Tigers Win Despite Slow Start Early
Travis Zachery had 53 yards rushing and 1 TD.
CLEMSON - File this one in the "it wasn't pretty but it's a win" category.
Clemson fell behind Division I-AA Wofford 14-7 after a quarter, then scored
the game's final 31 points en route to a 38-14 victory Saturday at Death
Valley. The Tigers operated under an alternating reign of cheers and boos for
most of the afternoon, struggling for much of the first half to slow the
Terriers' run-oriented Wingbone offense.
But in the end the No. 20 team in the nation proved too big, too strong and
too fast for Wofford.
"I'm not proud of the score, but I'm proud of the effort," Wofford coach Mike
Ayers said. "I love the character of our team. The kids have done everything
we've asked of them. We told them 'if you compete, you have a chance,' and
they were never in awe of Clemson."
Bowden, who said all week he was looking for individual improvement against
the Terriers, was hesitant to declare that area a success.
"We have to go look at the film," he said. "It looks like there were missed
tackles. We turned the ball over again. Woody's (interceptions) were tips.
Willie (Simmons) had one, but it was tipped, so we really only had one
fumble. Defensively we got scored on, but the biggest disappointment was the
The Terriers' unique mix of misdirection and option in the running game
befuddled Clemson (2-0) at times. Wofford (0-1) was able to establish the
ground attack in its first series and ran the ball effectively for much of
the afternoon, finishing with 286 yards.
But while pourous at times, the Clemson defense also proved opportunistic and
turned around the game by forcing turnovers on back-to-back second quarter
Defensive tackle Nick Eason's hit on Wilson forced a bad pitch on a
fourth-and-one option play. Safety Eric Meekins scooped up the loose ball and
ran 29 yards for the go-ahead touchdown (17-14) at 13:23.
On Wofford's next possession, Wilson fumbled on a sack by Bryant McNeal, with
Eason recovering at the Terriers' 35. Five plays later, Zachery's one-yard
touchdown run gave Clemson a 24-14 lead.
Clemson finally slowed the Wofford ground attack in the second half, limiting
the Terriers to just 87 yards in the second half after allowing 189 in the
"I would have liked to shut them out, but they got 14 points," Clemson coach
Tommy Bowden said. "If a team like that gets behind, they're going to run the
ball regardless. That's their style of offense. You're always going to give
up a lot of rushing yards because even if they're down by 30, they're going
to run the ball."
Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring wasn't as happy.
"Let's give Wofford credit," said Herring. "They ran the ball hard, they cut
us down, they did a good job. The biggest thing I was disappointed in was we
did not tackle well at all. Wofford took it to us in the first half, they got
after us, and our kids did not respond well.
"But...we shut them out for three quarters, we set up two touchdown on
turnovers and we won the game. We just did not tackle well in the first
half...we didn't play well. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that
"We knew coming into the game that if we didn't control the ball, our defense
would wear down," Ayers said. "We were able to establish the fullback and
that gave them some problems. We knew we had to play hard-nosed football to
Meanwhile, the Tigers offense finally got untracked thanks in large part to
junior wide receiver J.J. McKelvey. Seeing extensive playing time at the 'X,'
or boundary receiver, McKelvey had 8 catches for 73 yards and a pair of
7-yard touchdown catches.
His first scoring reception came at 7:12 of the first quarter and tied the
game at 7-7. His second gave Clemson a 31-14 lead near the end of the third
quarter and effectively robbed Wofford of its Cinderella slipper.
"J.J. McKelvey has been practicing hard, he had a good preseason, he had a
good spring...," Bowden said. "When Kevin Youngblood went down and Roscoe
Crosby has gone down, we needed another guy to step up."
Wofford opened the game by forcing Clemson to turn the ball over on downs,
then responded with a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. The payoff came on a
fourth-and-one play, when tailback Jesse McCoy got to the corner and ran for
a 26-yard touchdown.
