CLEMSON - For one hot, sticky afternoon it was just like old times again at
Clemson methodically pulled away from Louisiana Tech for a 33-13 win
Saturday, a victory punctuated by the three things that made the Tigers so
dominant in the decade of the 1980s - strong defense, just enough offense and
a solid kicking game.
Clemson shut out the Bulldogs in the second half, twice intercepting
quarterback Luke McCown on important drives. The Tigers secondary proved for
a second consecutive week it indeed may be for real, picking off three passes
total and helping limit McCown - who threw for 448 yards a week ago - to just
213 Saturday (26-of-44).
McCown got 51 of those yards on a futile final drive that ended with a failed
fourth down conversion.
"We shut them out in the second half and held them to under 300 yards (total
offense), and that's a quality opponent," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden
said. "I was real, real pleased with our defense. The scheme (defensive
coordinator) John (Lovett) has is presenting us with a lot of opportunities.
"We have a chance to be a good team if we can stay healthy and play with that
intensity for the 10 remaining games."
Clemson recovered a Tech fumble as well Saturday, for a total of four
turnovers. The defense now has forced seven turnovers in the first two games
while losing only two, putting them far ahead of the turnover ratio pace
which saw the team finish No. 101 in the nation in 2001.
The Tigers showed La. Tech a variety of different looks and coverages
Saturday which no doubt helped confuse McCown, but it was in a basic
alignment that true freshman Justin Miller made what may have been the game's
Trailing 26-13 but in possession at Clemson's 14, Miller stepped in front of
intended receiver D.J. Curry in the end zone and wrestled a McCown pass away
for his first career interception.
At the time 7:02 remained to be played.
On other occasions the Tigers incorporated elements of the zone blitz, in
which defensive linemen occasionally dropped into pass coverage in an attempt
to confuse the quarterback.
The strategy paid off at least twice, both times thanks to sophomore
defensive end Mo Fountain. Fountain tipped one pass away over the middle
after dropping nearly 10 yards in coverage, and later intercepted McCown in
the identical situation and returned the ball 43 yards.
The turnover set up Clemson's final score of the day, a two-yard run by Yusef
Kelly that put the exclamation point on the Tigers' first victory of the
"They did a great job of mixing it up and giving us some different
coverages," said Tech coach Jack Bicknell. "They just have very good football
"We feel really good about our defense," Miller said. "Coach Lovett has
brought a great philosophy, and the players have really responded to it. We
just came out and were able to play our game today."
Meanwhile, Clemson's offense moved the ball in spurts and wasn't always as
efficient as Bowden wanted in the red zone.
But when Kelly (97 yards, 25 carries) wasn't punching in one of his three
short touchdown runs, kicker Aaron Hunt rode to the rescue. After missing
both his attempts last week in the loss at Georgia, Hunt kicked a career-high
four field goals Saturday - including a 47-yarder - that helped keep La. Tech
He also connected on kicks of 22, 38 and 37 yards.
"The thing that disappointed me on offense was that we had to settle for
field goals," Bowden said. "I knew Aaron Hunt would come back and have a
strong game, but had we gotten touchdowns instead of field goals I think the
outcome would have been more handily in our favor."
Hunt could have had a fifth field goal had it not been for a Bowden gamble on
fourth and 13 from the Bulldogs' 22. Lined up for the kick, Bowden instead
had holder Jeff Scott toss a shovel pass to upback Chad Jasmin. The play
gained only seven yards, however, and Clemson turned the ball over on downs.
Quarterback Willie Simmons threw for 242 yards (25-of-43), and seems to be
finding a comfort zone with receiver Kevin Youngblood. Youngblood had a
career-high 10 catches for 89 yards, while no other Tiger had more than four
"We have a lot to improve on," said Youngblood. "We need to come in on Monday
and get back to work in order to get better and better each week."
Kelly's other scores came on runs of one (first quarter) and six yards
(second quarter). Tech's only touchdown was a one-yard plunge by Joe Smith
(19 carries, 69 yards) in the second quarter.
