Injuries a Concern as Tigers Prepare for No. 19 USC

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Special to TigerNet from the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger

CLEMSON --- As he walked off the practice field Monday night, Clemson running back James Davis made a loud announcement to anyone who could hear him.

“It’s time to add another tombstone,” he said.

That tombstone is one the Tigers can get if they beat No. 19 South Carolina this Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. Clemson documents Top 25 road wins with a tombstone at the entrance to its practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. Clemson last had an addition to the area last year when it won at 10th ranked Miami 24-17 in overtime. Tommy Bowden also defeated a ninth ranked Georgia Tech team on the road in 2001.

“That would be cool,” said Clemson center Dustin Fry. “I don’t think we have one with South Carolina on it, do we? It will be nice. I guess this is a tombstone game.”

Clemson has never beaten a top 25 South Carolina team in Columbia. Clemson is 0-3 versus Top 25 South Carolina teams in Columbia. Clemson has faced a ranked South Carolina team in Columbia in 1979 (19th), 1987 (12th) and 2001 (22nd).

Charlie hurting. Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said quarterback Charlie Whitehurst practiced Tuesday night, but he is concerned about the health of his quarterback, who he says got pretty banged up in the Florida State game.

“He did about the same and I’m not trying to mislead you, but he is beat up,” said Bowden. “I didn’t anticipate that happening. We haven’t played those kinds of strikers yet and he did take some shots.

“Obviously, as beat as he is and I’m not going to tell you how much and what he did, but that had an effect on today that I did not anticipate.”

Backup Will Proctor is still getting a good number of reps just in case Whitehurst can’t go Saturday.
If Whitehurst starts the South Carolina game and the Tigers defeat the 19th ranked Gamecocks it would give Whitehurst a record tying seven wins over Top 25 teams during his career. With the win over 17th-ranked Florida State, Whitehurst now has six top 25 wins, three as a sophomore in 2003, one as a junior in 2004 and two this year.

His play has certainly been a contributing factor to all of those wins. Whitehurst is 122-of-199 for 1,495 yards and six touchdowns for those six wins combined. His average game for those six contests is 20-of-33 for 249 yards and a touchdown and his passing efficiency is 128.4.
Rodney Williams tops the list of Clemson quarterbacks with seven wins over ranked opponents. Williams recorded seven victories as the starter from 1985-88. Whitehurst is second with six, while Homer Jordan, Mike Eppley and DeChane Cameron all had four. Nealon Greene and Steve Fuller had three apiece.

As for other injures, offensive lineman Nathan Bennett is listed as questionable for the South Carolina game with a calf muscle injury. Offensive tackle Marion Dukes practiced Tuesday, but his lower back is still sore from a back strain he suffered against Florida State.

Defensive end Gaines Adams was in a green jersey and Bowden expects him to be ready by game time Saturday.

Peach Bowl in attendance. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl representatives Rob Hollis and Art Gregory will visit Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia this Saturday for the Clemson-South Carolina game. The two teams will be scouted as potential representatives in the 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference team selections for the 38th edition of the Bowl are scheduled to be announced Dec. 5. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the only guaranteed ACC vs. SEC match-up in the bowl business.
Clemson (6-4) hopes to extend their win streak to three games after defeating then No.19 Florida State, 35-14, last Saturday. The Tigers have won three straight over the Gamecocks, and seven of the last eight meetings in Columbia. Clemson has made six Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl appearances, the last one a 27-14 win over Tennessee in 2003.

South Carolina (7-3) is riding the first five-game SEC win streak in school history after a 30-22 victory over the Florida Gators. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 23 in the Bowl Championship Series standings and No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The game, the 97th consecutive meeting and 103rd overall between the in-state foes, will kick-off at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised on Pay-Per-View.

Sportsmanship Clemson and USC officials are discussing a plan for the players on both teams to shake hands
prior to Saturday's game as a show of sportsmanship after last year's brawl.

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