Later, Wofford took a 14-7 lead when Travis Wilson found Isaac Goodpaster in
the back of the endzone for a disputed 15-yard touchdown pass. The officials
ruled Goodpaster got one foot down inbounds before falling over the end line.
Replays proved inconclusive.
Clemson 38, Wofford 14
Wofford 7, Clemson 0
Scoring drive: 6 plays, 65 yards in 2:30.
Scoring play: 26-yard run by Jesse McCoy at 9:41.
Key play: McCoy's touchdown run, which came on a fourth-and-one play.
Clemson 7, Wofford 7
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 41 yards in 2:29.
Scoring Play: Woody Dantzler's 7-yard pass to J.J. McKelvey at 7:12.
Key Play: Brian Mance's 57-yard kickoff return to the Wofford 41.
Wofford 14, Clemson 7
Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 38 yards in 2:09.
Scoring Play: Travis Wilson's 15-yard pass to Isaac Goodpaster at 2:16.
Key Play: Fullback Melvin Jones' 3-yard run on third and one from the Clemson
Wofford 14, Clemson 10
Scoring Drive: 10 plays, 42 yards in 2:24.
Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 43-yard field goal at 14:52.
Key Play: None.
Clemson 17, Wofford 14
Scoring Drive: None
Scoring Play: Eric Meekins' 29-yard fumble recovery and run at 13:23.
Key Play: Defensive end Nick Eason's hit on Wofford quarterback Travis
Wilson, forcing a bad pitch.
Clemson 24, Wofford 14
Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 35 yards in 1:39.
Scoring Play: Travis Zachary's one-yard run at 9:41.
Key Play: Fullback Chad Jasmin's 10-yard run to the one.
Clemson 31, Wofford 14
Scoring Drive: 13 plays, 92 yards in 4:14.
Scoring Play: Woody Dantzler's 7-yard pass to J.J. McKelvey at :10.
Key Play: Dantzler's 20-yard completion to Derrick Hamilton on second and 13
from the Clemson 42.
Clemson 38, Wofford 14
Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 49 yards in 1:34.
Scoring Play: Bernard Rambert's 3-yard run at 11:53.
Key Play: Willie Simmons' 23-yard completion to Matt Bailey to the Wofford 8
NCAAF 1 2 3 4 F
- - - - --
Wofford 14 0 0 0 14
Clemson (19) 7 17 7 7 38 FINAL
Wofford-Mccoy 26 run (Brown kick)
Clemson-Mckelvey 7 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
Wofford-Goodpaster 15 pass from T Wilson (Brown kick)
Clemson-FG Hunt 43
Clemson-Meekins 29 fumble return (Hunt kick)
Clemson-Zachery 1 run (Hunt kick)
Clemson-Mckelvey 7 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick)
Clemson-Rambert 3 run (Hunt kick)
First downs 19 29
Rushed-yards 56-276 41-200
Passing yards 36 283
Sacked-yards lost 2-15 4-18
Return yards 23 108
Passes 6-16-0 26-37-2
Punts 6-43.5 1-43.0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 2-16 4-35
Time of possession 32:10 27:50
RUSHING: Wofford-T Wilson 16-86, J Mcnair 10-68, Mccoy 9-58, Me
Jones 14-52, Fogle 4-11, Gaillard 1-1, Mungin 2-0.
Clemson-Dantzler 13-55, Zachery 9-53, Jasmin 8-47, Rambert
10-41, Currie 1-4.
PASSING: Wofford-T Wilson 6-15-0-36, Team 0-1-0-0.
Clemson-Dantzler 21-30-1-207, Simmons 5-7-1-76.
RECEIVING: Wofford-Me Jones 2-6, Goodpaster 1-15, Gaillard 1-7,
Mccoy 1-7, Gilmore 1-1. Clemson-Mckelvey 8-73, Zachery 5-57,
Hamilton 4-55, Robinson 2-29, Rambert 2-12, Bailey 1-23, Scott
1-15, Crosby 1-9, Reames 1-5, Gardner 1-5.