Anyone who enjoys good defense should be happy that the Clemson-Maryland game wasn’t televised.
When you look at the stats, it appears that the defensive players for both teams decided to play two-hand touch instead of tackle football. Too bad the officials didn’t know, because the final stats include some staggering offensive numbers as a result of two very giving defenses.
The two teams combined for 934-yards of total offense. Clemson’s 542-yard output marked the 14th -highest total in Tiger history and the first time that Clemson has surpassed 500-yards in a game since 1992 versus UT-Chatanooga.
To find the last time that Clemson scored six rushing touchdowns in one game, you have to look all the way back to 1990, when the Tigers throttled Long Beach State 59-0 in Ken Hatfield’s first game as head coach.
Then there was the performance of Woodrow Dantzler, Clemson’s sophomore quarterback who effectively re-wrote much of the Tiger record book on Saturday.
Dantzler’s 435-yards of total offense easily surpassed Bobby Gage’s previous school best of 374-yards in 1947. Dantzler’s 183-yards on the ground was also a Clemson record for quarterbacks and among the top-15 in school history for any position.
Despite his historical performance, Dantzler was unimpressed by his individual accomplishments.
“I’m not a big guy on records. Yards, stats- I’m just looking for the “W.” That’s all we need,” Dantzler said.
Surely, Dantzler would give himself an “A” when asked to grade his play against Maryland. Or would he?
“Today? About a “C.” An “A” game is no mistakes at all. Period,” Dantzler said, keeping a straight face.
Needless to say, Dantzler wouldn’t be very popular among students if he were to ever enter the teaching profession.
Dantzler spent a large part of Saturday afternoon playing catch with his favorite target, 6-3 wide out Rod Gardner. Against the Terrapins, Gardner pulled in five passes for 128-yards, including two spectacular diving catches on deep balls.
“Those two catches he made today were as good as anybody can make on any level,” said wide receivers coach Rick Stockstill.
In the locker room after the game, Gardner offered his a bit of advice to Clemson fans.
“Every week, look for something out of me. I’m improving every day.”
In direct contrast to the Tiger potent offensive machine, there was the pourous Clemson defense. Considering that Maryland had scored a total of twelve points in their previous six games against Clemson, Saturday’s 30-point output was a virtual offensive explosion for the Terrapins.
Maryland running back LaMont Jordan’s four touchdowns and 24-points tied him with former N.C. State star Torry Holt for the most points scored in one game against the Tigers.
If there were a stat for the most tackles broken in a game against Clemson, Jordan would likely have broken it, too, as the Tiger defenders repeatedly failed to bring down the 220-pound bruiser with ineffective arm tackles.
As one might expect, Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring wasn’t leading any post-game cheers.
“It was really a very, very poor day for the defense at Clemson. The most alarming and discouraging things are the facts that it was poor tackling. We had guys that were in position to make plays and didn’t. And then it almost looked like a lack of toughness, also. I think we’ve got to challenge our kids, we’ve got to challenge ourselves as coaches, and we’ve got to improve on defense,” said Herring.
With top-ranked Florida State visiting Death Valley next Saturday night, that improvement needs to come in a hurry.