Cavs Pull Upset Over Tigers, 26-24

by - Correspondent -
  Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed

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 tough." 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 Clemson four. 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. BOX SCORE

                       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
                        Virginia     Clemson 
 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 
 Individual Statistics 
 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,
 Rambert 1-9.
 Att: 79,000
DRIVE CHART First Quarter 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. Second Quarter 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 Virginia territory. 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. Third Quarter 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. Fourth Quarter 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 Clemson 4.

Rate this Story:
20 votes

Send Feedback to Dan Scott: Email | Comment
  Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
WATCH: Lee, players react to being swept by NC State
WATCH: Lee, players react to being swept by NC State
NC State rolls into town and leaves with a clean sweep of Clemson
NC State rolls into town and leaves with a clean sweep of Clemson
San Diego: Seals, lighthouses and good food make the trip worthwhile
San Diego: Seals, lighthouses and good food make the trip worthwhile
Mirror Image: Clemson and Auburn guards set to face off with Sweet 16 on the line
Mirror Image: Clemson and Auburn guards set to face off with Sweet 16 on the line
Brownell says Dabo Swinney is
Brownell says Dabo Swinney is "a chucker"
NC State downs Clemson at Doug Kingsmore
NC State downs Clemson at Doug Kingsmore
Tigers chasing history Sunday night
Tigers chasing history Sunday night
Vegas odds on Clemson-Auburn in NCAA tournament
Vegas odds on Clemson-Auburn in NCAA tournament
Former Clemson WR signs with Seahawks
Former Clemson WR signs with Seahawks
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest
Clemson Gear
Clemson Gear