Clemson vs. Virginia Series
Clemson holds a commanding 34-6-1 lead in the series with Virginia, but the Cavaliers hold 6-5-1 advantage since 1990, including a 26-24 victory at Clemson last year. Clemson won the first 29 games of the series before Virginia cracked the win column with a 20-7 victory in Charlottesville in 1990. Ironically, Clemson's first win in the history of the series (in 1955) was also by a 20-7 score.
Clemson's 29-game winning streak between 1955-90 is tied for the fourth longest winning streak in NCAA history for one team over another. The record is 38 in a row held by Notre Dame over Navy, a streak that is still active heading into the meeting between the two schools in Baltimore this year on November 9. Nebraska has a current streak of 33 wins in a row over Kansas, a streak that started in 1969. Oklahoma had a 32-game streak over Kansas State between 1937-68 and Nebraska had a 29-gamer against Kansas State between 1969-97.
Virginia has gained its most success against Clemson when the game has been in September, an example of the Cavaliers traditional good start to a season. Virginia has won five of its six games over the Tigers in the month of September, including last year's win in Death Valley on September 22, by a 26-24 score when Virginia scored with just one second left. Virginia is 5-1 against Clemson in the month of September since 1990, but just 1-4-1 in October and November since that year.
Overall, Clemson is 24-1-1 against Virginia in October and November, but just 10-5 against the Cavs in September. Virginia's only win over Clemson in October or November took place in 1997 when the Cavs won at Clemson 21-7 on October 11th.
Virginia has won at Clemson as many times as it has won in Charlottesville. Clemson is 18-3-1 against Virginia in Death Valley and 15-3 in Charlottesville. Clemson won in Richmond in 1971, 32-15, the only neutral site game in the history of the series.
The only tie in the series took place in 1991, a 20-20 score at Clemson. The Tigers had 511 yards of total offense in that game and did not win, the only game in Clemson history in which Clemson has picked up at least 500 yards, yet did not win the game.
Clemson is 2-1 against Virginia under Tommy Bowden. Bowden picked up his first win as a Clemson head coach in 1999 against George Welsh and the Cavaliers, 33-14 in a game at Clemson. Clemson led that game 33-0, 35 minutes into the game. In 2000 Woody Dantzler led the Tigers to victory with a dazzling performance. Dantzler rushed for 220 yards and passed for 154 leading Clemson to a 31-10 victory. Virginia won on a touchdown with one second left last year, 26-24.
The two teams have been ACC rivals since that first meeting in 1955, but the two teams have not played every year since the league was formed in 1953. The two teams did not play in 1961, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1975, and 1976.
Clemson Has Come Back Against Virginia
Clemson has come back from a deficit of 13 points or more to win seven times in its history and four of the victories have come against Virginia. Two of those wins have taken place in Charlottesville and two in Clemson.
Clemson's greatest comeback in history took place at Virginia in 1992 when it overcame a 28-0 deficit with 32 minutes left to win 29-28. Louis Solomon, now a high school coach in New Jersey, led that comeback with an option offense. His 64-yard run just before halftime gave Clemson some momentum going into the locker room at halftime. Nelson Welch booted a 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left to provide the winning margin. Virginia was undefeated and ranked 10th in the nation heading into that game. That remains the greatest comeback in ACC history involving two conference teams.
Clemson's greatest comeback in Death Valley also took place against Virginia. Clemson trailed Virginia by 17 points at home in 1966, but came back to win 40-35. That was the first game that Howard's Rock was present in Death Valley. Coincidence?
Clemson also overcame a 14-point deficit to Virginia in 1980 to win 27-24 in Charlottesville. Bill Smith, now on the Clemson Board of Trustees, returned a block punt for a touchdown to provide a key play in the comeback.
Obed Ariri then booted a 52-yard field goal with six seconds left to win the game. During a timeout when Virginia tried to ice Ariri, he carried on a conversation with the Virginia team. After he booted the game winner Ariri was asked if he felt any pressure. A member of Nigeria's National Soccer team as a youth, Ariri replied, "Pressure?... there was no pressure. Pressure is playing for your country in front of 120,000 soccer fans in a foreign country." Clemson also overcame a 13-point deficit in 1973 to win 32-27.
Clemson's Greatest Comebacks to win or Tie
Date Opponent Site Down Deficit Final
10-10-92 Virginia A 0-28 28 29-28
10-21-00 North Carolina A 0-17 17 38-24
9-24-66 Virginia H 18-35 17 40-35
10-11-80 Virginia A 10-24 14 27-24
11-17-62 Maryland A 0-14 14 17-14
9-26-53 Boston College A 0-14 14 14-14
10-13-73 Virginia H 0-13 13 32-27
Clemson Has Been Successful in Charlottesville
Clemson has a 15-3 record against Virginia in Charlottesville. Clemson won the first 12 games played between the two teams in Charlottesville, including the 20-7 victory in 1955, the first game in the history of the series. Clemson won the first 12 games played between the two teams in Charlottesville. Herman Moore and Shawn Moore led Virginia to victory 20-7 over Clemson in 1990, Ken Hatfield's first year. That Clemson team went on to a 10-2 record and final top 10 ranking. Virginia went to the Sugar Bowl that season and also won 10 games.
