White defeats Orange 30-13 in annual Spring Game in front of record crowd


by - Senior Writer -
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Kyle Parker connected on 13-of-21 attempts, with a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown, and no turnovers.

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gathered his team at mid-field following Saturday’s Spring Game, and told them that once they assembled back together in the fall, he feels like his Tigers have a chance to be a very good football team.

The Tigers came into the spring with a lot of question marks, many of which are still out there, but Saturday’s annual rite showed that, at least for now, they are taking a step in the right direction. The rest of the answers will, of course, come when they line it up against someone in a different helmet.

On Saturday, however, the record 24,000 fans in attendance saw the White defeat the Orange 30-13 on the strength of turnovers and the 171 yards passing by quarterback Kyle Parker, who connected on 13-of-21 attempts, with a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown, and no turnovers.

“We have weathered a lot of storms around here, and today was a new beginning,” Swinney said after the game. “Today was a new beginning. A new chapter in Clemson history. I am very proud of what we got accomplished today. Any time you split your team, and split your staff, different guys calling plays and stuff, you get a little concerned.

“How is it going to look on TV? Are there procedures and penalties, guys jumping offsides, playing sloppy, but I am very pleased with that standpoint. We did not have really any bad penalties, thought the tempo was good, and we caught and threw the ball well. There was a lot of production, and we did a lot of good things up front on both teams.”

The teams traded a couple of first half possessions before denting the scoreboard midway through the first quarter. Parker hit Durrell Barry, who floated free in the left corner of the end zone, on a three-yard scoring pass at the 6:09 mark, capping a drive that saw Parker hit Marquan Jones for a 16-yard pass, Xavier Dye on a 13-yard pass, and then hit Jones again on a 32-yard touch pass down the right sideline, to set up the score.

Three plays later, Crezdon Butler intercepted a Michael Wade pass and rumbled 32 yards into the end zone for a 14-0 White lead.

“That was one of the differences right there,” Swinney said. “Orange is driving and instead of getting just one score, they have to get two scores. We cannot beat ourselves, but on the flip side, on the defense, if you can get pressure and create turnovers, that can be a difference maker for you.”
The Orange responded with two long drives, and Spencer Benton ended both of them with field goals, the first one from 39 yards out, the second one from 29 yards away, to trim the White lead to 14-6.

Richard Jackson hit a 27-yard field goal to put the White up 17-6 with 4:34 remaining in the first half, but Wade led a scoring drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Andre Ellington, who ran an open wheel route into the end zone, and the White led the Orange 17-13 at halftime.

The White got a 32-yard field goal from Jackson to open the second half, extending its lead to 20-13, and the first drive for the Orange ended with a Willy Korn interception in the red zone.

Parker then led the White on a long scoring drive, showing his versatility by completing a shovel pass, a toss pass over a linebacker’s head on the sideline, then another pass in which he unloaded just before being sacked. The 13-play, 91-yard drive ended on a two-yard run by Parker for a 27-13 lead, and Jackson added a 44-yard field goal late to end the scoring.

Korn finished the day 12-for-25 for 144 yards, but also rushed nine times and looked elusive in the pocket. One rush looked like it might have gone for a 44-yard touchdown, but the official ruled he was touched and was therefore down by contact.

Korn said he thought the day went well for his side of the offense.

“I thought we did a good job moving the ball up and down the field,” Korn said. “We had some problems in the red zone, and we have to make sure we score six points instead of three points when we get down there. It is going to be exciting when we get everybody together. On that one run, I thought that was a quick whistle, but that is something where they have to protect us.”

Rendrick Taylor led the Orange with 48 tough yards on 14 carries, while Ellington added 29 yards on just nine carries. Jones had two catches for 52 yards, while Barry added three catches for 29 yards and the touchdown.
For the White, Jamie Harper had 21 rushes for 83 yards, while Ellington added five catches for 41 yards. Tight end Michael Palmer was also a big part of the offense, with five catches for 86 yards.

