Cavs Pull Upset Over Tigers, 26-24
CLEMSON - Faced with the most important play of his team's young season, on
the road in a hostile environment, Bryson Spinner didn't blink.
With no timeouts remaining and facing third and goal from the Clemson one,
Spinner tossed a perfect fade pass toward the right side of the end zone and
into the waiting arms of Billy McMullen with :01 to go, lifting Virginia to a
stunning 26-24 upset of No. 19 Clemson Saturday at Death Valley.
Clemson's sideline argued loud and long that McMullen pushed off on the play,
and television replays suggested they may have been right. But no call was
forthcoming, and the Tigers were thwarted in their attempt to open the season
3-0 for just the sixth time in school history.
The touchdown capped off a six-play, 44-yard drive which featured a dramatic
halfback option pass from Tyree Forman to McMullen that covered 17 yards to
the Clemson four, and touched off a celebration among the tiny contingent of
Cavalier fans who made the trip.
"It's a universal call," Spinner said of the fade. "We run it every day in
practice when we work on a last-second play. When we get there and there's
time running out, we're just going to throw it up.
"I saw six seconds on the clock when I looked up."
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden tried to make the best of the tough situation.
"You always hate to be on the losing end, but I think we're a work in
progress," he said. "As long as the guys play as hard as they did tonight, we
can eventually (get there). The guys played hard the whole game. It's just
The Spinner-to-McMullen game-winner offset what looked to be a defining
moment for Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler.
Dantzler rallied his team from a 20-10 third-quarter deficit with a pair of
long scoring drives, the last of which gave the Tigers a 24-20 lead when
Travis Zachery scored on a two-yard run with 12:36 to go.
The first drive, a 16-play, 80-yarder, saw Dantzler complete seven straight
passes for 61 yards, then add the finishing touch with a one-yard scoring p
lunge to cut the lead to 20-17 late in the third quarter.
Clemson appeared ready to deliver the knockout blow later in the period,
moving methodically to the Virginia 31 and eating up clock in the process.
But with just under five minutes to go, Dantzler was hit by blitzing
cornerback Almonda Curry, fumbled the ball, then watched helplessly as
Virginia defensive end Larry Simmons scooped up the ball and returned it to
the Clemson 34.
Virginia didn't score on that possession, but a great special teams play
downed Mike Abrams' punt at the Clemson four. Three running plays failed to
gain the Tigers a first down, and Wynn Kopp's punt from just outside his own
endzone rolled out of bounds at the Clemson 44.
Spinner took over from there. He scrambled for seven yards on first down,
then hit McMullen for 11 more. A 5-yard facemask penalty at the end of the
play put the ball at Clemson's 21.
Groh then rolled the dice by calling the halfback option, and Foreman
executed it to perfection with a 17-yard completion to McMullen at the
The play set up the Spinner-to-McMullen heroics, and doomed Clemson (2-1) to
an 0-1 start in the ACC with a trip to Georgia Tech looming next week.
The Tigers had taken a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on a Terrance
Huey 16-yard touchdown run - a play that was a hybrid of the old
Fumblerooskie - and Aaron Hunt's career-best 45-yard field goal.
Virginia countered with 20 straight points: a pair of David Green field goals
(30, 31) to close within 10-6 at the half, a 6-yard run by Spinner early in
the third quarter for a 13-10 Cavs' lead, and Spinner's 14-yard touchdown
pass to McMullen at 8:24 of the third for a 20-10 advantage.
1 2 3 4 F
- - - - --
Virginia 0 6 14 6 26
Clemson (18) 7 3 7 7 24 FINAL
Clemson-Huey 16 run (Hunt kick)
Clemson-FG Hunt 45
Virginia-FG D Greene 30
Virginia-FG D Greene 31
Virginia-B Spinner 6 run (D Greene kick)
Virginia-Mcmullen 14 pass from B Spinner (D Greene kick)
Clemson-Dantzler 1 run (Hunt kick)
Clemson-Zachery 2 run (Hunt kick)
Virginia-Mcmullen 1 pass from B Spinner (two-point conversion
First downs 19 29
Rushed-yards 35-160 51-182
Passing yards 227 251
Sacked-yards lost 1-6 3-19
Return yards 54 3
Passes 18-34-1 25-34-2
Punts 4-46.2 3-30.7
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 11-80 8-81
Time of possession 24:51 35:09
RUSHING: Virginia-A Harris 17-73, Foreman 10-58, B Spinner
6-21, M Schaub 1-10, Ward 1-minus 2. Clemson-Zachery 23-87,
Dantzler 23-67, Huey 1-16, Rambert 3-9, Jasmin 1-3.
PASSING: Virginia-B Spinner 14-24-0-169, M Schaub 3-9-1-41,
Foreman 1-1-0-17. Clemson-Dantzler 25-34-2-251.
RECEIVING: Virginia-Mcmullen 8-88, C Luzar 5-63, K Luzar 2-33,
Mcgrew 1-31, Anderson 1-8, A Harris 1-4. Clemson-Hamilton 9-90,
Mckelvey 5-41, Bailey 4-40, Robinson 3-36, Zachery 3-35,
Clemson 7, Virginia 0
Scoring drive: 10 plays, 75 yards in 4:17.
Scoring play: Terrance Huey's 16-yard touchdown run at :39.
Key play: Woody Dantzler's one-yard plunge on fourth and inches, which he
got with a second, then third effort.
Clemson 10, Virginia 0
Scoring Drive: Five plays, 18 yards in 2:26.
Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 45-yard field goal at 11:39.
Key Play: Charles Hafley's interception to give Clemson possession in
Clemson 10, Virginia 3
Scoring Drive: 14 plays, 65 yards in 5:03.
Scoring Play: David Greene's 30-yard field goal at 6:40.
Key Play: Matt Schuab's 21-yard completion to Chris Luzar on fourth and five
from the Clemson 36.
Clemson 10, Virginia 6
Scoring Drive: 10 plays, 66 yards in 3:08.
Scoring Play: David Greene's 31-yard field goal at :54.
Key Play: Bryson Spinner's 31-yard pass to Michael McGrew to the Clemson 23.
Virginia 13, Clemson 10
Scoring Drive: 4 plays, 33 yards in 3:08.
Scoring Play: Bryson Spinner's 6-yard run at 12:44.
Key Play: Angelo Crowell's interception of Woody Dantzler, which gave
Virginia the ball in Clemson territory.
Virginia 20, Clemson 10
Scoring Drive: 8 plays, 52 yards in 2:27.
Scoring Play: Spinner 14-yard pass to Billy McMullen at 8:24.
Key Play: Arlen Harris' two-yard gain on fourth and one the Clemson 43.
Virginia 20, Clemson 17
Scoring Drive: 16 plays, 80 yards in 6:18.
Scoring Play: Woody Dantzler's 1-yard dive at 2:06.
Key Play: Chad Jasmin's two-yard gain to the UVa. 45 on third and two,
Clemson's first third-down conversion of the game in eight attempts.
Clemson 24, Virginia 20
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 59 yards in 2:45.
Scoring Play: Travis Zachary's 2-yard run at 12:36.
Key Play: Woody Dantzler's 18-yard run to the Virginia 13.
Virginia 26, Clemson 24
Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 44 yards in 1:43.
Scoring Play: Bryson Spinner's one-yard pass to Billy McMullen at :01.
Key Play: Tyree Foreman's 17-yard halfback option pass to McMullen to the