College Football in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, September 10, 2001
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Discover Bonuses in Big Easy;
South Carolina Still 'Cock of the Roost
East Carolina coach Steve Logan said after the 21-19
season-opening loss to Wake Forest that it’s difficult to tell what you’ve
just seen about the relative abilities of teams after their first game.
A week later and a 51-24 Conference USA win over Tulane
behind them, the Pirates look much more like the team they were thought to
be. The qualifying factor is that all three of the Green Wave’s opponents
have looked good against their green defense.
Generally it was a good week for the Carolinas’ Division I-A
N.C. State finally got its season started and did so in
impressive fashion with a 35-14 win over Indiana.
South Carolina maintained its top ranking in the State Line
Power Rankings with a late score to win at Georgia, 14-9.
Clemson and Wake Forest earned victories and respect for
their I-AA foes.
North Carolina got a lesson in big-time football from Texas
and former Tar Heels coach Mack Brown.
And poor Duke. Victory avoids the Blue Devils like they were
door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen.
Let’s look at the rankings and the teams individually.
State Line Power
1. South Carolina ... Phil Petty knows how to celebrate a
birthday under the lights and between the hedges.
2. Clemson ... Wofford’s single wing lives on in Death Valley.
3. Wake Forest ... Deacons show some resilience in coming back
to beat Appalachian State.
4. East Carolina ... Now that’s more like it.
5. N.C. State ... Opening performance worth the wait for
6. North Carolina ... Way overscheduled.
7. Duke ... Close, but no victory cigar.
UPDATING THE CAROLINAS
The Pirates came back from New Orleans with what they went
there for, a 1-0 record in C-USA. But there were also some bonuses procured
in the Big Easy.
The offense showed depth and talent, and received a needed
confidence boost. The defense made big plays. Turnovers — four for Tulane
and none for the Pirates — were an important stat and reflected ECU’s
efficiency on both sides of the ball.
Marvin Townes showed great promise as a successor to Keith
Stokes in the return game.
Coach Steve Logan talked about Townes last year in whispered
tones when his teammates had difficulty tackling him in practice. “He’s got
some moves you can’t coach,” Logan would say.
Logan had a similar reverence for David Garrard during the
quarterback’s redshirt year. Great ability is not easily concealed.
The schedule set up nicely with the trip to Syracuse’s
Carrier Dome following the game at the Louisiana Superdome. Coach Logan
would have to like the sequential situation in terms of preparation for this
The Pirates will undoubtedly see a better, more physical
football team at Syracuse as well as a larger partisan crowd. But they
have already dealt successfully with a number of the adjustment factors of
playing indoors, going back to the 2000 season-ending bowl triumph in the
Some interesting numbers from the Superdome:
218 yards rushing by Leonard Henry, 539 yards of total
offense, 178 yards in kickoff returns by Townes and eight tackles by senior
inside linebacker Pernell Griffin.
Wait a minute, just eight tackles? After setting a school
record with 24 stops against Wake Forest, Griffin has an almost impossible
standard to live up to. He met Wake’s run-oriented offense head on while
Tulane threw the ball all over the place.
Griffin’s tackle numbers may increase after the Pirate
coaches go through the Green Wave game tape thoroughly. Tackle stats,
especially for visiting teams, are often suspect. Senior cornerback Charlie
Robinson was credited with a team-high 10 tackles by the Tulane stat crew.
A final thought on the Tulane game:
Mostly lost in the big numbers from the Big Easy was the
largely-unheralded college debut of freshman quarterback Paul Troth. A
possible redshirt season was burned, but what was the significance of his
entrance in the bigger picture?
Obviously, Garrard plans to be in the NFL next season so
maybe Logan was saying, ‘This is the next guy. We’re going to start getting
him ready to wear the mantle.’
Troth, who enrolled at ECU in January and already has a
spring practice under his belt, didn’t attempt a pass. He has added about 20
pounds since arriving on campus and Logan has said, “His arms look like a
college quarterback’s now.”
Troth, whose dad, Mike, played for the Pirates, handed off
to Townes for ECU’s final score at Tulane. Maybe that was a glimpse of the
Troth just turned 19 on August 19, but South Carolina
quarterback Phil Petty celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday night in
rare style. Petty delivered a 14-9 Gamecocks victory in the first game in
the series under the lights at Sanford Stadium.
Petty hit wide receiver Brian Scott for a 16-yard score with
1:22 left after the Bulldogs had thrilled a sellout crowd of 86,250 by going
in front on a 27-yard field goal by Billy Bennett with 3:17 left. Scott made
a great individual effort on the winning catch.
As Coach Logan says, “Be prepared to win on the last play.”
Scott’s grab wasn’t the last play but an interception by sophomore
linebacker Jeremiah Garrison, coming back from an opening game suspension,
effectively sealed South Carolina’s first win at Athens since 1993.
Back to back wins over the Dawgs further substantiates the
legitimacy of the Lou Holtz era.
Petty moved the Gamecocks 67 yards on the winning drive and
South Carolina converted three times on third-and-10.
“People always talk about how he’s not the most talented guy
in the world,” said USC offensive coordinator Skip Holtz, Lou’s son, of
Petty. “But if intelligence and playing with heart is talent, then he’s very
Petty sprained his wrist on a hit on the winning touchdown
pass but came back out to take the final snaps as the Gamecocks ran out the
South Carolina’s defense held Georgia without a touchdown,
the first time in 22 games the Dawgs had been so limited. It was the first
time since 1904, a 2-0 South Carolina win, that the Gamecocks had
accompished such a feat against Georgia.
