Clemson - Virginia Notebook

by - Correspondent -

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Sometimes statistics mean everything. Sometimes they
mean nothing.

Saturday, Clemson won most of the important statistical categories, yet fell
short where it mattered most - on the scoreboard.

The Tigers outgained Virginia 412-288 (189-80 rushing, 223-208 passing), had
more first downs (25-20), one more offensive play (73-72), had a better
percentage of third down conversions, yet still lost 22-17.

Two crucial areas the Tigers lost, however, likely decided the outcome of the

Clemson had three turnovers to Virginia's one, two of which came from
quarterback Willie Simmons on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. His
interception led to what proved to be the game-winning touchdown pass from
Matt Schaub to Heath Miller, and his fumble that followed allowed the Cavs to
run important time off the clock down the stretch.

Because Clemson's defense was on the field for so long in the final period,
Virginia won the time of possession battle 32:22 to 27:38.

"We didn't get enough at-bats in the third and fourth quarters," Clemson head
coach Tommy Bowden said. "We didn't score touchdowns in the first half and
Virginia moved the ball on us in the second half. They held the ball a long


As if the loss wasn't bad enough, two Tigers were knocked out of the game
with injuries.

Running back Bernard Rambert left the game in the second quarter with bruised
ribs and did not return. Yusef Kelly handled the bulk of the running attack
afterwards, and was spelled briefly by freshman Tye Hill.

Meanwhile, left offensive tackle Gary Byrd suffered a sprained knee and ankle
in the second half and missed the entire fourth quarter.

Neither player's status was expected to be known until today.


- Clemson's 19-play drive to open the game, which culminated in Aaron Hunt's
19-yard field goal, was the team's longest since 1979 vs. Georgia.

- Kelly finished the day with a team-leading 72 net yards on 17 carries.
Rambert had 59 yards on 9 carries before his injury.

- Wali Lundy's 11 receptions was a school single-game record for Virginia
running backs.

- After losing the first 29 games in its all-time series with Clemson
(1955-89), the Cavs are 7-5-1 against the Tigers and have won two straight.

- The announced attendance of 54,114 was more than 7,000 short of a sellout.

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