the Blue Devils quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during that time period. He coached Duke quarterback Ben Bennett, the school's career leader in total offense, his senior year. Clemson defeated Duke 38-31 in Durham in 1983, Bennett's senior year, but the Blue Devils gained over 500 yards of total offense.

Clemson is 3-0 against Duke with Tommy Bowden as head coach. Bowden was 0-4 against Clemson as offensive coordinator at Duke during the 1980s. Clemson has outscored Duke 169-60 in the three games Bowden has been head coach. Clemson has scored at least 50 points in each game, the only time in history Clemson has scored at least 50 points against the same ACC team three consecutive years. Clemson did go for over 50 in five straight seasons against Presbyterian from 1948-52.

Over the last three years Clemson has averaged 26.3 first downs, 294 yards rushing, 270 yards passing, 564 yards of total offense and 56.3 points per game against the Blue Devils. That includes a 52-22 victory in 2000, the last time Clemson played at Duke.

Last Year vs. Duke
Clemson's 2001 season finale was a record-setting day for Woody Dantzler. Arguably the best quarterback in school history, Dantzler set eight school records against the Duke Blue Devils, and in the process he also became the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Included among the school records he now holds are career touchdown passes (37) and career passing yards (5,819). Dantzler finished the season with 2,360 passing yards and 1,004 rushing yards.

Dantzler set the NCAA mark with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter. After snapping the ball from shotgun and breaking to his right, Dantzler spun around to his left and coasted down the left sideline into the end zone. Dantzler's touchdown run was the fifth touchdown of the game he contributed to, and it helped him set the Clemson school record for touchdown responsibility in a season with 27.

Travis Zachery also scored four touchdowns, which brought his career total to 50. His mark fell just one touchdown shy of the ACC record set by Ted Brown of N.C. State in 1978.

Dantzler, Zachery and the Clemson offense fell behind early. D. Bryant connected with Sharpe in the right corner of the end zone 88 seconds into the game, and the score was set up by a 70-yard pass up the middle from Bryant to Brian Erdeljac. Duke's 7-0 lead was the only lead the Blue Devils would hold the entire game.

The Tigers would answer one minute and 41 seconds later, when Dantzler connected with J.J. McKelvey for a 39-yard touchdown reception. After the Tiger defense held, Zachery rumbled 52 yards down the right sideline to give Clemson its first and final lead of the game. Zachery later caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Dantzler with 18 seconds remaining in the first quarter, which gave Clemson a 24-10 lead.

After the Tiger defense held at the beginning of the second quarter, Roscoe Crosby caught the first of his two touchdown receptions, this one going for 47 yards. That play helped him set a single-game school record for receiving yards by a freshman. He would finish the game with 139 yards receiving, breaking the previous mark of 106 set by teammate Derrick Hamilton earlier this year against N.C. State.

Clemson would not score again until 90 seconds into the third quarter, when Zachery streaked 42 yards down the right sideline for his third touchdown of the game. Crosby's second touchdown reception of the game went for 58 yards and came with 10:34 remaining in the third quarter.

After Dantzler's record-setting 18-yard touchdown scamper at the 5:59 mark of the third period, the Tigers held an insurmountable 52-10 lead. The crowd came to its feet with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter, when Coach Tommy Bowden decided to bring Dantzler out of the game for the final time in his career at Death Valley.

Clemson Pass Defense Improved
Clemson has improved on defense this year, but that is especially the case when it comes to pass defense. Clemson gave up 240 yards per game a year ago through the air and ranked 66th in the nation in pass defense on a yards per game basis.

In 2002, Clemson is ninth in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 160 yards per game through the air. Clemson leads the ACC in allowing the fewest touchdown passes (six) and is 27th in the nation in pass efficiency defense with a 107 figure. Clemson has allowed just 13 pass plays of 20 yards or more and has not given up a pass play of more than 36 yards all year.

