It's Official: Woody's Back In Heisman Race After 45-37 Win Over Wolfpack

by - Correspondent -
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<font class=caption>Dantzler got the Tigers off to a good start with this 55-yard TD run in the first quarter.</font>
Dantzler got the Tigers off to a good start with this 55-yard TD run in the first quarter.

RALEIGH, N.C. - Woody Dantzler, Heisman Trophy candidate? Yeah, you might say that.

Dantzler put on a stunning exhibition Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, accounting for 517 yards of total offense and six touchdowns - both team records - in No. 16 Clemson's wild 45-37 victory over N.C. State.

The victory improves the Tigers to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. And, coming on the heels of another outstanding performance at Georgia Tech two weeks ago, it thrusts Dantzler squarely back in the hunt for the award given annually to the nation's best player.

"He makes so many plays," said Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden. "He's just a phenomenal athlete. If you give him enough at-bats he'll eventually hit the home run."

Tommy Bowden Press Conference - Real | Windows Media Woody Dantzler Part 1 - Real | Windows Media Woody Dantzler Part 2 - Real | Windows Media Brad Scott on Dantzler's Play - Real | Windows Media Mike O'Cain on Dantzler's Play - Real | Windows Media Chad Carson - Real | Windows Media

Dantzler hurt the Wolfpack defense every way imaginable. He threw long. He threw short. He sprinted. He juked. He danced.

But most of all, he produced points.

For the record, Dantzler:

- Opened the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run in the first quarter;

- Threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Derrick Hamilton in the second to tie the game at 14-14;

- Tossed another touchdown, this time 7 yards to Ben Hall, for a 21-14 lead later in the same quarter;

- Found Travis Zachery open for a 22-yard touchdown for a 28-17 lead early in the third quarter;

- Scored on an 8-yard run later in the period for a 35-17 advantage;

- Threw 4 yards to Jasmin in the final minute of the third period for Clemson's final touchdown and a 42-23 lead.

When it was done Dantzler had rushed for 184 yards on 23 carries, while completing 23-of-27 passes for a career-high 333 yards. More importantly, Dantzler accounted for neither of the Tigers' two turnovers.

"I can't imagine there being a better player in America than Woody Dantzler," said Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato. "We must have set a record on missed tackles on him alone. He really put on a show today."

Dantzler, as usual, took it all in stride.

"I really didn't know anything about (the numbers)," he said. "All I know is at one point in the game Willie (Simmons) came up to me and said 'You need one more yard for 500.' Until that point, I really had no idea."

As was the case at Georgia Tech, it took all of Dantzler's heroics and some help from his teammates to outlast the Wolfpack. Trailing by as many as 19 in the second half, sophomore quarterback Philip Rivers rallied his team to within 45-37 with a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes - 15 yards to Bryan Peterson and 12 to Willie Wright - sandwiched around a Clemson 31-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt.

The scoring toss to Wright came with 2:57 left in the game and had the sellout crowd of 51,500 on its feet. But Clemson recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and ran out the clock, sewing up the victory.

Rivers finished with 310 passing yards and four touchdowns on 24-of-46. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery caught three scoring passes for the Wolfpack, two from Rivers and one on a trick play from Peterson.

"We've got to learn to play the whole 60 minutes," Amato said. "We still aren't making the big plays we should. We're still dropping passes. We've got to be able to make the big plays as well as the easy ones."

Clemson's defense gave up 331 total yards, 29 below its season average. But turnovers and a special team's mistake gave N.C. State (3-2, 1-2) a short field with which to operate on three occasions. The 'Pack converted all three into touchdowns.

"If you eliminate the penalties (a team-record 20 for 181 yards) I think we played pretty good on both sides of the ball," Bowden said. "We were self-destructing there for a while. The turnovers hurt us and cost us some points.

"You hate to give up that many passing yards, but we did a good job of shutting down their running game (35 yards net)."

Other Clemson highlights included:

- Hamilton's first career 100-yard receiving game (8 catches, 106 yards and a touchdown);

- Freshman wideout Airese Currie finally being turned loose in an opponent's secondary, hauling in a 79-yard pass from Dantzler early in the fourth quarter;

- Freshman tight end Ben Hall proving himself a valuable weapon in the Tigers' offense, catching three passes for 39 yards and the touchdown.

Cotchery's touchdowns were the first of his career for N.C. State, while Peterson set a new career high with 120 receiving yards. He became the second player in Wolfpack history, along with Rivers, to throw and catch a touchdown pass in the same game.