The wing-T offense is so old it’s new, difficult to play
against it because defenses never see it. But Clemson saw it first hand on
Saturday as Wofford ran for 276 yards, including 204 in the first half, in a
38-14 Terriers loss to the Tigers that set new records for frustration
levels for Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.
“I don’t ever want to play a wing-T option team again,”
Herring said. “I would rather schedule the Green Bay Packers.”
Herring is on crutches as he recovers from surgery for a
torn Achilles tendon. Tigers defensive tackle Nick Eason said Herring vented
his feelings on a locker room chalkboard with a crutch at the half.
“He was fired up mad, red,” Eason said. “Spit everywhere.”
Wofford led 14-7 early in the second quarter.
“I would have liked to shut them out but they got 14
points,” said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. “If a team like that gets behind,
they’re going to run the ball regardless, that’s their style. You’re always
going to give up a lot of rushing yards because, even if they’re down by 30,
they’re going to run the ball.”
Clemson had 483 yards of total offense, including 207 yards
passing by quarterback Woodrow Dantzler. The Tigers are 34-0-1 in their
history when they have over 200 yards rushing and over 200 yards passing.
The physicality of the Terriers was evident as Clemson
released a list on Sunday of six Tigers players injured in the Wofford game.
Four of those, including star safety Eric Sampson, are questionable for this
week’s game with Duke.
The Deacons were on shaky ground after turning the ball over
twice inside their 20 and falling behind Appalachian State 10-3 in the
Then the Mountaineers, ranked No. 3 in Division I-AA and
winners of three of their last four at Wake, drove from their 49 for a first
down at the Deacs’ 17.
But Wake’s defense made a stand, the Apps missed a 29-yard
field goal attempt, and James MacPherson drove Wake for a field goal to get
within 10-6 as the first half closed.
Wake defensive end Nate Bolling told his teammates not to
panic at the break and the Deacons didn’t, rallying with two third-quarter
touchdowns, the go-ahead score coming on a 23-yard pass from Anthony Young
to Fabian Davis.
“We played hard and intense at East Carolina but not a lot
of our fans saw us play,” said first-year Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe. “The
thing we didn’t want to do was stump our toe in front of the home crowd.”
The Wake fans ultimately liked what they saw.
Grobe remains committed to his two-quarterback system for
the time being. Tarence Williams ran for 116 yards on 25 carries and the
Deacons defense limited the Apps to just 95 total yards in the second half.
ASU was beset by seven penalties in the second half for 66 yards.
“They took advantage of our mistakes,” said ASU coach Jerry
Moore. “We played hard, but we were just too inconsistent on offense and
penalties just took us out of it. Those were just about impossible to
Grobe said his team kept their heads up despite the early
“The thing I’m most proud of about this team is that they
like to play and they will play you hard,” Grobe said.
There are no more games scheduled between Appalachian and
Wake, a series that began in 1975 and led 14-7-1 by the Deacons. Grobe was
candid about his reasons for not wanting to play the Mountaineers.
“You’ve got to understand my motivation,” said the Wake
coach. “I don’t want them on the schedule because they’re a great football
The Wolfpack looked good before a national audience on ESPN
in its 35-14 win over visiting Indiana.
With Antwaan Randle El rendered a virtual non-factor by his
move to receiver, the Hoosiers didn’t score until less than six minutes were
Randle El looked very un-Heisman like with just 67 yards
rushing and receiving combined. He did complete one pass for seven yards.
“We showed some quickness up front,” said NCSU coach Chuck
Amato. “We subbed a lot to keep people fresh. Our linebackers chased well as
The Pack coach cited the defensive efforts of junior college
transfers Terrance Martin, Terrance Chapman and Shawn Price.
State’s 21-0 halftime lead was helped by two blocked punts
that led to nine points as the Pack continued to make things happen with
that dimension of special teams play.
Philip Rivers opened his sophomore season by completing 22
of 33 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, including a 55-yarder to
Bryan Peterson in the third quarter and two scores to tight end Willie
“We came in thinking we could dominate,” Wright said. The
Pack should be thinking the same thing this Thursday night against Ohio.
The methodical manner in which Texas decimated the Tar Heels
was impressive and in stark contrast to the emotion-based effort that
Oklahoma displayed earlier in the season against UNC.
UNC was effectively out of the game after tying the score at
14 with 12:40 left in the first half. Texas was just getting started. Mack
Brown has done much of the same thing he did in Chapel Hill, recruit
excellent personnel and rely on talent.
Young offensive line, inconsistent play at quarterback, and
a defense that’s on the field too long — the themes have recurred in UNC’s
After a likely win over SMU this week in Coach John
Bunting’s first home game, the schedule intensifies again with Florida State
visting Chapel Hill and the Heels going to Raleigh to play State before ECU
visits on Oct. 6.
The Blue Devils battled valiantly at Rice but a two-point
run try with 1:36 left was stopped and Duke was left on the short end of a
15-13 score for its 14th straight loss.
Chris Douglas provided a bright spot in the loss with 30
carries for 112 yards.
Duke outgained the Owls, coached by former Clemson mentor
Ken Hatfield, 328 yards to 270 but the Devils had three turnovers to one for
Duke regained possession with 40 seconds remaining but D.
Bryant was intercepted by Greg Gatlin with 24 seconds left.
Bryant finished with 15 completions in 25 attempts for 189
yards with the lone, late pick. His 3-yard scoring pass to Nick Brzezinski
pulled Duke within 15-13.
Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.
Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville
08/05/2007 02:33:50 AM