Clemson's other losses in Charlottesville came in 1994 and 1998, Clemson teams that ended the season with losing records. The 1994 team was Tommy West's first Clemson team and finished 5-6. That was the 1000th ACC game in the history of the league and Virginia won 9-6. Clemson forced seven turnovers, yet lost the game. Virginia also won in 1998, by a 20-18 score. Clemson finished that year, 3-8, Tommy West's final year as head coach.
Thus, Clemson has lost just three games by a total of 18 points in its previous 18 games played in Charlottesville. Unranked Clemson teams have upset top 15 Virginia teams twice in the last 10 years. In 1992 Clemson defeated a top 10 Virginia team and in 1996 Clemson won 24-16 over a 15th ranked Virginia team.
Hamilton All-Purpose Performer
The all-purpose running statistic was made for Derrick Hamilton. The sophomore from Dillon, SC has averaged 168.4 all-purpose running yards/game this year and has been especially effective in the last three games. He had 256 all-purpose yard against Georgia Tech on September 14, then followed that with 160 yards against Ball State. He added 248 yards at Florida State last Thursday night. As you can see by the chart below, he has had two of the top eight all-purpose running games in Clemson history over the last three weeks.
For the year, Hamilton has 174 yards rushing, second on the Clemson team, has 157 yards receiving, third on the Clemson team, has 320 yards in kickoff returns and 191 yards on punt returns. He leads the Clemson team in both return areas. Last year Hamilton finished third in the nation in kickoff return average and was the ACC champion in that category. Thus, Hamilton has at last 150 yards in all four categories already this year.
His current average of 168.4 yards per game is 20 yards per game ahead of the Clemson record of 148.5 yards per game set by Tony Horne in 1997.
Hamilton has been very effective when it comes to rushing. He has 14 rushes on reverses from his H-receiver position and has 174 yards, a 12.4 yards per carry figure. No Clemson rusher has ever averaged over 10 yards per carry given a minimum of 15 rushes for the course of a season. Five of his 14 carries have been for at least 10 carries, including a 77-yarder against Georgia Tech.
Entering the Virginia game Hamilton ranks ninth in the nation and first in the ACC in all-purpose yards per game. Horne ranked 14th in the nation in 1997, the highest final ranking for any Clemson player in history.
Top All-Purpose Running Games in Clemson History
Yds Player Opponent Year Rush Rec KOR PR
274 Terrence Flagler Wake Forest 1986 209 65 - -
267 Tony Horne Florida State 1997 - 131 109 27
263 Raymond Priester Duke 1995 263 - - -
260 Cliff Austin Duke 1982 260 - - -
256 Derrick Hamilton Georgia Tech 2002 97 22 41 96
254 Don King Fordham 1952 234 - 20 -
252 Ken Callicutt S Carolina 1974 197 55 - -
248 Derrick Hamilton Florida State 2002 23 69 104 52
246 Buck George Presbyterian 1952 204 42 - -
242 Ronald Williams Virginia 1991 185 57 - -
Hunt Needs 2 PATs for Career Record
Aaron Hunt established a career best for field goals in a game with four in the win over Louisiana Tech. The junior from Tennessee was 4-4 in the game and scored 15 of Clemson's 33 points. He became the first Clemson player to record four field goals in a game since 1998 when David Richardson had four in the season opener. Hunt's day included a 47-yard field goal, second longest boot of his career.
Hunt had field goals of 47, 22, 37 and 38 yards, distances that total to 144 yards. That was the seventh most yards on made field goals in a single game in Clemson history.
Hunt was 10-12 last year on field goals and is now 7-10 this year. He ranks 24th in the nation in field gals per game entering the Virginia game. He is also fifth in the ACC in overall scoring with 7.6 points per game.
Hunt has already moved into the top 10 in Clemson history in scoring. The junior has 106 extra points and 27 field goals for 187 total points. He needs six points to move ahead of Fred Cone and Lester Brown to move into seventh place.
Hunt is also just two extra points from becoming Clemson's career leader in that category, quite an accomplishment for a junior and a fact that gives testimony to Clemson's offense under Tommy Bowden. Bob Paulling holds the record with 107 and Hunt's 106 is second. Hunt is already just the second player in school history to reach 100 extra points in a career.
Clemson all-time Scoring List
Rk Name Pos Years TD PAT FG Pts
1. Nelson Welch PK 1991-94 0 85-92 72-102 301
2. Travis Zachery RB 1998-01 50 300
3. Obed Ariri PK 1977-80 0 99-103 63-97 288
4. Chris Gardocki PK 1988-90 0 72-72 63-89 261
5. David Treadwell PK 1985-87 0 92-93 47-66 233
6. Bob Paulling PK 1979-83 0 107-109 23-41 209
7. Lester Brown RB 1976-79 32 192
8. Fred Cone RB 1948-50 31 3-4 189
9. Aaron Hunt PK 2000-02 0 106-110 27-38 187
10. Ray Matthews RB 1947-50 28 168
Terry Allen RB 1987-89 28 168
Kenny Flowers FB 1983-86 28 168
Simmons Has made Weekly Improvement
Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons has made improvement each week during the 2002 season. The chart below shows that his passing efficiency has improved each of the last four games, hitting a high of 163.8 at Florida State in the most recent game. He has completed at least 63 percent of his passes each of the last two weeks and at least 58 percent for four games in a row. He is 52 of his last 83 passes for 728 yards, an average of 242 yards per game over three contests.
