TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Derrick Hamilton may never live this one down.
Hamilton, one of the most dangerous return men in the country, fielded a
Chance Gwaltney punt at his own 15 yard line in the first quarter Thursday
night at Florida State, shot through an opening to his right and appeared
headed for an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown.
But Gwaltney, the last defender between Hamilton and paydirt, ignored the
Clemson sophomore's shucking and jiving and made a touchdown-saving tackle.
Hamilton finished with a 46-yard return, and Clemson scored two plays later
on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Willie Simmons to Airese Currie.
Not to be outdone, Clemson kicker Stephen Furr duplicated the feat later in
After the Tigers scored to take a 14-7 lead, Talman Gardner returned Furr's
kick past the wedge and broke into the clear down the left sideline. Furr -
again the last line of defense - stood his ground and tackled Gardner at the
FSU would capitalize on the return anyway, scoring six plays later to tie the
In the three previous meetings with his father's team, Clemson head coach
Tommy Bowden made a habit of pulling a fake in the kicking game, running out
of either the punt or field goal set.
But Thursday night he added a twist. After the Tigers' first score, Bowden
called for an onside kick which his team executed to perfection.
Furr popped the ball up short and to the right side, and J.J. McKelvey easily
ran under the ball after it traveled 11 yards. Clemson took over on the FSU
49, and five plays later Yusef Kelly scored on a 2-yard run to give the
Tigers a 14-7 lead.
Amazing as it sounds, it was Clemson's first recovered onside kick since the
1979 Peach Bowl against Baylor.
Clemson guard Nick Black left the game in the second quarter with a broken
right leg...When the Tigers went ahead 14-7 in the first quarter, it was
their first lead in Tallahassee since the last year it won at Doak Campbell
Stadium, 1989. It was also more points than the team had scored in
Tallahassee in the previous five games combined...Tight end Ben Hall's third
reception of the night gave him 69 yards at the time, which was a career
high...Bernard Rambert, who hadn't played since the season opener at Georgia,
started at tailback despite the fact that Kelly averaged 95 yards rushing in
the previous three games...Tommy Bowden came into the game with a record of
3-11 vs. ranked opponents since taking over the Tigers...The announced
attendance of 78,841 was not a sellout (80,000)...Simmons' 59-yard completion
to McKelvey in the second quarter was a season high for both...Simmons ended
the first half with 219 passing yards (13-of 20) and 49 rushing yards on 8
Clemson returns to action Saturday, Oct. 12, with yet another road game. This
time the Tigers travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the University of