Ball State - Clemson Pregame Notebook

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Which Wynn Kopp will show up this week?

The Clemson punter has been up and down more than the stock market during the season's first three weeks. After averaging just over 36 yards per kick in the season-opening loss to Georgia, the senior left-footer bounced back to average 47 yards on his final two kicks - the first one was blocked - against Louisiana Tech.

Last week vs. Georgia Tech? Back down to 37 yards per kick.

"You'd like for him to be more consistent," head coach Tommy Bowden said Thursday. "He needs to be up there at least at 40 all the time. He's starting to look like he did last year."

Bowden has tried freshmen Cole Chason and Stephen Furr in practice, but neither was able to seriously push Kopp for the starting spot.

"(Kopp's) get-off time is really good," Bowden said. "He's a good technical punter. He just needs more consistency."


With all the speedy, flashy wide receivers on Clemson's roster, it's easy to overlook senior Tony Elliott.

The former walk-on transfer from Air Force has been overlooked often, in fact. Coming into last week's game with Georgia Tech, he had just three career catches since joining the Tigers.

He equaled that total last Saturday, hauling in three passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, a 44-yard bomb from Willie Simmons in which Elliott broke off his route and went deep as the Clemson quarterback scrambled out of trouble.

More importantly, he is proving to be a valuable backup to Derrick Hamilton.

"He's a hard-nosed guy who's very dependable," Bowden said. "There's a lot to be said for a guy who runs the right route, then catches it when you throw it to him. When he's come in he's made some critical catches for us."


Today marks the second-ever meeting between Clemson and Ball State.

The first came in the opening week of the 1992 season, when the Tigers scored a 24-10 victory under coach Ken Hatfield. Clemson was coming off a 9-2-1 season and Atlantic Coast Conference championship the year before.

The Tigers ran the ball well that day, gaining 255 yards, while Ball State had 208 yards through the air. Clemson was led by Rodney Blunt, who had 20 carries for 96 yards. Ronald Williams, who is still a professional in the Canadian Football league, added 58 rushing yards (8 carries) and a touchdown.


Ball State kicker Mike Langford, a junior, has made 10 straight field goals.

He ended the 2000 season with a made field goal, made 6-of-6 last season after becoming the team’s top place kicker prior to the fifth game of the year, and has made 3-of-3 field goals this season. He made 21-of-21 extra points last season and made his first one this year before missing a point after kick for the first time in two seasons last Saturday.

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