CLEMSON, S.C. - When Clemson coach Tommy Bowden recruited heralded freshman wide receiver Roscoe Crosby, he promised that he would give him the first play of the 2001 season if Crosby would sign with the Tigers.
Bowden lived up to his promise as quarterback Woodrow Dantzler tossed a 12-yard shovel pass to Crosby in the backfield on Clemson's first play from scrimmage.
"I figured we couldn't go wrong on the play - if he dropped it, it would go as an incomplete pass," Bowden said.
A two-sport star selected in the 59th round by the Kansas City Royals in the major league baseball amateur draft this year, Crosby used his baseball skills to haul in a sliding 19-yard grab on the Tigers' second possession of the game.
His longest catch was a 33-yarder from Dantzler in the third quarter. The freshman finished with 64 yards on three catches and led the team in receiving.
"I hope the next wideout we had on campus today will see the exact same thing," Bowden said.
Clemson's other highly touted freshman wideout, Airese Curry, got into the game but didn't catch any passes.
BACK TO FORM: Dantzler showed no ill effects of last season's ankle injury that severely hampered the Clemson quarterback in the Tigers' last four games.
The senior Heisman Trophy candidate zipped and zagged through holes created by his offensive linemen and when Dantzler wasn't running, he fired bullet-like passes at his wide receivers.
He started Clemson's first drive, completing his first six pass attempts and finished with 154 yards passing while rushing for 80 yards.
Dantzler entered the game with 1,700 career yards and needed just 38 to become the school's all-time quarterback career rushing leader. The senior picked up 46 and broke Steve Fuller's record of 1,737 yards (1975-78). Dantzler now has 1,746 career rushing yards.
HE SAID IT: After Bowden told reporters that he promised Crosby the first play of the 2001 season if he'd sign with the Tigers, a reporter asked the Clemson coach what kind of promise he'd make to a defensive recruit.
"I'd tell him 'See, it looks like you might play pretty early in the secondary,"' Bowden said, referring to his defensive unit that surrendered 297 passing yards against Central Florida.
THE BIG 4-OH: It seems every time running back Travis Zachery touches the ball, he sets some kind of record. The Marietta, Ga., native scored his school-record 40th touchdown on Saturday when he caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dantler on Clemson's opening possession.
The receiving touchdown was No. 7 for Zachery.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT: Sophomore Jeff Scott, the son of offensive coordinator Brad Scott, doesn't mind holding kicks on PATs or field goals, especially when Clemson coaches call for a fake.
Scott scored on a 22-yard touchdown run in Saturday's contest when the Tigers lined up for a field goal in the third quarter. In his career, the sophomore has three rushing attempts for 40 yards, all coming on fake field goal attempts.
NOTES: Former North Augusta standout T.J. Watkins had a fumble recovery in the game, keeping alive the Tigers' third touchdown drive when he pounced on Zachery's fumble at the UCF 33-yard line. ... Central Florida was 4-of-4 on third-down conversions on its second quarter scoring drive. ... Redshirt freshman Derrick Hamilton made his first career catch a big one, snagging a 16-yarder on third down to give Clemson a first down in the second quarter. ... Before missing a 48-yard attempt in the second quarter, UCF kicker Javier Beorlegui had connected on 10 straight field goals. ... Clemson punter Wynn Kopp, a Georgia transfer, boomed six punts for a 43.8-yard average in his debut. The junior had a long of 55 yards.
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com