Bowden Enjoying Big Win

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Even an interruption by the media for his regular teleconference couldn't spoil Tommy Bowden's Sunday afternoon.

Relaxing aboard his boat on Lake Hartwell with wife Linda, Bowden took time out from a rare respite to talk about Clemson's 47-44 victory Saturday at No. 9 Georgia Tech. The win keeps the Tigers (3-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the thick of what promises to be a wild ACC title race over the final two months of the season.

The game also marked Bowden's first overtime contest as a head coach, and less than 24 hours following the outcome he still hadn't come to terms with the magnitude of the comeback.

"I really haven't had time to reflect on it," he said. "As a head coach you're going to have close games and you'll win your share and lose your share. But as far as what it means outside of the state of South Carolina and nationally, you (media) would probably know better than I would."

The unlikely victory, delivered on quarterback Woody Dantzler's 11-yard run on the final play of overtime, capped off a week of wide-ranging emotions for the Tigers.

Seven days prior, Clemson's players had been devastated by Virginia's last-second touchdown pass to stun the Tigers in Death Valley. Since that play, Bowden has watched his team's confidence go from being destroyed, to slowly returning during last week's practices, to rocketing sky high after Saturday's dramatic victory.

It was a lesson for both Bowden and his players, most of whom never had been in such a situation before.

"If I had most of my starters back from last year on both sides of the ball, then maybe you have something to draw on," said Bowden. "But never having been in that situation before and coming back the way they did, it says a lot about the character of this team."


- Clemson returned to the Associated Press Top 25 Poll after a week's absence, coming in at No. 19. The Tigers moved up four spots to 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Georgia Tech fell to No. 17 in both polls.

- One area of concern for Bowden following Saturday was the poor field position the defense was put in on five Georgia Tech scoring drives.

He pointed the finger at the kicking game, most noticeably punter Wynn Kopp, who averaged just 32 yards a kick and couldn't get Clemson out of trouble when punting from inside his own 10.

Bowden also wasn't pleased with kickers Tony Lazzara and Aaron Hunt, each of whom gave the Yellow Jackets starting field position at their own 35 by sailing kickoffs out of bounds.

He said backup punter Tif Miller will get a chance to unseat Kopp as the starting punter during practice over the next two weeks, while also trying out "a couple of walk-ons" at the kickoff spot.

- Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said an order will go out this week from administrative assistant Andy Johnston for a new tombstone to be added to the Jervey Complex entrance.

Clemson is awarded such a grave marker when it beats a Top 25 team on the road.

Clemson Injury Update

Brian Mance - Sprained Knee, but should be ready to play at N.C. State

Roscoe Crosby - Broken Nose, suffered during post-game celebration,
questionable to play at N.C. State

All other players previously listed on the injury list should be able
to play against N.C. State baring further injury.

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