He had his best all-around game as a Clemson quarterback at Florida State. Playing in front of his mother and 50 other friends, the native of Quincy, FL completed 17-27 passes for 293 yards and two scores. The yardage total was a career high, as was his 11 yards per attempt. Simmons also had a career high 50 yards rushing in 13 attempts, giving him 343 yards of total offense, the eighth highest single total in Clemson history. Only Woodrow Dantzler, Bobby Gage and Brandon Streeter have had higher figures for a single game.
Simmons set a school record for pass completions and attempts by an individual in a Clemson victory when Clemson defeated Louisiana Tech in the second game of the season. He completed 25-43 passes in that game for 242 yards. The Clemson team threw 44 passes in the game and it was just the second time Clemson had thrown 40 or more passes in a game and gained victory in the process. Clemson was 1-16 prior to the Louisiana Tech game when throwing at least 40 passes. The only other victory came at Wake Forest in 1999.
Simmons 25 completions against Louisiana Tech rank in a tie for fourth in Clemson history for a single game. The record is 27 set by Brandon Streeter against NC State in 1998 and at Virginia Tech in 1999. Simmons 43 attempts was tied for fifth highest, most ever in a Clemson victory. It was the most pass attempts by an individual without an interception in school history.
For the season, Simmons has completed 94-163 passes for 1064 yards and six scores. He is on pace to throw for over 2500 yards this season, something only Dantzler has done in Clemson history for a single season. Dantzler threw for 2578 last year, an average of 214 per game for a season. He has now completed 57.7 percent of his passes for the season and averages 212.8 yards per game threw the air.
Simmons is now fourth in the ACC in total offense and fourth in passing yards per game.
Willie Simmons Weekly Stats in 2002
Opponent Com-Att Yds TD-Int Eff Pct Rush Yds Plays Tot Off
Georgia 17-37 165 1-1 86.9 .459 8 -29 25 136
La Tech 25-43 242 0-0 105.4 .581 6 -8 49 234
Georgia Tech 18-31 176 2-1 120.6 .581 8 8 39 184
Ball State 17-25 188 1-1 136.4 .680 3 13 28 201
Florida St 17-27 293 2-2 163.8 .630 13 50 40 343
Clemson Single Game Total Offense Bests
Yds Rush Pass Player Site-Opponent Year
517 184 333 Woodrow Dantzler a-NC State (45-37) 2001
435 185 252 Woodrow Dantzler a-Maryland (42-30) 1999
418 164 254 Woodrow Dantzler a-Geo Tech (47-44 OT) 2001
378 135 243 Woodrow Dantzler H-Duke (59-31) 2001
374 141 233 Bobby Gage H-Auburn (34-18) 1947
374 220 154 Woodrow Dantzler A-Virginia (31-10) 2000
366 23 343 Brandon Streeter H-Virginia (33-14) 1999
343 50 293 Willie Simmons A-Florida St (31-48) 2002
337 51 286 Nealon Greene a-Wake Forest(33-16) 1997
336 59 277 Woodrow Dantzler H-Florida St (27-41) 2001
Clemson Offense Making Weekly Improvement
Clemson has averaged 359 yards per game so far this year, far below the 432 per game last year. But, the 2002 Tigers have shown improvement each week offensively, and we have the stats to back it up. A look to the chart below shows that first year starter, but graduate student Willie Simmons is becoming more and more confident in running the Clemson attack. Clemson has made improvement four games in a row in terms of total offense, passing efficiency and yards per play.
The Tigers recorded a season high 441 yards of total offense against Florida State thanks to a season high 334 yards passing. That passing yardage total was the fifth highest in Clemson history, the second best under Bowden. The record is 364 against Duke in 1963, and the best under Bowden is 343 against Virginia in 1999.
Clemson has also improved every week this season in passing efficiency. The team had a season best 173.8 figure against Florida State. Yards per play is a third area where Clemson has improved each week. Clemson averaged just 3.3 per game at Georgia, but had a 7.2 figure at Florida State, best ever for a Clemson team in a loss. This is the first time Clemson has improved its total offense total four straight weeks since 1983.
Clemson's Game by Game Improvement
Category GA LT GT BS FSU
Total Offense 233 336 371 412 441
Passing Eff 86.9 106.6 120.6 137.4 173.8
Yards/Play 3.3 4.3 5.2 6.1 7.2
Tigers Recover On-Side Kick
Whenever the Bowden's get together chances are there will be some trickery involved. Tommy Bowden might have pulled off the most surprising play in the four Bowden Bowls when he had his team on-side kick after the Tigers first score, Clemson's first kickoff opportunity, in the first quarter. Stephen Furr and J.J. McKelvey had been practicing the play all week and they worked it to perfection, giving Clemson the ball after the Tigers had tied the game at seven.
"The thing about that is you can't practice it in pregame," said Bowden the next day. "Rodney Allison had noticed in his film study that the player on that side of the field was retreating early to get into blocking position, so we decided to try it."
McKelvey recovered at the Florida State 49 and Clemson drove for another touchdown, giving Clemson a 14-7 lead, its first lead in Tallahassee at any point of a game since 1989.
