Benton gets the call

CLEMSON - Spencer Benton will be the starting place kicker on Saturday when Clemson visits N.C. State.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday night after practice Richard Jackson isn't starting for academic reasons.

"Hopefully, he'll grow from it, get the issue corrected. If not, we'll take further action," Swinney said. "He can still play."

Swinney added that both kickers have performed better this week and also revealed an other interesting nugget- he thought about sending DeAndre McDaniel in to kick an extra point had the Tigers continued to struggle to put the ball through the uprights Saturday night against Florida State.

Jackson missed two extra points while Benton missed one as well.

Backing up the idea, Swinney said McDaniel calmly drilled a 37-yard field goal during a game-winning situation Wednesday in practice.

"It wasn't pretty, but it went through the uprights," Swinney said. "Results are all that count, right?"

Overall, practice on Wednesday was "spirited" with a focus on execution and attention to detail.

"Guys flew around. We had a lot of good team work today," he said. "It's the 10th game of the year. We backed off from a physical standpoint today. We're trying to heal some guys up."

Strong side end Da'Quan Bowers didn't practice again because of a knee injury. He's listed as doubtful for Saturday. Chris Chancellor is listed as probable.

Swinney believes the Wolfpack is better than the 4-5 overall and 1-4 in ACC records indicate.

"You don't luck up and beat Pitt," he said. "That's the eighth ranked team in the country. That's Pitt's only loss. (N.C. State) is scoring almost 30 points a game…they've had some tough, close losses."

Swinney likens the outlook on N.C. State to what Clemson was faced with five games into this season.

"You can throw all that out of the window. All that matters is what happens at 12 o'clock on Saturday," he said.

When asked about the clip from Saturday's game that features Andre Branch with his hands near the facemask of a Florida State player, Swinney shrugged off any notions of dirty play.

Some have alleged there was an eye gouge on the play.

"I've seen worse on my 11 and 10-year olds' games. It's football. It's a fumble. There's no ill-will towards anybody right there. There are guys trying to dive and get the ball--you don't know where the ball is," Swinney said. "There's no issue there. We do things with class. If I thought it was anything of malice, certainly we would deal with it."

After talking with a "pretty prominent official," Swinney said he was told him there would have been no flag, had this referee been working in Death Valley that night.

Without mentioning the player by name or the specific instance, Swinney alluded to Brandon Spikes' eye gouge of a Georgia player in the Florida/Georgia game.

"One little thing happens somewhere, that really wasn't right, and now you start dissecting a football game--you're going to see a lot worse than that," Swinney said. Top Stories