Virginia Tech Takes Out Tigers, 41-20
Travis Zachery was injured catching this 23-yard TD pass from Woody Dantzler. The touchdown was his 18th of the season, a school record.

Virginia Tech Takes Out Tigers, 41-20

by - Correspondent -

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clemson's seniors would have liked to have left in so many other ways than this.

As it is, Clemson officially has the label of a team that has a terrible time when it tries to win a bowl game.

Clemson (9-3) lost its fifth straight bowl game, this time 41-20 to No. 5 Virginia Tech (11-1) in front of 68,741 at the Gator Bowl on Monday.

Virginia Tech gave Clemson's offense plenty opportunities, but the game was over by the third quarter after the Tigers failed to capitalize on any of them.

"It's the last game for a lot of players," said offensive lineman Kyle Young. "We were never able to cash in on defense or on offense."

Two Tech fumbles resulted in just six points when the Tigers needed to score touchdowns both times.

A fumble by Michael Vick in the second quarter gave Clemson the ball at the Tech 13-yard line. Four plays later Aaron Hunt hit a 28-yard field goal.

Clemson was trailing by 17 in the third quarter when a punt went off the facemask of Tech return man Larry Austin at his own 20. Clemson made as far as the 8, but Dantzler overthrew a wide open Morgan Woodward near the goalline on first-and-goal. Hunt kicked a field goal three plays later to cut the lead to 27-13, but Tech stopped giving Clemson opportunities.

"We didn't do a good job in the redzone," said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. "When the other team is making plays and scoring touchdowns, you have to come back with something other than a field goal. Some of our problems were mental, but for the most part they just best us physically when we got into the redzone."

Tech put the game out of reach when fullback Jarrett Ferguson scored on a 5-yard run with 5:14 left in the third quarter that gave the Hokies a 34-13 lead. The touchdown was set up with a 45-yard run by Andre Kendrick. Vick also completed a 7-yard pass to Cullen Hawkins on third-and-five at the Clemson 24.

"Michael Vick made a lot of big plays on throws or nice runs," said Bowden. "We would have had to play our best game and we didn't."

Clemson scored on a 23-yard pass from Dantzler to Rod Gardner, but Tech recovered an on-side kick and scored again on a 5-yard run by Lee Suggs.

"Not being chosen to a BCS bowl was a good motivation for them," said Bowden. "We had to play our best to win and we did not."

The problems for Clemson started early. After Clemson was forced to punt on its first possesion, Clemson snapper Henry Owen skipped the ball back to punter Jamie Somaini, who bobbled the ball before trying to run. He was caught quickly and Virginia Tech too over the ball at the Clemson 23.

On Virginia Tech's next play, Michael Vick threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Ferguson.

Virginia Tech scored again two drives later. The Hokies drove 69 yards in 12 plays No play covered more than ten yards. Vick scored on a 6-yard run with 1:08 left in the first quarter to give Virginia Tech a 14-0 lead.

On third-and-10 at midfield, Dantzler completed a 27-yard pass to Justin Watts. On the next play, Dantzler rolled to the right and threw to Travis

Zachery, who was open on the left side of the field. Zachery ran in for the touchdown that cut the lead to 14-7 with 13:75 left in the first half.

Zachery, however, broke his foot on the play.

Midway through the second quarter, Vick fumbled after being hit in the backfield by Keith Adams. Terry Bryant recovered the fumble at the Tech 13-yard line. Three plays netted two yards before Aaron Hunt kicked a 28-yard fieldgoal with 5:45 left in the half to cut the lead to 14-10.

Tech answered with a touchdown drive. Vick hit Andre Kendrick, who ran wide open down the left sideline, for a 49-yard pass to set up a 3-yard run by Lee Suggs that gave Tech a 21-10 lead with 2:26 left in the half.

"We broke down ourselves," said linebacker Chad Carson. "They were a good team and might have been a better team, but our mistakes hurt us."


(6) Virginia Tech 41, (16) Clemson 20

                   1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH  FINAL

--- --- --- --- -----

Clemson 0 10 3 7 20

Virginia Tech 14 7 13 7 41

First Quarter

VT-Ferguson 23 pass from Vick (Warley kick), 13:23.

VT-Vick 6 run (Warley kick), 1:08.

Second Quarter

Cle-Zachery 23 pass from Dantzler (Hunt kick), 13:34.

Cle-FG Hunt 28, 5:45.

VT-Suggs 3 run (Warley kick), 2:26.

Third Quarter

VT-Suggs 1 run (kick failed), 12:19.

Cle-FG Hunt 26, 7:19.

VT-Ferguson 5 run (Warley kick), 5:14.

Fourth Quarter

Cle-R.Gardner 14 pass from Simmons (Hunt kick), 7:19.

VT-Suggs 5 run (Warley kick), 3:41.

Cle VT

--- ---

First downs 21 19

Rushes-yards 35-88 47-211

Passing 243 205

Comp-Att-Int 21-44-2 10-18-1

Return Yards 0 31

Punts-Avg. 5-38 2-32

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-2

Penalties-Yards 7-50 2-20

Time of Possession 28:24 31:36


RUSHING-Clemson, Dantzler 18-81, Zachery 5-15, Rambert 4-7, Kelly

2-3, team 1-(minus 8), Simmons 5-(minus 10). Virginia Tech, Suggs

20-73, Kendrick 4-52, Ferguson 6-26, Ward 4-24, Vick 9-19,

Burnell 1-6, Hawkins 2-6, Johnson 1-5.

PASSING-Clemson, Dantzler 15-32-1-180, Simmons 6-12-1-63.

Virginia Tech, Vick 10-18-1-205.

RECEIVING-Clemson, R.Gardner 7-94, Watts 4-59, Kelly 3-22,

Robinson 2-25, Zachery 2-25, Rambert 2-14, Youngblood 1-4.

Virginia Tech, A.Davis 2-70, Kendrick 2-55, Wynn 2-27, Ferguson

1-23, Hawkins 1-14, Wilford 1-9, Johnson 1-7.


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