Time to Step Up

Sophomore wide receiver Airese Currie has made some impressive strides in his last two games. After struggling during the early part of the season, the Columbia native has been instrumental in the Tigers' two-game winning streak.

To say that wide receiver Airese Currie started the year off on the wrong foot, would be an understatement. It was obvious that early in the season, Currie was lacking the drive and determination to have a successful sophomore campaign.

"It just took me a while to get into the flow this year. I've said it before, I guess it was probably just a lack of concentration or something," said Currie.

Clemson fans saw it early on in the dropped passes at the Georgia game, and later against teams like Louisiana Tech and Ball State.

But oh my how things have started to change. The Columbia native and former Richland-Northeast star has quickly turned it around with touchdown receptions in each of his last two games.

The first catch, a 47-yard scoring strike from Charlie Whitehurst on 4th-and-10 midway through the 4th quarter against Duke, likely saved the Tigers' season, while the second will only be recorded as the longest scoring play ever at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

"Everybody has stepped up their level of play lately, it's not just me," said Currie. "We were tired of getting beat by teams knowing we were better. I guess Coach Stock put the heat on us. We are big play guys, and he wanted us to make big plays, and we wanted to make big plays ourselves. Now we are finally doing it."

With two consecutive wins under his belt, Currie feels like this is finally his team's chance to show the rest of the college football world that the Clemson program has turned the corner.

"We just want to go out and prove to the rest of the nation that we can compete with some of the best teams out there," Currie added. "We know we have to come out and concentrate one game at a time and not worry about our big rivalry game next weekend against South Carolina."

After lackluster performances against Wake Forest and N.C. State, most experts had written the Tigers off, but now that the offense has finally emerged from it's mid-season slump, things are finally starting to return to normal.

But how has it happened? What's been the determining factor in this resurgence? For Currie, it's all about getting respect back after the debacle against N.C. State.

"That game is definitely still fresh in our minds. To know the fact that N.C. State came into our house and embarrassed us on national television. We won't let that happen again," said Currie.

With just two regular season games left this year, there simply aren't many more opportunities to make a statement. However, the 16th ranked Maryland Terrapins come into town Saturday evening, and that gives the Tigers one more chance to do something special.

"You know we've had numerous chances this season to beat good teams. We just came up short against Georgia and Florida State. We've got another opportunity this week and this is our last chance to beat a ranked team, so we are just going to go out and practice hard this week and things will take care of themselves."

Hopefully that will translate into the Tigers' first win of the year against a ranked opponent. We'll have to wait to find out for sure.

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