The solid effort in the pass defense area continued against NC State. Philip Rivers entered the game ranked first in the nation in passing efficiency with a 170 rating points figure. But, against the Tigers his rating was just 99.0. Rivers threw for just 129 yards, his low mark of the season. And, it was not because he just threw a couple of passes, he threw 24, meaning he averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt, also a season low. No NC State receiver had more than 29 yards receiving in the game.

As stated above, opponents are throwing for just 160 yards per game. If the season ended today, that would be the best Clemson pass defense figure on a per game basis since the 1981 National Championship team allowed just 154.5 yards per game. Clemson has allowed less than 200 yards per game over the course of a season just once since 1990, and that was in 1996 when opponents got 199.6 yards per game.

M and M Boys Lead the Secondary
Mance All-ACC Candidate at Cornerback
Brian Mance recorded his fifth interception of the season and his 11th as a Clemson Tiger against Wake Forest. It was the third straight game that he recorded a theft. The Clemson record for consecutive games intercepting a pass is four. Bobby Gage (1948), Terry Kinard (1980 and 1981) and Dexter Davis (1990) all hold the record with four straight games. Mance is the first Tiger with three in a row since Davis in 1990.

Mance is now tied for sixth in Clemson history in career interceptions with his double figure career total. He is tied with Pete Cook (1950-52), Brian Dawkins (1992-95) and Peter Ford (1993-96). The all-time leader is all-time great Terry Kinard with 17. Kinard was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Mance also has one fumble recovery in his career, giving him 12 career takeaways, best among active Tigers and among the top 10 totals in Clemson history. He needs just one more takeaway to move into sixth place in Clemson history.

Mance has moved into the ACC lead in interceptions and passes defensed and he ranks 11th in the nation in interceptions with his five picks in just eight games. He is a big reason Clemson is tied for the ACC lead in interceptions with 12.

The senior had an outstanding game against Wake Forest with seven tackles, an interception and a caused fumble. He was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week for his performance, the third time in his career he has won that award.

The caused fumble against Wake Forest really saved the day for the Tigers. A Wake Forest running back was streaking towards the Clemson endzone when Mance stripped the ball from behind. The momentum carried the ball into the endzone and it was batted through the endzone for a touchback with 1:15 left. Clemson ran out the clock and won the eight-point decision.

The senior from Alcolu, SC has now played 43 games at Clemson, 22 as a starter. He has missed just one game (UNC in 2001) in his career when his brother was killed in auto accident last year on his way home from the NC State game. For the season, Mance has 42 tackles to rank sixth on the on the team. He has played more snaps than any other Tiger with and he also leads the team in passes defensed with 11. Thirty-four of his 42 tackles have been individual hits.

Miller Rookie of the Year Candidate
Freshman defensive back Justin Miller made his first career start against Wake Forest and had an outstanding contest. The first-year freshman had 10 tackles, an interception and a pass broken up to pace the Clemson secondary along with Brian Mance. For his performance he was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season.

The tackle total in the Wake Forest game was the most by a freshman cornerback since 1986 when James Lott had 10 in the 1986 Gator bowl win over Stanford. Miller's interception in the third period helped change the momentum of the game. He had a touchdown saving pass broken up and defended Wake Forest stat Fabian Davis most of the game. Davis had just three catches the entire game.

Miller continued his outstanding play in his second start against NC State. Playing the entire game, Miller tied for the Clemson team lead in tackles with 12, including eight first hits. He also had a pass broken up and an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It was the first time he had attempted a kickoff return as a Clemson player.

Miller had a reception and an interception against Louisiana Tech, an example of his fine all-around abilities. The first-year player had a nine-yard reception in the first half and an interception in the endzone at a key juncture of the second half to thwart a Bulldog drive. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance against the Bulldogs.

It marked the first time since 1964 that a Clemson player had an interception and a reception in the same game. Pat Crain was the last to do it as he had a 15-yard interception return and a reception against Virginia on Halloween of 1964. It should be noted that players went both ways in those days, so Miller was the first to do it in the two-platoon era. Miller also had three tackles in the game and played 29 snaps.

