Tigers' Rally Falls Short in Raleigh


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RALEIGH, N.C. - An impressive fourth quarter rally Thursday night wasn't enough to overcome three quarters of miscues by Clemson.


Seven 15-yard penalties, including two on what proved to be the game-winning drive by N.C. State midway through the second half, handicapped the Tigers in a 17-15 loss on national television. The loss drops Tommy Bowden's team to 4-3 overall, 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.


“I thought the players played hard for 60 minutes,” said Bowden. “That’s one thing you ask them to do and they did. If you had to say what two things that cost you, it would be some dropped passes and (not) playing smart with some penalties.”

N.C. State improves to 5-3 (2-2).


Down 17-6, Clemson got Aaron Hunt's third field goal of the game to pull within eight points early in the fourth quarter. Then, after stopping the Wolfpack on the next possession, the Tigers drove for its only touchdown of the game behind the running of Chad Jasmin, who capped off the impressive drive with a 5-yard scoring run to make it 17-15 with 6:01 to go.


But on the two-point conversion attempt, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst couldn't hit Tony Elliott in the back of the end zone and Clemson still trailed.


Another three-and-out by the Wolfpack gave Clemson another shot, but on third-and-18 from just outside his own 40, Whitehurst was intercepted on a tipped pass. It would prove to be the Tigers' final possession of the night.


Clemson had a chance to get the ball back for one final shot with under two minutes to go, but Eric Sampson was called for pass interference on a third-down pass by State quarterback Philip Rivers, keeping the drive alive.

The Wolfpack, who led 14-6 after a pair of Rivers touchdown passes - one in the first quarter to T.A. McClendon and the other a 37-yarder to Richard Washington in the third quarter - added the eventual game-winning field goal by Adam Kiker with 14:49 left in the game. The drive was kept alive by a third down late-hit penalty called on Clemson's Trey Tate after the Tigers had stopped State short of a first down in its own territory.


“We just had some dumb, dumb penalties,” said Clemson defensive coordinator John Lovett. “That just shot us in the foot. That’s what really killed us tonight.”


Later on the drive the Tigers were flagged for another 15 yards for hitting Rivers late, helping put Kiker in position for the game-winner.


SCORING

Clemson      0  6  0  9-15
N.C. State   7  0  7  3-17


First quarter

NCS-McLendon 4 pass from Rivers (Kiker kick), 1:22


Second quarter

CLE-FG Hunt 28, 9:24.

CLE-FG Hunt 34, :09.


Third quarter

NCS-Washington 37 pass from Rivers (Kiker kick), 10:18.


Fourth quarter

NCS-FG Kiker 27, 14:49.

CLE-FG Hunt 21, 10:04.

CLE-Jasmin 5 run (pass failed), 6:01.

A-53,800.



                       CLE     NCS
First downs             21      21
Rushes-yards        29-127   36-70
Passing yards          196     213
Return Yards             9       2
Comp-Att-Int       23-37-1 20-34-0
Punts                 3-37    4-44
Fumbles-Lost           0-0     2-1
Penalties-Yards       8-94    8-70
Time of Possession   27:27   32:33



INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-Clemson, Coleman 11-51, Jasmin 6-37, Kelly 6-33, Hamilton 1-9,
Whitehurst 5-(-3). N.C. State, McLendon 19-60, Rivers 7-19, Jackson 3-2, Hall
1-(-1), Cotchery 2-(-3), Team 4-(-7).

PASSING-Clemson, Whitehurst, 23-37-1-196. N.C. State, Rivers 20-34-0-213.

RECEIVING-Clemson, Youngblood 5-47, Williamson 5-32, Elliott 4-27, Coleman
3-42, Baham 3-27, Hamilton 1-11, Jasmin 1-7, Hall 1-3. N.C. State, Washington
6-76, McLendon 5-22, Hall 4-27, Williams 3-33, Cotchery 2-55.

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