College Football in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, September 24, 2001
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Truth Stranger than
It's Not Easy to Be a Bowden
If there was a theme to a stunning weekend of college
football in the Carolinas, it was “Beat the Bowdens.”
North Carolina pulled the ultimate shocker in its first home
game in the John Bunting coaching era. Not only did the Tar Heels beat
traditional ACC kingpin, Florida State, they flat out humiliated the
“I haven’t even got a speech for this,” said FSU coach Bobby
Bowden, whose team has played in the national championship game the last
“They got what they deserved — a win — and we got what
we deserved — a loss. ... I didn’t see anything that resembled poise. I
didn’t see any execution. I think it was a complete breakdown.”
Carolina used five FSU turnovers to advantage. The win over
the No. 6 Seminoles equaled the highest ranked team the Heels had ever
beaten, dating back to a 7-6 win over then-No. 6 Duke in 1960.
The 32-point margin of victory combined with FSU’s 65-14 win
in Tallahassee last season marked the biggest point swing over two games —
83 points — in the history of the ACC.
FSU dropped to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll, its
lowest ranking since 1989.
After Papa Bowden’s team got worn out on the road, son Tommy
Bowden’s Clemson Tigers lost a heartbreaker at home, 26-24 to Virginia on a
one-yard pass with one second left.
Some Tigers appeared to be expecting Virginia quarterback
Bryson Spinner to spike the ball to stop the clock when he hit Billy
McMullen on a fade route.
“I think we caught them off guard a little bit,” Spinner
What’s really tough to spin is the State Line Power
Rankings© after this weekend’s improbable outcomes. Give me something easy
to figure out like a Rubix cube or a Dade County election ballot.
You know it’s a tight pack when the No. 6 team has a win
over No. 2. We do know that South Carolina is No. 1 and Duke is No. 7.
In between, the water is kind of muddy, but here goes:
State Line Power
1. South Carolina ... Two straight SEC road wins keep
Gamecocks kings of the hill.
2. East Carolina ... A win over William & Mary moves Pirates up with losses
by Clemson and Wake Forest.
3. N.C. State ... Not so impressive against SMU but still 2-0.
4. North Carolina ... Heels are 1-3 but that 1 is very big.
5. Clemson ... Heisman candidate Woodrow Dantzler had three turnovers versus
Virginia. Heisman candidate?
6. Wake Forest ... Defense allowed big plays against Maryland.
7. Duke ... Loss streak reaches 15 against Northwestern.
If the schedule had not been interrupted, the Pirates would
be coming up on an open date before going to Chapel Hill to play UNC on Oct.
6. Instead, there’s a trip to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse this
ECU was effective in the third quarter in a 38-23 win over
William & Mary, outscoring the Tribe 21-3, but the Pirates will need to step
it up with the next three games on the road.
One promising aspect is the running game with Leonard Henry,
Art Brown and Marvin Townes operating behind a veteran offensive line. As
coach Steve Logan said Saturday, if you can establish the running game there
is some big play potential with the play-action passing dimension of the
Syracuse’s power running game, led by back James Mungro,
will be a challenge for the Pirates. The Orangemen were impressive in a
31-14 win at home against Auburn on Saturday night.
Mungro had 106 of the Orangemen’s 247 rushing yards last
year in a 34-17 loss to the Pirates in Greenville. Mungro ran for 146 yards
on 23 carries against the War Eagles.
As a team, the Orangemen had 52 rushes for 226 yards while
completing just six of 15 passes.
“They’re bending, but they aren’t breaking,” Logan said of
the Pirates’ defense after the William & Mary game. “We have some gap
control problems that Coach (TIm) Rose (defensive coordinator) is concerned
about, but that’s correctable.
"We’re not giving up explosion plays. ... We’ve been playing
some beautiful red-zone defense.”
The punting of Jarad Preston has enhanced field position.
The transfer averaged 50 yard on four punts against W&M.
David Garrard, who became ECU’s career passing yardage
leader on Saturday, provided big plays in the passing game last year against
The Orangemen have won two straight at home, taking some
heat off of Coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was roundly criticized after losses
to Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
The hope is that ECU will not come out of what will be a
physical game with Syracuse with injuries that could affect subsequent
performance as last year when inside linebacker Pernell Griffin was out for
three games with an MCL ailment due to a cut block by the Orangemen in the
The Gamecocks have just four road games this season and two
of those, trips to Georgia and Mississippi State, are out of the way and in
the win column. Those victories marked the first time that South Carolina
has won back-to-back road games against ranked teams.
There’s talk that the Gamecocks will be 7-0 when they visit
Tennessee on Oct. 27. They have to get by Alabama in Columbia this week.
“That’s a popular topic among fans,” said South Carolina
offensive coordinator Skip Holtz. “That we could get to 7-0. But we’re
focusing on getting better game by game. You can’t overlook anybody in the
Linebacker Kalimba Edwards seems to have the situation in
“We don’t look at ourselves as favorites,” Edwards said. “We
see ourselves as underdogs no matter who we play. But once we get out on the
field, it doesn’t matter anyway. The only thing that matters is who plays
well and who executes.”