Miller was named to the ESPN.com all-first year freshman team for September. He was joined in the secondary by J.J. Billingsley of Colorado, O.C. Collins of Memphis and Matt Fawley of Arizona State. Other ACC players named were D'Quell Jackson of Maryland (LB), Darryl Blackstock of Virginia (LB), Kwakou Robinson of Virginia (DL), T.A. McLendon of NC State (RB), and D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia (OL).

Miller is second on the team in interceptions with three and has 48 return yards in the process. He has 41 tackles for the year, seventh best on the team, just one behind Brian Mance. He has had at least one pass defensed in seven straight games, including a touchdown saver against Virginia's Billy McMullen in the fourth quarter on October 12.

Leake and Thomas Nearing 100 Tackles
Clemson linebackers Rodney Thomas and John Leake have been among the ACC leaders in tackles all season. Currently, Thomas leads the way with 96 tackles, 50 first hits and 46 assists. Leake is second on the team with 94, 49 first hits and 45 assists. They rank second and third in the ACC in tackles, respectively. No other player on the Clemson team has more than 64 tackles.

At least one of the players has led the team in tackles in all eight games this year. The only other player involved in tackle leadership has been freshman cornerback Justin Miller, who tied Thomas for game honors against NC State with 12 tackles. Leake has led the team four times and Thomas has been a part of the lead four times.

As you can see by the numbers above, both will probably go over the 100-tackle mark for the season this Saturday at Duke. It will be the second season of at least 100 tackles for both players. They will both join an exclusive club when they reach the century mark for the second time in their careers. Only 10 other Clemson players have had at least 100 tackles more than one season.

Chad Carson, Charles Hafley, Keith Adams and Robert Carswell are recent Tigers to do it. Carson did it three years. Anthony Simmons is another three-time 100-tackle performer. Leake will have a chance to join Simmons, Carson, Jeff Davis, Bubba Brown and Randy Scott as three-time 100-tackle players next year.

Thomas now has an even 250 tackles for his career, including the 100 he had last year and the 96 this year. Leake had 134 last year and nine as a freshman when he played just special teams. He now has 237 for his career. Leake has started each of the last 20 games, while Thomas has started 19 of the last 20.

Bowden Teams Have Shown Comeback Ability
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden has shown an ability to come back from a defeat of 20 points or more since he became head coach in 1997. Five times in his career he has been defeated by 20 points or more. All five times he has won the next game, including four in a row as Clemson head coach.

He lost once by 20 points or more when he was the head coach at Tulane. Southern Mississippi handed his Green Wave team a 34-13 defeat in 1997, but Bowden came back to win the next week at Southwestern Louisiana.

At Clemson, he lost to Virginia Tech in 1999 by a 31-11 score, then won the next game against North Carolina 31-20. In 2000 he lost at Florida State, 54-7, but came back the next Saturday to defeat rival South Carolina, 16-14. Clemson also lost to Virginia Tech that year in the Gator Bowl, 41-20, then won the season opener in 2001 over Central Florida.

Last year Clemson lost to North Carolina, 38-3, a similar score to last Thursday's loss to NC State (38-6). Last year he came back to defeat a bowl eligible Wake Forest team 21-14 in the next game.

Two Tigers Have Kickoff Return for Touchdown
Clemson has had just nine kickoff returns for a touchdown by eight different players in its history, but two of the eight players are on the current Clemson team. On October 24, Justin Miller picked up a loose ball and raced 80 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return in the second half. That was the first time a Clemson player had gone all the way for a touchdown on a kickoff return since last year's Maryland game when Derrick Hamilton went 100 yards at Maryland for a score in a Clemson defeat.

This is the first time in history that two Clemson players on the same team have had a kickoff return for a touchdown. The list below shows that no teammates have ever done it. Doug Thomas had two in one season, 1990. Clemson once went 25 years without a kickoff return for a score, 1962-87.

