Originally created 12/29/96

LSU runs by Clemson in Peach Bowl



ATLANTA - Not even orange pants could save Clemson.

Matt Padgett's 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 1:10 remaining in the game and LSU defeated Clemson 10-7 in the Peach Bowl on Saturday night.

Clemson had won eight straight games clad in all orange, but couldn't muster any offense other than tailback Raymond Priester and ended its season at 7-5 before 63,622 fans at the Georgia Dome.

Padgett, a baseball player who walked on to the football team, had never before attempted a kick longer than 50 yards and was only 2-for-4 from 40-plus yards. He missed a 37-yard field goal in the regular-season finale loss to South Carolina.

No. 17 LSU finished its season at 10-2 and ended the Atlantic Coast Conference's four-game winning streak since the Peach Bowl adopted its current format of matching teams from the SEC and ACC.

Priester came into the game needing only 56 yards to become Clemson's all-time leading rusher, and he reached that milestone on a 34-yard run in the second quarter.

It gave him 59 yards for the game to that point and 2,918 for his career, surpassing Kenny Flowers, who had 2,914 from 1983-86.

Priester finished the first half with 91 yards on only 14 carries, but fumbled on his next carry after breaking the record, ending a drive at the LSU 33-yard line.

He finished with 151 yards on 25 carries, and in addition to becoming the school's leading rusher, broke the single-season mark he set last year and set a new school record for career 100-yard games with 12.

He now has 3,010 career yards.

Other than Priester, Clemson had little offensively.

Clemson had 10 possessions through the first three quarters and half lasted just three plays, counting the short scoring drive.

Punter Kevin Laird was the Tigers' best weapon. He set a Peach Bowl record with seven punts inside the 20, keeping LSU backed up for much of the game.

With tailbacks like Priester and LSU's Kevin Faulk, who led the SEC in rushing yards, it's easy to see why both teams led their respective conferences in rushing.

However, it took a quarter before either team could do anything offensively, and Clemson benefited from a big defensive play for its only score of the first half.

Near the end of the first quarter, Clemson defensive end Trevor Pryce sacked LSU quarterback Herb Tyler and jarred the ball loose in the process.

Linebacker Harold Means picked up the ball and rumbled to the LSU 9 before being brought down.

Two runs moved the ball to the 5 and Clemson quarterback Nealon Greene dropped back to pass. He rolled to his left, couldn't find anyone open and scrambled to his right, reaching the end zone for the lead.

If the Tigers gained any momentum from that score, it didn't show.

LSU came right back, going 80 yards in seven plays to tie the game at 7-7 when Faulk scored from 3 yards out.

Tyler was huge on the drive, rushing for 14 yards on the final play of the first quarter and hitting passes of 19 and 31 yards, the second giving the Tigers a first down at the Clemson 7.

LSU took the lead on its next drive, going 77 yards in 10 plays, but settling for a 22-yard field goal by Wade Richey when Tyler's 1-yard plunge was negated by a procedure penalty, forcing the field goal.

Pryce came up with another big play in the third quarter when he blocked Richey's 40-yard field goal attempt. It was the first blocked kick for the Tigers this season.