What was especially noteworthy is that the on-side kick was the first recovered by a Clemson team since the 1979 season. The Tigers last recovered an on-side kick in the fourth period of the 1979 Peach Bowl against Baylor. Clemson did not score on its extra possession that day and lost 24-19.
Tigers Average 7.2 Yards/Play...And Lose
Clemson gained 441 yards against Florida State in just 61 plays, an average of 7.23 yards per play. That was the highest yards per play average in Clemson history in a game the Tigers lost. The previous record was a 6.78 figure in a 28-25 loss to Maryland in 1959. In that game Clemson had 434 yards in 64 plays. Clemson had won 33 in a row when averaging at least 6.5 yards per play dating to the 1975 season when Clemson averaged 6.61 yards per play in a 25-21 loss to Duke.
How do you lose a game in which you averaged 7.2 yards per play on offense? Clemson struggled on special teams, losing a fumble on a punt return and a kickoff return, and dropping a perfect snap in punt formation. All gave Florida State scoring chances. Clemson had outscored the opposition 41-10 through the first four games in terms of points off turnovers, then was outscored 17-0 in that area at Florida State.
Elliott Making Big Contribution
Walk-on senior Tony Elliott continues to make a big impact on the Clemson offense on a weekly basis. He is one of three Clemson receivers to catch at least one pass in every game this year and he actually has a six-game streak dating to last year's Humanitarian Bowl against Louisiana Tech. For the season, Elliott has seven catches for 128 yards, fourth on the team in yardage and tied for fourth in catches.
He has made many big plays, and has four catches for at least 20 yards, second on the team behind J.J. McKelvey's five. Elliott's 18.3 yards per reception leads the team. He scored his first touchdown as a Tiger on a 44-yard touchdown reception against Georgia Tech, a key play in Clemson's five-point victory.
Against Florida State he was at it again. A quarterback as a sophomore in high school at James Island High in Charleston, Elliott completed a 41-yard pass to McKelvey on an end-around play. It set up a Clemson field goal, giving Clemson a 17-14 lead at the time.
Elliott began his career at Air Force Prep School in Colorado, but transferred to Clemson in January of 1999. He has overcome much hardship. When he was nine years old his mother was killed in front of his eyes in an auto accident when their car was struck by a drunk driver.
Hall Over 100 Receiving Yards at Tight End
Tight end Ben Hall had his top game as a Clemson player at Florida State with three catches for 69 yards. He did not score a touchdown, which he has done three times previously in his career, but the yardage total was a career high.
Hall now has eight catches for 112 yards this year, fourth on the team in receptions and fifth in yardage. The sophomore had eight catches for 79 yards and three scores all of last year. Hall is the first Clemson tight end to have over 100 yards receiving in a season since Pat Cyrgalis had 12-152 in 1999.
Clemson tight ends have been more involved in the offense since Brad Scott came to Clemson with Tommy Bowden in 1999. Clemson tight ends have caught eight touchdown passes the last four years (including one this year by Bobby Williamson). Clemson went nine years without a tight end catching a scoring pass between 1990-98.
Clemson does have a good tradition of tight ends. Bennie Cunningham was a two-time All-American in 1974-75 and was the only tight end named to the ACC's 50-year Anniversary team. Jim Riggs was a two-time All-ACC player in 1985-86 and played in the Super Bowl with the Cincinnati Bengals. Lamont Hall is currently with the New Orleans Saints, his fifth year in the NFL after player for Clemson from 1994-97.
Defensive Linemen Getting Pressure
One area of improvement for the Tigers and a reason Clemson has improved to 12th in the nation in total defense is the pressure Clemson is getting on the quarterback from the starting front four. The group of Nick Eason, Donnell Washington, Khaleed Vaughn and Bryant McNeal has recorded 11 of Clemson's 15 sacks through five games. The foursome also has 28 quarterback pressures.
Last year Clemson had just 27 sacks and the starting front four linemen recorded just 15 sacks overall. The group was credited with 53 quarterback pressures for the 12 games in 2001. The pressure provided by the front four is a big reason the Tiger s are 11th in the nation in pass defense and 12th in total defense entering the Virginia game.
That pass defense and rush will be challenged this week when Clemson travels to Virginia. Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub is ranked fourth in the nation in passing efficiency with a 161.1 figure. Schaub is third in the ACC in total offense, second in passing efficiency and third in passing yards per game (219.8).
Last year vs. Virginia
Virginia Cavaliers 26
Clemson Tigers 24
Billy McMullen made a leaping reception in the Clemson end zone with one second remaining to give Virginia a 26-24 upset victory in Death Valley on September 22nd. The Cavaliers' win was their first over the Tigers since 1998.
Virginia managed to escape with a win despite a strong offensive performance from Woodrow Dantzler and the Tigers. The Clemson graduate completed 25 of 34 passes for 251 yards. His 25 completions were a new career high, breaking his previous mark of 23 that he set against NC State in 1999. His mark also fell just two completions short of the school record of 27, set by Brandon Streeter in 1999.
Clemson accumulated 29 first downs in the game, just the second time in school history that Clemson has had that many first downs yet lost the game. The Tigers gained 433 yards of total offense and controlled the clock for over 35 minutes, yet lost.
