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
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
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
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
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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