Back-up quarterback Corey Jenkins gave the Gamecocks some
productive mobility as USC became only the second visiting team to win at
Mississippi State in 19 games.
Larry Gatlin will sing the national anthem before the
Alabama game and firefighters, policemen and rescue personnel will be
honored at halftime.
USC has scheduled Division I-AA Wofford on Nov. 3 to replace
the canceled Sept. 15 game with Bowling Green.
It wasn’t pretty but a 26-17 win at SMU still looked good to
NCSU coach Chuck Amato.
State trailed 17-16 in the fourth quarter and the Mustangs
had an edge statistically, 18-17 in first downs and 316-288 in total yardage
for the game.
SMU had lost decisively to Louisiana Tech and TCU this
season and was drummed 41-0 by the Pack last year in Raleigh.
“The object of the game is to win,” said Amato after State
improved to 2-0. “Look at what happened to Clemson and Florida State. The
way football is anymore with parity and the 85 scholarships, anything can
happen. We’ll take it even though it wasn’t pretty by any means.”
State recovered a loose ball in the SMU end zone for a
touchdown that provided a 26-17 lead with 3:32 left. Mustangs quarterback
Kelan Luker tried to lateral the ball in the end zone after
a blindside hit by Pack defensive end Corey Smith. The ball bounced off of
referee Jack Childress before NCSU defensive end George Anderson controlled
the loose ball for the decisive score.
State had just 73 yards rushing in the game. Linebacker
Levar Fisher continued a stellar career with 10 tackles.
The Pack hosts Carolina on Saturday at noon.
“We’ve got to get better every week,” Amato said. “We can’t
continue to do this. We really can’t. But the kids believe in themselves and
they believe they can get things done if they have to.”
Defensive end Julius Peppers said the Tar Heels were
confident going into the Florida State game.
“A lot of people didn’t expect this from us,” he said. “A
lot of people didn’t think we were able to pull it off. But we believe in
ourselves as a team. In the locker room before the game we all thought we
were going to win the game. That’s what we came out and did.
“We just stayed behind each other and trusted each other.”
As the game progressed and UNC went ahead to stay in the
third quarter on a 52-yard pass play from back-up quarterback Darian Durant
to Chesley Borders, FSU’s inexperience became apparent.
The Seminoles never seemed to recover from a holding call
that wiped off a 85-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Chris Rix
in the third quarter.
“They couldn’t do the things they usually do against us,”
Peppers said. “It gets frustrating because they’re not used to being in a
close game like that in the regular season and the ACC. We figured if we
could keep it close with them, then maybe they’ll start doing things they’re
not used to doing.”
The Heels outscored FSU 34-0 in the second half — proof, as
they say, that truth is stranger than fiction.
Bunting’s decision to go with a two quarterback system,
Durant and senior Ronald Curry, produced results that seemed too good to be
The beauty of the upset is that it looks like there will be
a little suspense for the ACC championship for a change.
The Tigers came back from a 20-10 deficit with eight minutes
left in the third quarter to lead 24-20 with 12:36 left.
Dantzler lost a fumble with under five minutes remaining at
the Clemson 34. A punt exchange left the Cavaliers in good field position
for the winning drive.
“I take responsibility,” Dantzler said. “If I hadn’t
fumbled, they wouldn’t have gotten it back.”
Virginia didn’t risk kicking an extra point after a 15-yard
penalty for celebrating, a good move considering a blocked kick could have
been returned for two points that would have tied the score. ECU lost 23-22
at Alabama in 1998 on such a return of a blocked conversion kick.
“There’s still a lot left on the table,” said Coach Bowden.
But the Tigers face a must-win situation at Georgia Tech on
Saturday or their ACC title hopes will be pretty much over.
Talk about setting the tone.
Maryland’s Bruce Perry ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the
first play from scrimmage and added a 50-yard scoring run as the Terps won
the matchup of 2-0 teams, 27-20. Perry finished with 276 yards rushing.
“Not only is he fast, he’s shifty,” said Deacons linebacker
Ed Kargbo-Okorogie of Perry. “It takes a whole team to tackle him.”
Wake, which trailed 17-3 in the second half, had two
possessions after cutting the lead to 27-20 on a 42-yard pass from James
MacPherson to Jason Anderson with 6:54 left, but the Deacons lost the ball
once on downs and then on an interception in the end zone with 39 seconds
“We made too many mistakes to beat a good team,” said
first-year Deacons coach Jim Grobe.
Wake has an unenviable task of playing at Florida State on
The Blue Devils were tied 7-7 before No. 16 Northwestern got
rolling for a 44-7 victory in Durham.
“We got a score in the first quarter,” said Duke tight end
Mike Hart of a 6-yard touchdown pass from D. Bryant. “It was a nice pass.
Emotions were high and we were ready to give them a hard game. It just went
sour from there.”
Duke coach Carl Franks saved a man from drowning in Falls
Lake on Friday. The driver of a sport utility vehicle who had apparently had
a seizure was pulled from the partially submerged vehicle by the Blue Devils
Duke visits Virginia on Saturday.
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02/23/2007 01:03:07 AM