Dantzler helped ignite the Tiger offense in the first quarter, going 4-for-4 for 44 yards on a scoring drive capped off by Terrance Huey's 16-yard "Panther Play" touchdown run that made the score 7-0 Clemson. Huey took a handoff through his legs from quarterback Woodrow Dantzler stood still for a split second, then raced the 16 yards for the score. It was not only his first career carry, it was his first career offensive play.
After Aaron Hunt kicked a 45-yard field goal with 14:09 remaining before half time to give Clemson a 10-0 lead, Virginia's David Greene countered with two field goals of 30 and 31 yards. Capping off drives of 14 and 10 plays, respectively, Greene's efforts cut Clemson's lead to four at the half.
With Clemson's defense reeling from injuries to Nick Eason (just five plays all day) and Eric Meekins, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 10-point lead behind two third-period touchdowns.. Quarterback Bryson Spinner's 6-yard touchdown run following a Dantzler interception made the score 13-10, and Spinner's 14-yard pass to McMullen with 8:24 remaining in the third quarter finished off an eight play, 52-yard drive that gave Virginia a 20-10 lead.
Clemson's offense responded on its next two possessions. Dantzler led the way on a 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive as he completed 7-7 passes for 61 yards on the drive. His one-yard run cut the Virginia lead to 20-17. On the next possession following a Virginia punt, Dantzler would complete two more passes before scrambling for an 18-yard run down to the Virginia 13-yard line. Travis Zachery's two-yard touchdown run capped off a seven play, 59-yard drive that gave Clemson a 24-20 lead.
When Clemson regained possession with 10:05 remaining, the re-juvenated offense seemed poised to put the Cavaliers out of reach. The Tigers were 3-3 on third-down conversions on the drive, but the march was abruptly stalled at the Virginia 31-yard line. Linebacker Almondo Curry's sack of Dantzler forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Larry Simmons;
The Tiger defensive effort, led by Charles Hafley with 16 tackles and an interception, was able to contain the Cavaliers. A Donnell Washington sack was big in forcing Virginia to punt.
The Cavaliers pinned Clemson at their own four. After the Tigers went three and out, Virginia took over the ball at the Clemson 44 with 1:44 remaining. Billy McMullen (eight catches, 88 yards, 2 TD) caught three passes for 29 yards on the Cavalier drive, which included a 17-yard reception off a fullback option pass from Tyree Foreman. Three plays later McMullen made his catch with just one second left on the clock.
SEPT 22, 2001 AT CLEMSON, SC
Clemson 7 3 7 7 - 24
Virginia 0 6 14 6 - 26
CU- Huey 16 run (Hunt kick), 1st, 0:39, 11-75
CU- Hunt 45 FG, 2nd, 11:43, 5-18
VA- Greene 30 FG, 2nd, 6:40, 14-65
VA- Greene 31 FG, 2nd, 0:54, 10-66
VA- Spinner 6 run (Greene kick), 3rd, 12:44, 4-33
VA- McMullen 14 pass from Spinner (Greene kick), 3rd, 8:24, 8-52
CU- Dantzler 1 run (Hunt kick), 3rd, 2:06, 17-80
CU- Zachery 2 run (Hunt kick), 4th, 12:36, 8-59
VA- McMullen 1 pass from Spinner (Schaub run failed), 4th, 0:01, 6-44
Team Statistics CU VA
First Downs 29 19
Rushing 51-182 35-160
Passing 25-34-2 18-34-1
Passing Yards 251 227
Total Offense 85-433 69-387
Yard/Play 5.1 5.6
Return Yards 52 73
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Total Turnovers 3 1
Penalties 8-81 11-80
Interceptions 1-2 2-26
Punt Returns 1-1 1-2
Kickoff Returns 4-51 4-71
Punting 3-30.7 4-46.2
3rd Down Conv 5-13 3-13
Sacks by Defense 1-6 3-19
Time of Poss 35:09 24:51
Clemson- Zachery 23-87-1, Dantzler 23-67-1, Huey 1-16-1, Rambert 3-9, Jasmin 1-3
Virginia- Harris 17-73, Foreman 10-58, Spinner 6-21-1, Schaub 1-10, Ward 1- (-2)
Clemson- Dantzler 25-34-251-2-0
Virginia- Spinner 14-24-169-0-2, Schaub 3-9-41-1-0, Foreman 1-1-17-0-0
Clemson- Hamilton 9-90, McKelvey 5-41, Bailey 4-40, Robinson 3-36, Zachery 3-35, Rambert 1-9
Virginia- McMullen 8-88-2, Luzar 5-63, K.Luzar 2-33, McGrew 1-31, Anderson 1-8, Harris 1-4
Clemson- Hafley 1-2
Virginia- Newby 1-0, Crowell 1-26
Punt Returns (No-Yds)
Clemson- Mance 1-1
Virginia- Pearman 1-2
Kickoff Returns (No-Yds)
Clemson- Mance 3-61, Reames 1- (-10)
Virginia- Pearman 3-54, Thomas 1-17
Clemson Defensive Leaders
Tackles- Hafley 16, Leake 10, Williams, B., 9, Johnson 9, Meekins 7, Carson 7, Thomas 5, Bush 4, Washington 4, McNeal 4, Mance 4
Sacks- Washington 1-6
Tackles for Loss- Washington 1-6, Fountain 1-2, Leake 1-1
Running Game Key to Success under Bowden
How important is the running game to Clemson under Tommy Bowden? The Tigers are 16-1 under Bowden when the Tigers rush for at least 200 yards. That stat was enhanced in the Ball State game when the Tigers gained 203 rushing in the victory over Ball State.Clemson has won 13 straight when rushing for at least 200 yards dating to the 1999 Georgia Tech game when the Tigers rushed for 231 yards, yet lost the contest, 45-42.