Clemson currently ranks 25th in the nation in kickoff return average with a 22.71 figure. That figure is fourth best in the ACC. Clemson ranked 10th in the nation as a team last year with a 25.7 average. Derrick Hamilton ranked third individually a year ago. Hamilton is 57th in kickoff return average and 39th in punt returns nationally this year.

Clemson Veterans vs. Duke
* Altroy Bodrick (LB)--Had three tackles in 55 plays against duke in 1999. Had four tackles in 24 plays at Duke in 2000. Did not play in 2001 game due to a torn ACL.

* Nick Eason (DT)--Had two tackles in 41 snaps as a freshman in 1999, had three tackles, including two tackles for loss for 22 yards at Duke in 2000, then had four tackles in 60 plays as a starter last year.

* Rodney Feaster (LB)--Had five tackles, in 26 plays in the Clemson victory in 2001 over Duke.

* Derrick Hamilton (WR)--Did not catch a pass last year vs. Duke, but had 2-63 in kickoff returns.

* Leroy Hill (LB)--Led Clemson in tackles with 11 in the victory over Duke in 2001.

* Aaron Hunt (PK)--Is 12-12 on extra points and 2-2 on field goals against Duke in his career. Scored 10 points against Duke in 2001 game, including a 45-yard field goal.

* Yusef Kelly (RB)--Had 12-84 in just 25 plays against Duke in 2000 in Durham. Did not play last year as he red-shirted the season.

* John Leake (LB)--Had nine tackles in 60 plays against Duke in 2001.

* Brian Mance (CB)--Had two tackles in 17 plays as a freshman in 1999, four tackles, including a career long 57-yard interception return in 2000, then had three tackles in 65 yards, plus a 31-yard punt return in 2001.

* J.J. McKelvey (WR)--had 2-45 receiving, including a touchdown reception against Duke in 2001.

* Bryant McNeal (DE)--Had three sacks, a career high and five total tackles in win over Duke in 2001. Also had two tackles as a sophomore in 2000 and two tackles as a freshman, including a tackle for loss in 1999.

* Bernard Rambert (RB)--Had 10-49 rushing in 1999 as a freshman, and 6-46 last year, including a touchdown in the win at Clemson.

* Jackie Robinson--Had first touchdown catch of his career against Duke in 1999, then had 3-36 receiving at Duke in 2000 and 1-8 last year in 39 snaps.

* Willie Simmons (QB)--Was 1-4 for 38 yards and a touchdown against Duke in 1999. Was 3-8 for 23 yards last year in the win over the Blue Devils.

* Rodney Thomas (LB)--Had eight tackles in 60 plays against Duke in 2001.

* Khaleed Vaughn (DE)--Had four tackles, including a tackle for loss against Duke in 2001.

* Donnell Washington (DT)--Had three tackles in 45 snaps against Duke in 2001.

* Kevin Youngblood (WR)--Had a 38-yard touchdown reception from Willie Simmons against Duke in 2000.

Clemson Completion Percentage 4th Best in School History
Clemson was at a record rate in terms of completion percentage prior to the NC State game. But, the Tigers connected on just 13-32 passes against the Pack's tough defense.

Still, Clemson is completing passes at a 58.7 rate for the season, a mark that would be fourth best in school history if the season ended today. The record is a .605 pace by the 1997 Clemson team that was led by current Canadian Football league star Nealon Greene. The only other Clemson team to complete 60 percent over the course of the season is the 1989 Tiger team that was 117-195, exactly 60 percent. Current wide receivers coach Rick Stockstill was the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator that year.

Starting quarterback Willie Simmons has completed 58.1 percent of his passes so far this year on 137-236. He was 21-33 against Wake Forest, a 63.6 percent mark. He has thrown for 1503 yards and seven scores, an average of just under 200 yards per game.

Clemson's reserves have had an impact on the percentage as Tony Elliott, Charlie Whitehurst and Jeff Scott are a combined 21-33 this season, including 18-30 by Whitehurst. The freshman completed his first 12 passes as a Clemson quarterback, the best streak ever by a Clemson quarterback at the beginning of his career.

