CLEMSON - Justin Miller's brilliant individual performance in a losing effort did not go unrecognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Monday Miller was named the ACC's Special Teams Player of the Week after his record-setting performance returning kickoffs in Clemson's 41-22 loss Saturday at Florida State. It marks the second time in four weeks Miller has taken the honor.
He also won it after Clemson's season-opening victory over Wake Forest.
“I hate that we couldn't help him out,” Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. “It was a great individual performance. I hate that we couldn't have done anything where that could have shone out and been magnified a little bit more. It was a great individual performance by a player who just refused to quit.”
Miller's numbers were astounding.
He set an NCAA single-game standard with 282 kickoff return yards in the game, a number which would have been even higher had he not stumbled on his own in the open field during one return.
As it was, Miller returned two kicks for touchdowns - one 97 yards and the other 86 - to become just the 10th player in NCAA history to return two kicks for scores in the same game. He is the only player in ACC history to accomplish the feat, a fact which even impressed the already confident Miller.
“It’s definitely a great accomplishment,” he said. “It’s just natural instinct. But I owe a lot of credit to the blockers for opening the holes.”
Miller's returns continued the overall good play by Clemson's special teams.
The Tigers blocked their second punt of the season - again for a safety - Saturday, and continue to be consistent in the other areas of the kicking game. New starting placekicker Jad Dean didn't get any field goal attempts Saturday, but was perfect on both his extra point kicks.
"One area we have played well in this year is special teams," Bowden said. "Obviously, we did the job in terms of kickoff returns and in terms of blocking the punt at Florida State. We scored 16 points off special teams, it has probably been a long time since a Clemson team did that."
The Tigers were off Monday, and will return to practice today, Wednesday and Thursday.
After taking Friday and Saturday off, Clemson will work out Sunday-Wednesday of next week in preparation for the Thursday, Oct. 7 game at Virginia.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.