Clemson is 23-4 under Bowden when the Tigers win the rushing yardage stat. That includes a perfect 3-0 record this year. Clemson is also 14-3 under Bowden when it has a 100-yard rusher. Clemson is yet to have a 100-yard rusher this year, but has come close with Yusef Kelly gaining 97 and 99 yards rushing in two games this year.
200 of Each Means Clemson Victory
Balance is obviously a hallmark of any successful offense. That has been the case for Clemson over the years and under Tommy Bowden. In its 1025-game history, Clemson has a 39-0-1 record when it has at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game. The undefeated streak continued in Clemson's most recent game when the Tigers had 209 passing and 203 rushing in the 30-7 win over Ball State.
That marked the 13th time in Tommy Bowden's 41 games as Clemson coach that the Tigers had at least 200 of each. Clemson did it just 27 times in 985 games prior to his arrival. The only time Clemson did not win when it gained at least 200 of each was at Georgia Tech in 1976 when the two teams played to a 24-24 tie.
McKelvey/Youngblood One-two Receiving Punch
Clemson receivers J.J. McKelvey and Kevin Youngblood have become quite a one-two punch among Clemson receivers so far this year. The tall duo has combined for 46 receptions in five games, nearly 10 catches per game, for 520 yards. Both players give quarterback Willie Simmons a big target, as McKelvey is 6-4 and Youngblood a 6-5 player.
Both have had career high performances of 10 catches in a game this year, the high reception total for an ACC player this year. This is the first time in Clemson history that two players on the same team have had at least 10 receptions in a game. They are just the seventh and eighth players in Clemson history to catch 10 passes in a single game.
McKelvey had 10 catches for 123 yards and a score in the win over Ball State on the 21st of September. Youngblood had his breakout game against Louisiana Tech with 10 catches for 85 yards. Both are in the top 10 in the ACC in receptions per game. Youngblood is among the top 30 in the nation on a per game basis.
The list of other Clemson receivers who have accumulate at least 10 catches in a game includes current Washington Redskins firs-round pick Rod Gardner, who did it three times, Tony Horne, who was a Super Bowl Champion with the St. Louis Rams three years ago, Perry Tuttle, a first-round pick off of Clemson's National Championship team of 1981, and Charlie Waters, one of the all-time greats in Dallas Cowboys history as a defensive back.
McKelvey added another 100-yard game at Florida State when he had 5-117 at Florida State. Thus, McKelvey has 15-240 yards over the last two games. He is the first Tiger to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Rod Gardner did it in 2000.
It is interesting to note that five of the 12 double figure reception games in Clemson history have come under Tommy Bowden.
Top Pass Reception Games in Clemson History
Rec Yds Player Site-Opponent Year
11 129 Phil Rogers A-North Carolina 1965
11 111 Rod Gardner H-Marshall 1999
10 123 J.J. McKelvey H-Ball State 2002
10 85 Kevin Youngblood H-Louisiana Tech 2002
10 110 Tony Horne H-App State 1997
10 131 Tony Horne H-Florida St 1997
10 148 Hank Walker H-Auburn 1947
10 144 Charlie Waters H-Alabama 1969
10 124 Perry Tuttle A-Wake Forest 1980
10 151 Perry Tuttle H-Maryland 1981
10 122 Rod Gardner H-Duke 1999
10 137 Rod Gardner H-NC State 2000
Clemson with Five Appearances on ESPN
The Clemson vs. Virginia game will be the fourth of at least five appearances for the Tigers on ESPN during the regular season. This will be the most live regular season appearances on ESPN for Clemson. Clemson's season opener was also on the network, a 31-28 loss at Georgia. Clemson also played Georgia Tech on ESPN-2 in the season's third game and also met Florida State on a Thursday night prime time game on October 3. The Virginia game on Saturday on ESPN-2 will be the fourth of the season and the NC State game on October 24th has already been selected.
If Clemson is chosen for another game in November it would have six appearances, the same number of times Notre Dame is shown each year on NBC.
Clemson has been on ESPN four times in a season in 1989, 1997 and 1999, but each of those seasons included a bowl game appearance on the world's top sports network. Clemson was 4-0 in games on ESPN in 1989, 1-3 in 1997 and 0-4 in 1999.
Clemson is 14-23 in live broadcasts on ESPN over the years, but has won two of its last four. Clemson concluded the 2001 season with a win over Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl, a game that was shown on ESPN. Clemson played 24 games on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN, all between 1979 and 1984. Clemson was 15-8-1 in those games. Thus, Clemson's all-time record on ESPN is 29-31-1 lifetime. The Tigers have struggled in ESPN night games of late. The Tigers have won just four of their last 20 ESPN night games.
Clemson Veterans vs. Virginia
*Altroy Bodrick (LB)-Has played just one game in his career against the Cavaliers, he missed the 1999 and 2001 games with injuries. He had two tackles in 14 snaps in the 2000 game at Charlottesville.
