CLEMSON - Jim Phillips and Bob Fulton provided the voices for many memories for both Clemson and South Carolina sports fans over the years. Saturday, Fulton provided one more in honor of his late friend.
While Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret handled most of the play-by-play call in place of Phillips, who died last Tuesday at age 69, it was Fulton - the legendary and retired voice of the Gamecocks - who brought a chill to those listening both at home and on site in Death Valley.
Taking over for Clemson's first full series in the second quarter, the 83-year old's smooth, baritone voice accurately described a 69-yard scoring drive capped off by Chad Jasmin's 3-yard scoring run.
Clemson led 20-7 after the series, and Fulton was feted with a standing ovation by thousands of Tiger fans listening to his call on radios inside the stadium.
BOWDEN ON PHILLIPS
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden had the unenviable task of staying focused on preparing for Saturday's game with Middle Tennessee State while the rest of the Clemson family was mourning the loss of Phillips.
But Bowden said both he and his players, most of whom didn't know Phillips, still understood the magnitude of his loss.
"He meant a lot to our team (but) not as much as to someone who's been listening to him for 36 years," said Bowden. "He was a piece of Clemson history for those that had been listening to him for so many years on the radio. Our team didn't know him well, but over the week they felt how much he meant to the university.
"There was no doubt he was on their mind and possibly created a sense of urgency for our team."
BOWDEN ON WHITEHURST
As sophomore quarterback Charlie Whitehurst appears to be taking on more and more of a feature role in the Clemson offense, Bowden seems to be becoming a bigger fan.
Whitehurst was 23-of-28 for 298 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday's 37-14 win over Middle Tennessee, and added another 50 yards rushing on nine carries.
"He's still just a young guy learning," Bowden said. "The line has to protect and the receiver have to catch and run the right routes, but a lot goes on Charlie's shoulders. Nowadays people jam the box, so you have to be able to throw the ball, too."
- Airese Currie's 12 receptions established a new Clemson single-game high. The old record of 11 was shared by Phil Rogers (1965) and Rod Gardner (1999);
- Clemson's 30 first downs Saturday was the fourth best in team history;
- Placekicker Aaron Hunt ended his season-opening string of misses with a 42-yarder in the fourth quarter. He did have an extra point blocked after the Tigers' first touchdown;
- Unofficial defensive stats showed John Leake and Jamaal Fudge each with 12 tackles to lead the Clemson defense. Leroy Hill had six after back-to-back weeks in double figures, but did record a sack. J.J. Howard had his third sack in as many games;
- The announced paid attendance was 71,000.