Harper, Tigers Roll Over Louisiana Monroe

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Two years after he first committed to Clemson, the school's football fans finally got a chance to see Willy Korn take the field in a Tiger uniform. He did so, however, mopping up after a record-setting day by Cullen Harper.

Harper set the individual Clemson single-game record for most touchdown passes with five Saturday afternoon, leading the No. 25 Tigers to an easy 49-26 win over visiting Louisiana Monroe.

The previous record of four was set in 1947 by Bobby Gage and tied by four others.

The redshirt junior spread the wealth, hitting five different receivers for the scores. He went deep twice - 52 yards to Jacoby Ford early and 68 yards to C.J. Spiller in the third quarter. His other three scoring strikes were all of the shorter variety; 14 yards to Tyler Grisham in the first quarter, eight yards to freshman tight end Brian Linthicum, and six yards to Aaron Kelly.

Overall, Harper finished 20-of-26 for 270 yards. He wasn't intercepted. He also drew plenty of praise from his head coach.

"Cullen has a lot of confidence," Tommy Bowden said. "He's a hard worker anyway, and the competition for the job has made him work even harder. I'm real proud of him."

Korn, for his part, completed 6-of-8 passes for 49 yards, and rushed for 27 more and a touchdown playing well after the outcome was decided.

Still, his appearance put to rest the speculation that Bowden may have been playing mind games with everyone and actually intended on redshirting the talented youngster from Duncan. And if Korn is, indeed, the second team quarterback, Saturday's playing time was important for his future development.

That, and the fact that Bowden was trying to avoid repeating what he said was a mistake last season.

"We learned a lesson last year by getting ahead and continuing to just run the ball," he said. "We didn't have to keep throwing the ball to win today, but we were surely going to work on it."

The Warhawks (0-2) tried to make life difficult for Clemson in the early going.

Led by running back Calvin Dawson, ULM took it to a sluggish Tiger defense early. The Warhawks had a 7-0 lead in the first quarter as Dawson kept pounding away at the Clemson defensive front. The diminutive tailback finished with 121 yards and a touchdown, his seventh straight 100-yard rushing performance dating back to last season.

But Harper and the Tigers would get it going, with four of his five scoring passes coming in the first half.

His bubble screen toss to Grisham tied it at 7-7, and later Harper found Ford running free in the Warhawk secondary for an easy 52-yard score. In the second quarter Harper waited patiently for Linthicum to uncover in the end zone before delivering the eight-yard touchdown.

Finally he lofted a nice touch pass to Kelly in the back right corner of the West end zone to give Clemson a 28-10 lead it took into the break.

Harper's final TD pass came on Clemson's first play of the third quarter, a fade down the sideline to Spiller that went for 68 yards.

Harper's last possession of the day ended with James Davis rushing in from 16 yards away.

"Take away the national TV audience and a ranked team, you've got a short turnaround, and you never know what you're going to get," Bowden said. "I'll take a win like this anytime."

The Warhawks added two late touchdowns on Clemson's reserves for the final margin.

Clemson (2-0) returns to action next Saturday, hosting Furman.

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