*Nick Eason (DT)-Has played three games in his career against Virginia and has just two tackles. Played just five snaps last year as he missed most of the game with a sprained ankle, an injury he suffered on the fifth play of the game in 2001 at Clemson.
*Mo Fountain (DT)-Played 12 snaps and had two tackles, including a tackle for loss for two yards against Virginia as a first-year freshman last year.
*Derrick Hamilton (WR)-Had nine catches for 90 yards in 38 snaps as a starter against Virginia in 2001. The nine receptions were a career high and tied a Clemson record for receptions in a game by a freshman.
*Leroy Hill (LB)-had three tackles in just eight plays against Virginia as a first-year freshman in 2001.
*Aaron Hunt (PK)-Made 2-4 field goals and 7-7 extra points in two games against Virginia. Made a 19-yarder in the win in 2000 and a 45-yarder in the two-point loss in 2001.
*Kevin Johnson (CB)-Had a career high nine tackles, including eight first hits in 70 snaps as a starter against Virginia in 2001.
*John Leake (LB)-Had 10 tackles in 65 plays as a starter against Virginia in 2001.
*Brian Mance (CB)-Has had exactly four tackles in each of the last two games against Virginia. Also had 61 yards in kickoff returns against the Cavs last year.
*J.J. McKelvey (WR)-Had five catches for 41 yards in 65 plays as a starter against Virginia in 2001. It is McKelvey's career high in terms of snaps for one game.
*Bryant McNeal (DE)-Has played in three games against Virginia and has seven total tackles. Had four stops and three quarterback pressures last year, he had three tackles as a reserve in the 2000 game in Charlottesville.
*Eric Meekins (DB)-Had seven tackles in just 29 plays as a starter in last year's game in Clemson against Virginia.
*Bernard Rambert (RB)-Has played in two games against Virginia and has 11-37 on the ground.
*Jackie Robinson (WR)-Had 30-yard scoring reception at Virginia in 2000, one of his three career TDs. Had 3-36 last year at Clemson.
*Willie Simmons (QB)-Has dressed for three games against Virginia, but has never appeared in a game against the Cavaliers.
*Rodney Thomas (LB)-Had five tackles in 60 plays against Virginia in 2001.
*Khaleed Vaughn (DE)-Has played in two games against Virginia and has three tackles, including a sack at Charlottesville in 2000.
*Donnell Washington (DT)-Had four tackles, including a six-yard sack in 61 snaps against Virginia in 2001.
Returning Red-shirts Have Made a Difference
Three players who have had a positive impact on Clemson's 2002 season are Altroy Bodrick, Yusef Kelly and Kevin Youngblood. All three red-shirted the 2001 season, but have come back strong this year.
Kelly is Clemson's leading rusher this season with 312 net yards, an average of 62.5 yards per game. He has nine of Clemson's 26 rushes of 10 yards or more this season. He leads the team in touchdowns with seven and is first in scoring with 42 points. Kelly sat out last year to red-shirt and was not injured.
Youngblood is the team's top receiver with 24 catches for 200 yards and a score. He is among the ACC's top receivers with 4.8 catches per game. No Clemson receiver has led the league in that area since 1980 when Perry Tuttle paced the conference. Youngblood missed last year with a broken leg.
Bodrick has started all five games so far this year at the roverback position, a hybrid free safety and linebacker. He has 23 tackles to eighth on the team and also has two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Bodrick missed all of last year with a torn ACL.
Eason Remains in the Lineup
Nick Eason had a lot to do with Clemson's victory over Georgia Tech. The graduate student had two sacks in the victory. He was a big reason Tech quarterback A.J. Suggs had -50 yards rushing in the game. Eason had six tackles and two quarterback pressures.
It marked the first time in Eason's career that he had two sacks in the same game. He now has 26 career tackles for loss, first among active Clemson players. Clemson's defense had five sacks against Georgia Tech and continually forced pressure on A.J. Suggs. Clemson allowed just 303 yards of total offense and the Tigers now allow 281 yards per game for the season.
Eason was injured late in the Ball State game with a knee sprain. However, he returned thanks to an open date week and had four tackles and a sack against Florida State. He now has four sacks for the season, tied for the high total on the Clemson team.
Miller Shows All-Around Abilities
Freshman defensive back Justin Miller had a reception and an interception against Louisiana Tech, an example of his fine all-around abilities. The first-year player had a nine-yard reception in the first half and an interception in the endzone at a key juncture of the second half to thwart a Bulldog drive. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance against the Bulldogs.
It marked the first time since 1964 that a Clemson player had an interception and a reception in the same game. Pat Crain was the last to do it as he had a 15-yard interception return and a reception against Virginia on Halloween of 1964. It should be noted that players went both ways in those days, so Miller was the first to do it in the two-platoon era. Miller also had three tackles in the game and played 29 snaps. With the season ending injury to starter Toure Francis, Miller will get a lot of action this season.
Miller was named to the ESPN.com all-first year freshman team for September. He was joined in the secondary by J.J. Billingsley of Colorado, O.C. Collins of Memphis and Matt Fawley of Arizona State. Other ACC players named were D'Quell Jackson of Maryland (LB), Darryl Blackstock of Virginia (LB), Kwakou Robinson of Virginia (DL), T.A. McLendon of NC State (RB), and D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia (OL).