Josh Scobee kicked two first-half field goals (51, 21) for the Bulldogs.
La Tech - Clemson Drive Chart
Clemson 7, La. Tech 0
Drive: 10 plays, 55 yards in 4:09
Scoring Play: Keith Kelly one-yard run at 10:51
Key Play: Willie Simmons' 2-yard quarterback sneak on fourth and one from the
La. Tech 21.
Clemson 7, La. Tech 3
Drive: 4 plays, 8 yards in 1:58
Scoring Play: Josh Scobee's 21-yard field goal at 5:08.
Key Play: Blocked punt which gave La. Tech possession at CU 13.
Clemson 7, La. Tech 6
Drive: 7 plays, 10 yards in 2:33
Scoring Play: Scobee's 51-yard FG at 1:07
Key Play: Ben Hall fumble giving La. Tech possession at CU 44.
Clemson 10, La. Tech 6
Drive: 9 plays, 29 yards in 3:00.
Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 47-yard field goal at 13:07.
Key Play: Simmons completion of 14 yards to Youngblood to La. Tech 26.
Clemson 17, La. Tech 6
Drive: 4 plays, 17 yards in 1:16.
Scoring Play: Kelly 6-yard run at 9:32.
Key Play: Blocked punt by Ronnie Delusme to give CU possession at La. Tech
Clemson 17, La. Tech 13
Drive 10 plays, 61 yards in 4:53.
Scoring Play: Smith 1-yard run at :55.
Key Play: Personal foul facemask on Clemson that nullified third down sack of
McCown inside the CU 15.
Clemson 20, La. Tech 13
Drive: 13 plays, 75 yards in 5:44.
Scoring Play: Hunt's 22-yard field goal at 7:39.
Key Play: Keith Kelly's 22-yard run on first play of drive.
Clemson 23, La. Tech 13
Drive: 14 plays, 59 yards in 4:43.
Scoring Play: Hunt's 38-yard field goal at 14:52.
Key Play: Pass interference on La. Tech on a fourth-and-one incompletion.
Clemson 26, La. Tech 13
Drive: 9 plays, 51 yards in 2:18.
Scoring Play: Hunt 37-yard field goal at 11:49.
Key Play: Simmons' 30-yard completion to McKelvey to the La. Tech 15.
Clemson 33, La. Tech 13
Drive: 2 plays, 6 yards in :38.
Scoring Play: Kelly's 2-yard run at 4:09.
Key Play: Mo Fountain's 43-yard interception return setting Tigers up at La.
LOUISIANA TECH CLEMSON
First downs 20 20
Rushed-yards 26-80 35-87
Passing yards 213 249
Sacked-yards lost 1-12 3-14
Return yards 30 80
Passes 26-44-3 26-44-0
Punts 3-38.3 2-31.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-40 9-79
Time of possession 28:42 31:18
Joe Smith 19-69, Luke McCown 4-9, Freddie King 1-3, Ryan Moats 1-3, DJ Curry 1-MINUS 4.
Yusef Kelly 25-97, Tye Hill 3-0, - Team 1-MINUS 2, Willie Simmons 6-MINUS 8.
Luke McCown 26-44-213-3.
Willie Simmons 25-43-242- 0. Jeff Scott 1-1-7- 0.
Chris Norwood 7-68, DJ Curry 4-39, Julius Cosby 2-27, Aaron Capps 2-24, Shawn Piper 3-19, Erick Franklin 3-16, Ahmad Harris 1-10, Alton Bryant 1-6, Joe Smith 2-3, Freddie King 1-1.
Kevin Youngblood 10-89, J. J.McKelvey 4-48, Derrick Hamilton 4-37, Ben Hall 2-19, Jackie Robinson 1-14, Yusef Kelly 1-12, Justin Miller 1-9, Buddy WIlliams 1-8, Chad Jasmin 1-7, Tony Elliot 1-6.