Defense Shines in Clemson Spring Game


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Donnell Clark brings quarterback Will Proctor down for a loss.
Donnell Clark brings quarterback Will Proctor down for a loss.

CLEMSON, SC -- The Clemson defense forced four turnovers and yielded just two touchdowns and a field goal in the annual Spring Game on Saturday at Historic Riggs Field. Charlie Whitehurst led the offense by completing 14 of 20 passes for 160 yards and the game’s only passing touchdown as the Tigers concluded their spring practice season.


Defensive backs Jamaal Fudge, Tavaghn Monts and Tye Hill each had interceptions and Monts also recovered a fumble on the day. Gaines Adams led the defensive line with two sacks as the defense racked up 15 tackles for loss. Travis Pugh led all Tigers with eight tackles, including one for loss.


Head Coach Tommy Bowden’s emphasis on the running game this spring was evident on Saturday as the Tigers ran 73 running plays to 47 passing plays. Redshirt freshman running back Duane Coleman led the ground attack with 15 carries for 42 yards. Fullback Clifford Harrell had a touchdown run and wide receiver Airese Currie, who also participated in the Clemson Invitational track meet before and after the game, had the longest run from scrimmage when he took a reverse 19 yards.


Redshirt freshman quarterback Chansi Stuckey showed his mobility and some dazzling moves on his way to 35 yards rushing while also throwing for 58 yards. Classmate Will Proctor completed 4-7 passes for 44 yards and graduate student Willie Simmons went 7-10 for 74 yards.


Wide receiver Kevin Youngblood had five receptions for 57 yards and tight end Bobby Williamson had four receptions for 61 yards to lead the pass catchers. Redshirt freshman Kelvin Grant hauled in the game’s longest toss, a 33-yard bomb from Stuckey.


Clemson did not participate in full special teams, but Tiger kickers did struggle with the temporary field goal posts at Riggs Field. Aaron Hunt made only one of four field goal attempts and Stephen Furr missed his only attempt on the day.


Whitehurst highlighted the scrimmage with an 11-play, 98-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes that also featured the play of the day. He stepped up in the pocket and fired a pass that was deflected by LeRoy Hill. The quarterback then grabbed the ball out of the air and ran for a 26-yard gain. On the last play of the game, Whitehurst found running back Kyle Browning, who dashed 20 yards for a touchdown while shedding an attempted tackle by Justin Miller inside the 5-yard line.


The Tigers will open the 2003 season at home against Georgia on August 30.

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