Tigers Pound 'Pack, 31-10

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RALEIGH, N.C. - In 12 long, excruciating off days since the loss to Wake Forest - its third straight defeat - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden preached the virtues of staying the course. Thursday night, his patience paid huge dividends.

Clemson scored on four straight possessions in the first half to take a big lead at N.C. State and rolled to a 31-10 victory over the Wolfpack in the annual Textile Bowl. It's the first game the Tigers have played this season that didn't go down to the final play, and squared their record at 3-3 (2-3 ACC).

The Wolfpack falls to 2-3 (1-3).

It was Clemson's first-ever win on an ESPN-televised Thursday night game. The Tigers had lost their previous six chances, five under Bowden.

Clemson blew open the game with a 21-point second quarter, twice leading by three touchdowns before settling for a 28-10 lead at the break.

The Tigers actually opened the scoring with :39 seconds left in the first quarter when quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (22-of-31, 246 yards) found Curtis Baham in the back of the endzone from six yards away for a touchdown. Whitehurst then tossed eight yards to tight end Bobby Williamson for a score with 11:26 left in the half for a 14-0 lead.

"We've kept them off-balance with our formations," Whitehurst said. "We threw when they were expecting us to run, and we ran with they thought we'd throw. It was a great game plan on our coaches' part."

The margin increased to 21-0 on the next possession on a 12-yard run by freshman tailback James Davis. After the Wolfpack scored on a 20-yard run by Blackman to cut the lead to 21-7, Davis scored again on the ensuing drive on a six-yard jaunt.

Davis finished with 139 yards on 11 carries, but left the game early in the third quarter with a wrist injury. ESPN reported the wrist was fractured, but Bowden said after the game that he would be re-examined on Friday.

"I really did expect him (Davis) to explode one of these nights," said Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence. "The best is ahead for this young man."

Jad Dean provided the game's only points of the second half with a 30-yard field goal.

The Wolfpack tried to rally in the fourth quarter, intercepting Whitehurst off a deflected pass and blocking a punt. But each time the Tigers' defense came up strong, getting a Tye Hill interception to stop one drive and shutting down the other on fourth down at the Clemson six yard line when Anthony Waters deflected a pass in the end zone.

"It (the win) was much needed for our players and I got to confess for me too," said Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. "I know we have a chance to be pretty good."

Clemson returns home Oct. 22 to face Temple, the only game at Death Valley in the month of October.

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Clemson.............  7 21  3  0  - 31       
NC State............  0 10  0  0  - 10       

Scoring Summary:
1st 00:39 CU - Baham,C 6 yd pass from Whitehurst,C (Dean,J kick), 
      8-83 3:15, CU 7 - NCS 0
2nd 11:26 CU - Williamson,B 8 yd pass from Whitehurst,C (Dean,J kick), 
      8-72 3:17, CU 14 - NCS 0
    08:08 CU - Davis, J 12 yd run (Dean,J kick), 
      7-62 2:52, CU 21 - NCS 0
    04:31 NCS - Blackman, D. 20 yd run (Deraney, J. kick), 
      8-80 3:37, CU 21 - NCS 7
    02:50 CU - Davis, J 6 yd run (Dean,J kick), 
      5-80 1:41, CU 28 - NCS 7
    00:29 NCS - Deraney, J. 25 yd field goal, 
      7-12 2:21, CU 28 - NCS 10
3rd 02:23 CU - Dean,J 30 yd field goal, 
      11-56 5:10, CU 31 - NCS 10

                                     CU      NCS
FIRST DOWNS...................       23       16
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   41-243   27-103
PASSING YDS (NET).............      246      175
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  31-22-1  36-19-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   72-489   63-278
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............      1-1     3-20
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     1-27    4-174
Interception Returns-Yards....     1-24      1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   3-26.7   4-39.8
Fumbles-Lost..................      0-0      5-1
Penalties-Yards...............     9-80     8-42
Possession Time...............    33:46    26:14
Third-Down Conversions........  8 of 15  4 of 15
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 2   0 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-6      2-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      2-8      0-0

RUSHING: Clemson-Davis, J 12-143; Merriweather,R 12-47; 
Stuckey, C 2-22; Whitehurst,C 4-19; Browning,K 9-16; 
Team 2-minus 4. NC State-Blackman, D. 10-46; 
Baker, T. 12-42; Stone, M. 2-18; Davis, R. 1-minus 1; 
Davis, J. 2-minus 2.

PASSING: Clemson-Whitehurst,C 22-31-1-246. NC State-Davis, J.
15-31-1-133; Stone, M. 4-5-0-42.

RECEIVING: Clemson-Stuckey, C 8-103; Kelly,A 5-81; 
Hunter,T 2-26; Williamson,B 2-17; Baham,C 2-12; 
Merriweather,R 2-1; Grisham,T 1-6. 
NC State-Barrett, L. 4-78; Clark, B. 3-40; 
Williams, T.J. 3-12; Dunlap, J. 2-19; Baker, T. 2-15; 
Blackman, D. 2-12; Hill, A. 1-0; Ritcher, J. 1-0; Hall, T.
1-minus 1.

INTERCEPTIONS: Clemson-Hill,T 1-24. NC State-Heath, G. 1-0.

FUMBLES: Clemson-None. NC State-Baker, T. 2-1; Blackman, D. 2-0; Davis,
J. 1-0.

Stadium: CarterFinley Stadium  Attendance: 57500
Kickoff time: 7:45      End of Game: 11:06     
Total elapsed time: 4:21

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