                      1  2  3  4   F 
                      -  -  -  -  -- 
Clemson (18)          7 14 21  3  45 
No Carolina St       14  3  6 14  37  FINAL 
 Clemson-Dantzler 55 run (Hunt kick)
 No Carolina St-Cotchery 8 pass from Rivers (Kiker kick)
 No Carolina St-Cotchery 19 pass from Rivers (Kiker kick)
 Clemson-Hamilton 10 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
 Clemson-Hall 7 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
 No Carolina St-FG Kiker 20
 Clemson-Zachery 22 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
 Clemson-Dantzler 8 run (Hunt kick)
 No Carolina St-Cotchery 21 pass from Peterson (kick failed)
 Clemson-Jasmin 4 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
 No Carolina St-Peterson 15 pass from Rivers (two-point
                conversion failed)
 Clemson-FG Hunt 31
 No Carolina St-Wright 12 pass from Rivers (R Robinson
                reception for two-point conversion)

                        Clemson No Carolina St 
First downs                  28          21 
Rushed-yards             52-234       21-21 
Passing yards               333         331 
Sacked-yards lost          2-24        3-22 
Return yards                 73           0 
Passes                  23-27-0     25-48-1 
Punts                    2-45.0      7-41.4 
Fumbles-lost                2-2         0-0 
Penalties-yards          20-181      12-118 
Time of possession        32:58       27:02 

Individual Statistics 
RUSHING: Clemson-Dantzler 23-184, Zachery 15-43, Rambert 8-43,
Currie 2-5, Team 4-minus 41. No Carolina St-R Robinson 12-28,
Edwards 1-3, Jackson 1-1, Peterson 1-1, Rivers 6-minus 12.

PASSING: Clemson-Dantzler 23-27-0-333. No Carolina St-Rivers
24-46-1-310, Peterson 1-2-0-21.

RECEIVING: Clemson-Hamilton 8-106, Zachery 5-81, Hall 3-39,
Bailey 2-14, Mckelvey 2-8, Currie 1-79, Jasmin 1-4, Jenkins
1-2. No Carolina St-Peterson 6-120, Cotchery 6-72, Wright 4-78,
Edwards 3-28, Jackson 3-12, R Robinson 2-9, T Graham 1-12.
Att: 51,500



Clemson 7, NCSU 0

Scoring Drive: 3 plays, 81 yards in 1:24

Scoring Play: Woody Dantzler 55-yard run on option at 13:36.

Key Play: Scoring Play

Clemson 7, NCSU 7

Scoring Drive: 2 plays, 9 yards in :45.

Scoring Play: Philip Rivers 9-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery at 7:43

Key Play: Snap over head of Clemson punter to give State first-and-goal at the 9.

NCSU 14, Clemson 7

Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 46 yards in 5:11

Scoring Play: Rivers 19-yard pass to Cotchery at :40.

Key Play: Pass Interference on Toure Francis on 3-and-15 from CU 39.


Clemson 14, NCSU 14

Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards in 2:23.

Scoring Play: Woody Dantzler 10-yard pass to Derrick Hamilton at 9:47.

Key Play: Pass interference on NCSU's Brian Williams on third-and-8 from CU 44.

Clemson 21, NCSU 14

Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards in 1:08.

Scoring Play: Dantzler 7 pass to Ben Hall at :56.

Key Play: Dantzler's 18-yard pass to Hamilton to the NCSU 11.

Clemson 21, NCSU 17

Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 64 yards in :56

Scoring Play: Adam Kiker's 20-yard field goal at :00.

Key Play: Rivers' 48-yard pass to Peterson to the Clemson 16.


Clemson 28, NCSU 17

Scoring Drive: 4 plays, 54 yards in :57

Scoring Play: Dantzler's 22-yard pass to Zachery at 12:47.

Key Play: Late hit on NCSU's Terrence Holt on Jenkins' first career reception, putting
ball at NCSU 22.

Clemson 35, NCSU 17

Scoring Drive: 8 plays, 69 yards in 3:31.

Scoring Play: Dantzler's 8 yard run at 7:53.

Key Play: Dantzler's 43-yard pass to Zachery to the NCSU 7.

Clemson 35, NCSU 23

Scoring Drive: 4 plays, 89 yards in 1:05.

Scoring Play: Rivers' 21-yard pass to Cotchery at 6:48.

Key Play: Rivers' 45-yard pass to Willie Wright to the CU 21.

Clemson 42, NCSU 23

Scoring Drive: 13 plays, 92 yards in 5:51.

Scoring Play: Dantzler's 4-yard pass to Chad Jasmin at :57

Key Play: Dantzler's 41-yard run to the NCSU 6.


Clemson 42, NCSU 29

Scoring Drive: 4 plays, 39 yards in 1:31.

Scoring Play: Rivers' 15-yard pass to Peterson at 12:51.

Key Play: Fumbled punt by CU's Brian Mance to give NCSU possession at 39.

Clemson 45, NCSU 29

Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 34 yards in 3:09.

Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 31-yard field goal at 5:34.

Key Play: Dantzler's 26-yard shovel pass to Hamilton to the NCSU 21

Clemson 45, NCSU 37

Scoring Drive: 12 plays, 70 yards in 2:37.

Scoring Play: Rivers' 12-yard pass to Wright at 2:57.

Key Play: Scoring play, which came on fourth-and-7.

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