College FB
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  Saturday, Sep. 2 6:00pm ET
Citadel only crosses midfield once

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Woodrow Dantzler was almost perfect Saturday night, completing 16 of 17 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns in Clemson's 38-0 victory over The Citadel.

But Dantzler said there are still things he and the Tigers (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) need to work on after winning their season opener.

"I made a couple of bad reads out there, and there are things I could have done," Dantzler said. "I'm not looking at the completions out there. I'm looking at the things I didn't do."

Dantzler led Clemson's first-string offense in a dominating performance. The Tigers scored on five of six possessions when Dantzler was at quarterback, but sputtered with Willie Simmons and Matt Schell at the helm, failing to score.

"The first-team offense did pretty good," said offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. "I'm very disappointed with the second-team offense and reserves. I thought we were very average."

Still, the first-team offense and a dominating defense were enough to give Clemson its first shutout since Oct. 10, 1998, when the Tigers beat Maryland 23-0.

Citadel crossed midfield only once, on a fourth-quarter punt return. The Bulldogs attempted a 36-yard field goal with two minutes left, but Brice Stefanick's kick went wide right.

"I want to congratulate a very good Clemson football team," Citadel coach Don Powers said. "They controlled the tempo of the game from the beginning. That was our only hope -- to control the tempo early."

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden acknowledged that the Bulldogs, a Division I-AA team, were overmatched. Still, he said, he was impressed by his teams performance on defense.

"The defensive staff and the defensive team just did a tremendous job," Bowden said.

"The competition level will elevate next week, and then elevate on down the line. But this is a good starting place. If your objective is to lead the (Atlantic Coast Conference) in points allowed, which to me is the most important statistic, than a zero is the best way to start, regardless of the competition."

Citadel's most impressive performance came from linebackers Denny Haywood, who had 14 tackles, and Travis Stephens, who had a career-high 13 tackles.

The Tigers scored on their first four possessions, and Dantzler connected on his first nine passes for 114 yards. After overthrowing Rod Gardner on a long third down late in the second quarter, Dantzler threw complete on his last seven attempts.

Travis Zachery set up Clemson's first scoring drive with a 52-yard carry -- the longest of his career -- on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage.

"I saw they overran, so I just ran my blocks, cut back and kept going," Zachery said of the run. "I was winded a little bit, and I got caught."

Clemson scored three plays later, going up 7-0 on an 8-yard run by Bernard Rambert.

The Tigers scored again, going up 14-0, when a wide open Zachary caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Dantzler with 6:13 to go in the first quarter.

Clemson linebacker Chad Carson forced Citadel's Maurice Murphy to fumble on the next possession, with the Tigers' Gary Childress recovering on the Citadel 31-yard line. Five plays later, Dantzler found Jackie Robinson for a 14-yard touchdown pass, putting the Tigers up 21-0 with 3:06 left in the quarter.

A 16-play, 87-yard drive -- Clemson's longest scoring drive -- ended with Aaron Hunt kicking a 22-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 24-0. Dantzler began the drive by narrowly escaping a safety, running for 9 yards after slipping two tackles in the end zone.

Safety Charles Hafley set up Clemson's only second-quarter score when he intercepted Joe Call's pass with 3:28 left in the half. Five plays later, Morgan Woodward barreled over tacklers on a 36-yard touchdown reception from Dantzler, putting the Tigers up 31-0 going into halftime.

The Tigers got one more chance when a high snap forced Citadel punter Travis Zobel to run the ball. Clemson got the ball on Citadel's 27, but a penalty for illegal use of hands pushed the Tigers out of field-goal range, and the Tigers lost the ball on downs.

Clemson opened the second half with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Zachary's 2-yard run, putting the Tigers up 38-0 with 10:34 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers have won 14 straight against The Citadel, which last won in 1931. It was the first meeting between the two teams since 1986.

The win was Clemson's 35th straight against a Southern Conference opponent, dating to Oct. 23, 1952, when South Carolina -- now a Southeastern Conference member -- beat the Tigers 6-0.

Clemson had its first preseason ranking since 1997 and its highest preseason ranking since 1992, when the Tigers started at No. 13 (AP).

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