Clemson 's Fry wants Thursday night win
CLEMSON — Thursday night’s game at N.C. State is big for Clemson in many ways.
First, the Tigers (2-3, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) need a win to keep their hopes for any post season bowl game alive. Second, Clemson has not won a football game on a Thursday since 1963 – a victory over rival South Carolina – and third they have to prove a point to ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
The day of the Texas A&M game, Herbstreit made the comment ‘if a team gets up on Clemson, Clemson will quit.’ So far the Tigers have proven Herbstreit wrong in each of their five games, rallying from double-digit deficits in four games to either take the lead or force overtime.
But now, the Tigers would like to do it in person.
“I see him in the hotel all the time before our Thursday night game, and he and Lee (Corso), always look like they’re too good for us,” said Clemson center Dustin Fry. “I don’t really care though. Hopefully, they will have some love for Clemson because it seems like usually they have no love for Clemson ever.”
In all fairness, Clemson hasn’t given the all sports network reason to love Clemson lately, especially on Thursday nights. The Tigers are 0-6 on ESPN’s Thursday night games since making their first appearance in 1998. With the exception of the three-point loss to Georgia Tech that same year and a two-point defeat at N.C. State two years ago, Clemson has a losing margin of 14 points per game on Thursday nights. Florida State, N.C. State (2002), Virginia Tech and Virginia have beat Clemson by 17 points or more in the other four Thursday night games.
“At some point the worm is going to turn,” said Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden on Monday. “These guys work too hard for it not to.”
Fry agrees with his head coach, saying Clemson is due a win on a Thursday night.
“It’s like our overtime streak,” he said. “We won all of our overtime games until this year so hopefully, we will reverse the Thursday night streak this year.
“I like playing Thursday night games because it is like the Monday night football of college football. It is the only game on. Everyone who cares about football is watching it. We were close against N.C. State two years ago so hopefully we can just win this one and turn it around.”
If the Tigers are to turn it around and end the so called “curse,” they will have to find a way to make big plays on both offense and defense. Clemson has struggled to do both, but Fry insist they are on the verge of a break out game.
“We are due,” he said. “The skill we have on this team, it seems like we are real close to having an 80-yard run or 80-yard perfect pass down field.
“We are right there, I just hope this is the game were we will have one long play that will change the game kind of. Win by six instead of lose by six.”
Fry said the Clemson team understands why fans are so frustrated, but he also pointed out there is no way fans are more frustrated then they are. He wants people to take notice that this year’s team is a better one than last year’s and they are closer than what people think.
“There is definitely a lot of frustration,” said the junior from Summerville. “The team wants to turn it around and we want to play a lot better than we have. We know we’ve played pretty good, but we know we can play a lot better. We know we can.”
And that’s why the Tigers want to use Thursday night as the night they put it all together and show the world what Clemson football is all about.
“I’m ready for Thursday night’s game,” said Fry. “I’m excited for all games, but I’m really excited for this game because it is a chance to get a win on a Thursday night for the first time.
“It’s the only game on. Everybody is watching you. You get everybody’s best game. It’s a nationally televised audience. Everyone is going to be firing off the ball in this game.”
And most importantly, a win will prove to Herbstreit Clemson isn’t the type of team to quit when things aren’t going well.
“Yeah, it would be bad if we foul this one up,” Fry said.