College Football in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, September 3, 2001
By Al Myatt
Pirate Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Coaching Matters at Wake;
Gamecocks Still No. 1
With the arrival of September, what did we learn about
college football in the Carolinas?
We learned that coaching does make a difference. Wake
Forest looked vastly improved under new boss Jim Grobe in a 21-19 upset of
The point was emphasized that the Pirates generally aren’t
successful when they don’t run effectively.
We learned that North Carolina has serious offensive
problems based on a 23-7 loss at Maryland.
It was confirmed that Duke will struggle if a 55-13 loss
to Florida State is an indication.
And judging from South Carolina’s relative ease in a 32-13
win over Boise State and Clemson’s difficulty in getting past Central
Florida 21-13, we have the teams south of the border slotted in the right
order at the top of the
State Line Power Rankings©.
Hard to grasp that Wake is the best team in the state of
N.C., but we did have ECU in that spot and the Deacons edged them on the
road. And since we still don’t have a reading on N.C. State. ...
Al Myatt's State Line
Power Rankings© 
South Carolina ... Phil Petty’s nice day (18 of 25, 220
yards, 2 TDs) ends a 7-game win streak for Boise State.
Clemson ... Woodrow Dantzler —152 yards passing and 46
rushing — those aren’t Heisman numbers.
Wake Forest ... Will Wake return to earth in time to line
up against Appalachian?
East Carolina ... Disappointment follows a dismaying loss
to the Deacons.
N.C. State ... Coming out of the gate Thursday night
North Carolina ... Tar Heels coach John Bunting is
realizing the difficulty of the task.
Duke ... Still trying.
UPDATING THE CAROLINAS
Pirates coach Steve Logan had issued the warning with the
regularity of a lighthouse beacon — Wake Forest was for real.
Logan knew there was talent in the Deacons program and he
knew that Jim Grobe could direct it. But many fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
may have thought of the Deacons as the program with just one winning season
out of eight under former coach Jim Caldwell.
Even when Wake had a 15-0 lead in the second quarter,
Pirates supporters may have been thinking about the 21-0 deficit that the
Pirates overcame in a 25-24 win over the Deacons in 1997. Maybe not. But
more recent history was at work.
ECU averaged 209.7 yards rushing in its seven regular-season
wins last season but just 77.2 in its four losses. The Pirates netted just
63 yards on the ground in the season opener.
Although ECU accentuated its passing after falling behind,
the Pirates averaged just 2.5 yards per carry and that simply won’t get it
ECU still made clutch plays to have a chance to pull the
Facing third-and-20 at the Wake 42, senior quarterback David
Garrard threw to Terrance Copper for 32 yards and a first down at the Wake
10-yard line. Garrard scored on the next play on an option keeper to the
left side to pull the Pirates within 21-19. Then the Pirates went for a
tying two-point conversion but Garrard was stopped short.
“I was trying to follow the guard,” Garrard said. “I got to
the sideline and they said the pitch was there. I was just trying to make a
Garrard didn’t get another chance to make a play as Wake
used up the clock behind the running of Tarence Williams, who played at
Wilmington Laney and was recruited by ECU.
Logan was pleased with his team’s poise.
“We stayed calm,” he said. “We stayed in the process.”
The Pirates’ objective of winning Conference USA was
unaffected, a mission that begins this week with a trip to Tulane.
“These guys are hurting and I am, too,” Logan said. “But
there’s nothing wrong that a win won’t cure.”
Victory can probably be achieved with better results in the
running game against a defense that is suspect to an extreme — Tulane has
allowed 128 points in two games.
Pirates fans need to remember and believe. Again. ECU’s best
season ever, 11-1 in 1991, started with a loss.
What makes 83,019 people happy in Columbia, S.C. happy?
A South Carolina football victory.
The Gamecocks put smiles on a lot of faces as much-troubled
Derek Watson ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Even Coach Lou Holtz momentarily put down his alarmist
“Our first team played very well offensively and
defensively,” Holtz said. “I’m very disappointed about the way the second
team played. I have to look at the film.”
There was also a missed conversion kick for Holtz to harp
on, but he’s right about one thing.
“I know we’ve got to make giant strides to be prepared for
Georgia,” said the Gamecocks coach.
The Bulldogs chewed up Arkansas State 45-17 in their opener
and will be at home as they look to avenge last year’s 21-10 loss.
