Terps to Test Toughness of Tiger Defense Again

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - LaMont Jordan didn't stop at running roughshod through Clemson's defense last year. He embarrassed it, as well.

Maryland's star tailback amassed 177 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in the Terrapins 42-30 loss to the Tigers at UM's Byrd Stadium. If that weren't enough, the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder left more than one CU defender questioning whether or not to get in his way, which left Clemson coach Tommy Bowden questioning his defensive unit's manhood.

When the Terps (2-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) roll into Death Valley on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2) for their ACC meeting with the No. 5 Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC), redemption - and Jordan - will be first and foremost on Clemson's collective defensive mind.

"It's going to be important to stop (Jordan). He kind of embarrassed us last year," Bowden said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "A lot of guys who were playing had opportunities to hit him and turned him down. We'll remind them of that when we look at the film. Hopefully, they won't do that again. He was turned down by guys who are presently here."

Defensive tackle Terry Jolly was one of those who shared that embarrassment.

"LaMont Jordan embarrassed us," Jolly said. "He embarrassed the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary... and coach (Bowden) had been on us all week about stopping this guy. And then we go to Maryland and he runs all over us, he makes us look bad."

Tommy Bowden Press Conference (35:00) Keith Adams on facing Maryland Chad Carson on improvements needed against Maryland this year Terry Jolly on Maryland's Lamont Jordan Will Merritt on winning ACC offensive lineman of the week

Even though Jordan, who was hyped in the preseason as a Heisman candidate, has not put up superb numbers thus far in 2000, he still is as dangerous as ever. The senior, who is Maryland's all-time leading rusher, has run for 378 yards and six touchdowns through five games, good for fifth on the ACC rushing list. He is currently 12th on the ACC all-time rushing list and is behind only TCU's LaDanian Tomlinson among active NCAA career rushing leaders.

The game he had in a losing effort against Florida State earlier in the year was enough to put Tiger defenders on alert - he still can burn you if given the chance.

"(Jordan) broke a 70-yarder against Florida State, and (State) wasn't even near him," said Jolly. "They ran after him, but they weren't near him. So, when you do it against Florida State... it means a lot."

So what can Clemson do differently from last season to stop Jordan? For middle linebacker Chad Carson, the answer is simple: Get physical.

"We really weren't tough on defense last year (against Maryland)," Carson said. "On first down, they got six yards a carry. We just weren't really physical enough. I think that's changed. I think our defense can be physical now.

"That's to be seen this week. That's why it's such a challenging week, because (Maryland) is really a tough running team."

And LaMont Jordan is one tough, physical running back.

Through games of Oct 09, 2000

                        Conference  Points          Overall   Points      
  Team                    W  L  T  For Opp   Pct    W  L  T  For Opp   Pct
  ----                    -  -  -  --- ---   ---    -  -  -  --- ---   ---
  Clemson.............    4  0  0  172  66 1.000    6  0  0  272  75 1.000
  Florida State.......    3  0  0  148  42 1.000    5  1  0  232  72  .833
  Virginia............    3  1  0   94  74  .750    4  2  0  163 118  .667
  NC State............    1  1  0   57  57  .500    4  1  0  177 126  .800
  Georgia Tech........    1  2  0   86  84  .333    3  2  0  147 114  .600
  North Carolina......    1  2  0   77 119  .333    3  2  0  127 143  .600
  Maryland............    0  2  0   30  90  .000    2  3  0  109 157  .400
  Wake Forest.........    0  3  0   31 117  .000    0  5  0   57 154  .000
  Duke................    0  2  0   32  78  .000    0  5  0   44 180  .000

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