Miller is tied for the team lead in interceptions with two and has 24 return yards in the process. He has 16 tackles for the year, including a five on special teams, tied for second on the team. He has had at least one pass defensed in four straight games.
Kelly Leads Ground Game
Yusef Kelly (formerly Keith Kelly his first two years at Clemson) had a career high 99 yards rushing in the win over Ball State. He has now led Clemson in rushing three of the last four games. He had 25 attempts for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Louisiana Tech. Kelly now has seven touchdowns for the year to exceed his previous career high and ranks 38th in the nation in scoring.
Kelly's 97 yards against Louisiana Tech broke his previous career high of 93 yards against Wake Forest in 2000. He then broke that mark against Ball State. Kelly sat out last year as a red-shirt. He got his chance in the lineup when Bernard Rambert was in street clothes due tendonitis in a foot. He added 20 carries for 89 yards last week in the win over Georgia Tech. He showed his durability as 57 of his 89 yards came in the fourth quarter of that key ACC win.
Leake Ranked 9th in Nation in Tackles
The top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior John Leake and he has led the team so far this year with 61 tackles. In the first round of NCAA defensive stats, Leake was ninth in the nation on a per game basis.
He has had at least 10 tackles in four of the five games this year, including 17 in the win over Louisiana Tech. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated Chad Carson.
Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Leake has football in his blood. His father played for Wyoming as a wide receiver in the 1960s. He opened the 2002 season with a strong game, as he had eight tackles to rank second on the team. He also led the team with a pair of tackles for loss and had much to do with Clemson's ability to hold Georgia to but 203 yards of total offense.
Byrd Leads Offensive Line
Gary Byrd is the leader of Clemson's offensive line. With season ending injuries to veterans Derrick Brantley and Nick Black, the leadership burden is even heavier for Byrd. A graduate student from Stone Mountain, GA, Byrd has started two bowl games at Clemson, the 2001 Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech and the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl against Louisiana Tech. He is a veteran of over 1400 career plays and has been a common denominator on two of the most productive offenses in Clemson history.
Byrd has played well so far this year. In the win over Louisiana Tech he had an 85 percent total performance grade, including an 80 percent technique grade from Clemson line coach Ron West. He led the Tigers in knockdown blocks in the game with 11 and was a big reason Clemson scored 33 points in the contest. He had six knockdowns in the season opener against Georgia. He had two fumble recoveries against Florida State to keep Clemson drives alive.
Byrd leads a young offensive line. Each of the other four offensive line starters are in their first year as starters. Byrd has 19 career starts and the other four offensive linemen have combed for 17. Byrd and Greg Walker are the only Tigers to start every game this year.
Clemson's Defense, You Gotta Lovett
Clemson is most improved when it comes to defense. The Tigers are ranked first in the ACC in total defense, allowing just 281 yards per game, and that figure ranks 12th in the nation. Clemson has allowed just 156.6 yards per game passing, 11th best in the nation. Last year Clemson ranked 71st in the nation in total defense and 66th in pass defense. Clemson is 37th in rushing defense, up from 69th in the nation last year.
While Clemson gave up 48 points to Florida State and 31 to Georgia, mistakes on special teams had a lot to do with those totals. Each team scored against Clemson on a kickoff return and six of the eight touchdown drives the opposition took over in Clemson territory. In 11 possessions in which Georgia and Florida State took over at their own 40 or worse, they combined to drive for a touchdown just twice, once by each team. One other drive (Florida State) the opposition drove for a field goal.
Clemson allowed just 293 yards of total offense to the Louisiana Tech, the second straight game the opposition failed to reach the 300-yard mark. Clemson had allowed the opposition at least 300 yards in 17 straight games heading into the 2002 season.
Clemson has now given up just 1405 yards of total offense in five games, an average of 281 yards per game. Clemson allowed 395 yards a game last year, so it is easy to see the 281 figure for the first five games this year is considerably better. Clemson has allowed just 4.3 yards per play, much improved from the 5.3 allowed per play a year ago.
Many of the times the opposition has scored it has been the result of difficult field position after a turnover or a long kick return. Over the first five games the opposition has taken possession of the ball at their own 38 or worse 41 times. They have driven for a touchdown just five times in those 41 possessions. The defense had a streak of 18 straight possessions without yielding a touchdown in that situation broken in the Georgia Tech game.
What is especially encouraging to Clemson coaches is that Clemson has achieved these numbers against teams that are solid on offense. Georgia has eight offensive starters returning from a team that averaged 432 yards a game last year, but got just 203 yards against Clemson. Louisiana Tech averaged over 400 yards and 30 points a game last year, but got just 13 points and 293 yards against Clemson. Florida State ranks first in the ACC in total offense and is in the top 20 in the nation.
Clemson Defense Comparison
Category 2001 Avg. 2002
First Downs/Game Allowed 21.9 16.6
Total Yards/Game Allowed 394.9 281.0
Rushing Yards/Game Allowed 154.3 124.4
Passing Yards/Game Allowed 240.6 156.6
Yards/Play Allowed 5.3 4.3
Yards/Reception Allowed 13.4 9.5
Yards/rush Allowed 3.8 3.4
Turnovers Forced 1.58 2.6