Originally created 09/12/99

Clemson's offense overpowers Virginia



CLEMSON, S.C. -- Brandon Streeter shook out the kinks and then disposed of Virginia.

Clemson's quarterback agonized over too many missed opportunities and open receivers in last week's three-point loss to Marshall. Saturday, the resilient senior provided the 65,000 Tigers fans with an offensive display rarely seen at Death Valley.

In his second start for first-year coach Tommy Bowden, Streeter found redemption with a record-breaking performance in the Tigers' 33-14 victory over No. 19 Virginia.

The Cavaliers (1-1, 1-1 ACC) attempted to protect their two freshmen safeties by dropping seven and eight men in coverage. Streeter shredded Virginia's zone defense with pinpoint accuracy to give Bowden his first win as the Tigers' coach.

"After last week, I learned a lot," Streeter said. "I saw open guys a lot better. With this offense, somebody can be open no matter what type of zone defense they give us."

Streeter broke his own Clemson record by throwing for 343 yards on 24-of-32 passing. Last year, he passed for 329 yards against N.C. State in 46-39 loss. The senior completed nine of his first 10 attempts for 105 yards and two touchdowns against Virginia. He connected with eight different receivers, with senior Brian Wofford making eight receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers' (1-1, 1-0 ACC) offense sputtered in the first half last week but had no such problem against the Cavaliers. Scoring on six of their first seven possessions, the Tigers established a third-quarter 33-0 lead.

Wofford recognized Clemson's offense was running at peak efficiency early on with everyone contributing.

"Brandon executed the offense very well," Wofford said. "You never know who's going to catch the ball, that's what keeps defenses off. The main thing we did was doing something with the ball (after the catch)."

Virginia senior tailback Thomas Jones rushed for 97 yards but was not effective allowing the Tigers to stack the line and daring quarterback Dan Ellis to throw the ball. Ellis could not match Streeter's proficiency or the Tigers' offensive production.

While the defense did not record a shutout, it displayed the same consistency that put Clemson in position to win last week. There was no repeat of the letdown the Tigers had defensively against the Thundering Herd, however.

Safety Robert Carswell had 12 tackles and spearheaded Clemson's stifling defensive effort. Wofford's 18-yard touchdown was set up by Braxton Williams, who sacked Ellis and stripped the ball from the 6-foot-2, 207-pounder. Jason Holloman pounced on the ball and the Tigers took possession on the Cavs' 43-yard line.

"We sparked (the offense) and they sparked us," said Carswell, who has 27 tackles in two games. "(Streeter) was in a zone out there today. I saw it in his eyes before the game."

On a day that saw Danny Ford return to Death Valley, Clemson eliminated the self-inflicted wounds that cost them scoring chances last week. The Tigers decreased their illegal procedure calls from five to one and the return of running back Travis Zachery from a one-game suspension supplied Bowden with a competent ground attack.

Bowden's quick-strike offense produced five passing plays of at least 25 yards. Streeter punished Virginia for its reluctance to blitz and Clemson didn't hesitate to bury its ACC foe.

"We executed early," Bowden said. "They had a young secondary and (Virginia) don't like to put them in a dangerous situation. If we weren't throwing and catching there would be no problem, but we were. That was probably the key."

PAW PRINTS:

Clemson inducted former coach Danny Ford into its Ring of Honor. Ford, who led the Tigers to the 1981 national championship, joined basketball great Horace Grant, pitcher Jimmy Key and football players John Phillips and Bubba Brown in the induction class of 1999.

Ford shook current Tigers tight ends coach and former South Carolina coach Brad Scott's hand following the halftime ceremony. ... Sophomore RB Travis Zachery made his return to the Clemson lineup after serving a one-game suspension for violating team rules. Zachery was inserted into the game on the Tigers' fifth offensive play and rushed 12 times for 41 yards. .. . Clemson didn't punt until midway through the fourth quarter. ... Pat Cyrgalis' 15-yard touchdown catch was the first for a Clemson tight end since 1989. ... The victory was Clemson's 200th at Death Valley. ... Saturday's victory ensures the Tigers won't repeat a dubious record set last season. Clemson lost to Virginia, Duke and Wake Forest in the same season for the first time ever in 1998.

REACH

Jimmy DeButts at (706) 823-3216