Woody Dantzler Answers Critics

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON -- Well, what do you think of Woody Dantzler now?

The senior quarterback, maligned by some fans and media for his inability to win the big one, won what coach Tommy Bowden called the biggest Clemson road victory in the last 20 years.

How did Dantzler do it? How did he lead his Tigers to a heart-stopping 47-44 win at No. 9 Georgia Tech, the schools first road victory over a Top 25 opponent since 1997?

He did it with his arm. He did it with his legs. He did it with his heart. He did it with his brain.

He did it with his faith.

Faith in teammates, faith in his own ability and - most importantly - faith in God.

Once it was over, with the celebration still going strong following his game-winning 11-yard quarterback draw in overtime, Dantzler had his priorities in order.

"I have to give it all to God," he said. "He gave me strength to make it through."

Some might view the statement as self-serving, but Dantzler has long been anything but. His normal mode of operation is to shun media attention when possible, but when cornered to spend more time talking about the accomplishments of others than himself.

While frustrating to those writing about Clemson on a daily basis, it is a testament to his faith. And that faith - not to mention faith returned by his teammates and coaching staff - was the chief cause of Saturday's unthinkable upset of the Yellow Jackets.

The numbers alone are impressive: 254 yards passing and two touchdowns, 164 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Need a first down? Woody to the right, or maybe up the middle. Need a game-saving touchdown pass with less than two minutes to go? Why, there's Woody rolling to his right and finding McKelvey racing free down the sideline for 63 yards.

For all the problems he's had winning the big one, when he finally did, it was one for the ages.

Now, all that will be expected of Dantzler is to do it again. And again. And again.

With a defense still trying to find its groove, much more pressure is going to be dumped on the broad shoulders of the Clemson quarterback.

After Saturday, one gets the feeling it will be a welcome burden.

As long as he doens't have to answer a lot of questions.

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