Tigers coach Tommy Bowden also cited the need for
improvement as Woodrow Dantzler had a frustrating day and Clemson didn’t
score again after taking a 21-7 lead with 10:36 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve got 10 games to improve and I hope we do improve,”
Bowden said. “We prepared the team for a 60-minute game and that’s pretty
much what it was.
"If you look at Central Florida’s history, whether it be
Nebraska, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss,
they were pretty much true to tune. They come in, have a couple of big games
a year. They’re well coached. They have good skill guys. They had a great
The Knights led 19-17 in first downs and 328-292 in total
yardage although they ran for just 31 yards.
Clemson used a no-huddle offense on its first drive and took
a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Travis Zachery.
Dantzler had a 16-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Jeff Scott, the son of former South Carolina coach and
current Clemson assistant Brad Scott, ran 22 yards for a touchdown on a fake
field goal in the third quarter.
“Jeff Scott did a good job,” Bowden said. “He has brilliant
speed that he inherited from his father. He runs like his mother. That was a
big play. It might have been the winning touchdown. That’s a scholarship
well-invested. Brad Scott and Ron West pretty much schemed that.”
Clemson next hosts the Wofford Terriers. Call the SPCA.
“You don’t get to enjoy wins very long,” said Deacons coach
Jim Grobe as he studied film Sunday of Appalachian and his own team’s
offense in the ECU game.
Grobe alternated quarterbacks Anthony Young and James
MacPherson in Greenville and felt good about their performances.
“We had a fresh guy in there in the fourth quarter mentally
as well as physically,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job with both of
them just running our offense.”
Jax Landfried, a former walk-on, caught the winning
touchdown, a 44-yard pass from Young that put Wake up 21-13 with 7:22 to go.
Kicker Tyler Ashe could have put the Pirates two scores down but he missed
the extra point.
“Embarrassing,” Grobe said.
The Deacons coach said he didn’t think much initially about
the early safety that ultimately accounted for the margin of victory.
“I was disappointed that we fumbled that exchange,” Grobe
said. “We went to sleep. I was more disappointed we turned the football over
and upset with the kids. We talked all week about not making turnovers.”
Wake had moved from its 23 to the ECU 6 on its first
possession when a fumble by Tarence Williams was recovered by Pernell
Griffin of the Pirates at the ECU 2.
Then came the safety.
Garrard in effect threw two forward passes on the same play
from the end zone, a no-no with a two-point penalty in terms of where it
occurred, according to Tommy Hunt, ACC supervisor of officials.
Hunt said the game crew incorrectly termed the call,
“We got a couple of points and they kicked to us which was
pretty good,” Grobe said.
A field goal on the ensuing series put Wake up 5-0.
“The safety looked more important at the end than it did at
the start of the game,” Grobe said.
Led by 162 yards from Williams, Wake totaled 294 yards
rushing at ECU. The Deacons averaged just 150.2 yards rushing per game
during a 2-9 season in 2000.
You would think that senior Ronald Curry probably has to be
significantly better than sophomore Darian Durant to remain the starter at
At some point, Coach John Bunting may look at negligible
differences in the performances of the two and start getting ready for
future seasons. Or he could borrow a page from Jim Grobe’s book and use them
The situation needs some definition to avoid the proverbial
quarterback controversy, which is semi-festering among the faithful who
haven’t yet grown apathetic or turned their attention to the start of
basketball practice next month.
Teammates seem to respond more enthusiastically to Durant,
possibly a response to Curry’s seemingly aloof personality.
The offensive line and the running game must make
coordinator Gary Tranquill feel like the little Dutch boy. Problem is there
appear to more holes to plug right now than he has fingers.
Think Bunting is wishing he was getting ready for the start
of an NFL season? Texas and former UNC coach Mack Brown up next. Austin
isn’t an inviting prospect.
The Blue Devils led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter as
running back Chris Douglas went 78 yards with a pass from D. Bryant to put
Duke on top.
Florida State forced mistakes in Duke’s kicking game and
unleashed a 31-point second quarter to take control.
The Devils showed some more explosiveness in the third
quarter when Ronnie Hamilton returned a punt 68 yards for Duke’s second
Duke had reason to feel encouraged by factors other than
getting its most awesome opponent out of the way. They made some big plays
and actually led the ACC’s best program until 12:01 remained in the first
“Iron out the mistakes and we’ll be fine,” said Duke
linebacker Jim Scharrer, who played minor league baseball in the Atlanta
Duke coach Carl Franks lamented the mistakes that swung
momentum back to the Seminoles. Duke outpassed the Seminoles 194-189.
A trip to Rice this week will be more within the Blue
Devils’ competitive realm.
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