Clemson Converting Before Halftime
Clemson has done a good job of scoring just prior to the half in 2002. So far this year Clemson has recorded a touchdown on its last possession of the half with 80 seconds or less remaining in six of the eight games. Three of the drives have been for over 60 yards and the Tigers have negotiated the distance in less than 90 seconds in each situation.

The streak started when Clemson scored at Georgia on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Willie Simmons to Kevin Youngblood with just eight seconds left. The Tigers failed to do it against Louisiana Tech, but have now done so the last four games. The streak continued last week when Tye Hill scored his first career touchdown on a 32-yard run with just a minute left in the first half. Brian Mance had set up the score with an interception.

Against Wake Forest the Tigers gained some momentum going into the locker room with a 65-yard drive that included five passes in five attempts for 64 yards by quarterback Willie Simmons. Yusef Kelly scored on a one-yard run with eight seconds left in the half.

Total Offense Not Indication of Winner
The team that has won the total offense aspect of the game has won just three of the seven Clemson games so far this year. Each of the last three games the team that has won that aspect of the statistics has lost the game. Entering this year Tommy Bowden had a 23-4 record when winning the total offense margin, but this year Clemson is just 3-3 in that situation.

Clemson gained 441 yards against Florida State in just 61 plays, an average of 7.23 yards per play. That was the highest yards per play average in Clemson history in a game the Tigers lost. The previous record was a 6.78 figure in a 28-25 loss to Maryland in 1959. In that game Clemson had 434 yards in 64 plays. Clemson had won 33 games in a row when averaging at least 6.5 yards per play dating to the 1975 season when Clemson averaged 6.61 yards per play in a 25-21 loss to Duke.

Clemson followed that up with a 5.6 average at Virginia, yet lost the game. The Tigers had 25 first downs at Virginia and held the Cavaliers to 80 yards rushing 40 attempts. Additionally, Clemson had a pair of drives of at least 92 yards, the first time in history Clemson has had a pair of 90 yards in the same game. But, Virginia came away with the victory.

Against Wake Forest, Clemson gave up 523 yards to the Deacons, including 365 on the ground. The 523 yards are the most ever yielded by the Clemson defense in a Tiger victory. Clemson had 280 yards in the Wake Forest game, so Wake Forest had a +243 total offense margin in the contest, but Clemson won the game 31-23.

Turnovers have been the name of the game. Clemson had a -5 turnover margin in the two losses to Virginia and Florida State combined (committed six and forced one). Clemson had a +5 turnover margin against Wake Forest, a game it won. Wake Forest had entered the game with just five total turnovers all year, then committed five against Clemson, all in the second half.

Clemson did not commit a turnover on offense against the Deacs, the first time since the 2000 North Carolina game, 16 games ago, that Clemson had a game without a turnover. The five forced turnovers were the most forced by the Clemson defense since Clemson's defense forced six in a win over Missouri in 2000, 22 games ago.

Clemson Second in ACC in Total Defense
Clemson is most improved when it comes to defense. The Tigers are ranked second in the ACC in total defense, allowing just 316.6 yards per game, and that figure ranks 23rd in the nation. Clemson has allowed just 160 yards per game passing, 9th best in the nation. Last year Clemson ranked 71st in the nation in total defense and 66th in pass defense.

Clemson allowed 395 yards a game last year, so it is easy to see the 323 figure for the first eight games this year is considerably better. Clemson has allowed just 4.6 yards per play, much improved from the 5.3 allowed per play a year ago.

Many of the times the opposition has scored it has been the result of difficult field position after a turnover or a long kick return. Over the first seven games the opposition has taken possession of the ball at their own 38 or worse 67 times. They have driven for a touchdown just nine times in those 67possessions. Wake Forest had 11 possessions that started at their own 38 or worse and drove for a touchdown just once.

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