In the kicking department, Richard Jackson punted four times for a 45.0 average, while Dawson Zimmerman punted three times for a 42.7 average. Benton hit his only two field goal attempts, while Jackson hit all three of his.

Just a few of the things we learned from the Spring Game and spring practice were:

*Rendrick Taylor, who has battled injuries throughout his Clemson career, proved he could be a valuable asset for the Tigers in the fall. He has the ability to block and catch, but also showed bursts of toughness while moving the pile on several running plays. He could be the tonic for some of the short-yardage problems the Tigers have had over the past couple of season.

*Sophomore defensive end Da’Quan Bowers is going to be a force to be reckoned with. He consistently showed a different level this spring, and looked like a man on a mission. He could put up some monster numbers if he stays healthy.

*Quarterback Kyle Parker has the arm strength to make all the throws. He also has the ability to make plays after the protection breaks down. His downfield vision enables him to make strong throws while on the run.

*Quarterback Willy Korn, who continues to improve his mechanics following his December shoulder surgery, showed flashes of being able to be a threat running out of the backfield. While Korn won’t remind anyone of Woody Dantzler, he definitely has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm.

*The linebacking corps looks much improved over last season. Scotty Cooper, Kavell Conner and Brandon Maye all showed playmaking ability throughout the spring, and Conner was in on several plays on Saturday. Maye now looks the part of a physical linebacker, and said that he is embracing the role of being the quarterback on defense. All in all, the defense looks to be strong next season.

*The receivers also stepped up during the spring, with Jacoby Ford, Terrence Ashe and Xavier Dye looking to hold down the top three spots heading into fall camp. However, Brandon Ford (who must improve his downfield blocking), Brandon Clear and Marquan Jones will all vie for time out wide.

*The running game also looked sharp at times on Saturday against what we know will be a stout defense, which means the offensive line that struggled last season might actually be a strength in 2009.



Clemson Spring Football Game Statistics



Scoring Summary

W—Barry 3 pass from Parker (Jackson Kick), 9-72 at 6:09 of 1st

W—Butler 32-yard interception return (Jackson Kick), at 5:14 of 1st

O—Benton 39 FG, 9-44 at :50 of 1st

O—Benton 29 FG, 13-57 at 8:54 of 2nd

W—Jackson 27 FG, 12-55 at 4:20 of 2nd

O—Ellington 19 pass from Wade (Benton Kick), 7-65 at 2:30 of 2nd

W—Jackson 32 FG, 8-51 at 12:00 of 3rd

W—Parker 2 run, 13-91 at :58 of 3rd

W—Jackson 44 FG 5-11 at :50 of 4th

Attendance : 24,000



Rushing

White: Harper 21-83, Parker 7-27-1, Watson 7-26, M. Jones 1-(-3), Barnes 1-(-1)

Orange: Taylor 14-48, Ellington 9-29, Korn 9-7



Passing

White: Parker 13-21-171-1-0

Orange: Korn 12-25-144-0-2, Wade 4-14-80-1-1



Receiving

White: Barry 3-29-1, M. Jones 2-52, Dye 2-22, B. Ford 2-29, Johnson 2-26, Harper 1-8, Diehl 1-9

Orange: Palmer 5-86, Ellington 5-41-1, Ashe 4-69, J. Brown 1-11, Brandon Clear 1-17



Tackles

White: Thompson 6, Maye 5, Cooper 5, Moore 4, McDaniel 3, Butler 3, Rollins 3, Willard 3,

Orange: Gilchrist 5, Lewis 5, Conner 5, Campbell 5, Jenkins 5, Alexander 4, Chavis 4



Sacks:

White: Bowers 2-13, Cumbie 1-7, Cooper 1-8, Brown 1-1, Moore 1-1, Goodman 1-4, Thompson 1-8

Orange: Alexander 1-7



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