College Football in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, October 15, 2001
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Gamecocks and Clemson Swap
Berry Forced to Choose His Poison
The dream of an undefeated season is over for South Carolina thanks to a
blocked field goal at Arkansas with 48 seconds left that preserved a 10-7
win for the Razorbacks.
That loss drops the Gamecocks out of the top spot in the State Line Power
Rankings for the first time this season as USC trades places with Clemson, a
45-37 winner at N.C. State.
Tigers quarterback Woodrow Dantzler accounted for an incredible 517 yards
of total offense against the Wolfpack. Dantzler broke a 54-year old Clemson
record for touchdown responsibility with six as he threw for four and ran
for two more.
North Carolina moved its record to 4-3 with its fourth straight win,
30-24 over Virginia, and Wake Forest avoided the power rankings basement
with a 42-35 win over Duke. The Blue Devils are the only team mathematically
eliminated from achieving bowl eligibility at this point.
Changes in the pecking order are called for, so here are this week’s rankings for the seven Division I-A
programs in the Carolinas.
State Line Power
1. Clemson ... It’s not Heisman hype if Woodrow Dantzler plays the rest
of the season like he did at State.
2. South Carolina ... Not many points at Arkansas but a lot of excuses.
3. North Carolina ... This week’s trip to Clemson puts a four-game winning
streak in jeopardy.
4. East Carolina ... Pirates show multi-strike capability at Army.
5. N.C. State ... Two losses at home eliminate Wolfpack from realistic ACC
6. Wake Forest ... Running game has good day at Duke.
7. Duke ... 18 straight losses despite an incredible comeback on Saturday.
Now, let’s take a closer at the teams of the Carolinas and examine the
bowl possibilities of each of them:
Army coach Todd Berry was once offensive coordinator at East Carolina and he
had a great appreciation for the presentation of his successor, Doug Martin,
following a 49-26 Conference USA loss to ECU at home on Saturday.
Pirates quarterback David Garrard completed 12 of 19 passes
for 173 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. ECU running back
Leonard Henry ran 13 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Henry had
scoring runs of 51, 9, and 28 yards as he raised his yards per carry average
to 9.22, the best in the nation. He’s averaging 135.2 yards per game, which
ranks ninth nationally.
“He’s a great player,” Berry said of Henry. “He’s averaging
nine yards per carry. That’s ridiculous. He’s a great player. He’s an NFL
“... Whenever you have a Garrard that can throw it and a
Henry that can run it, they can attack you 53 yards across the field and,
with Garrard’s arm, 70 yards down the field. That’s an awful lot of ground
Berry was an apprentice to Logan when he was developing his
option/pass offense at Tulsa.
“... So, choose your poison,” Berry said. “That’s why
they’re one of the top teams in the nation in scoring offense. That’s why
nobody stops them, because they do the right things and they’ve got great
ECU pushed its scoring average to 34.7 points per game, 18th
nationally among 115 Division I-A teams and tops in C-USA.
The Pirates’ scoring average was enhanced by special teams
and the defense at Army. Free safety Travis Heath returned a fumble caused
by inside linebacker Pernell Griffin 81 yards for ECU’s first touchdown and
outside linebacker John Williamson had a 29-yard pass interception return
for the Pirates’ last score.
In between, freshman Marvin Townes had a 93-yard kickoff
return for a touchdown.
It reminded me of something Pat Dye used to say when he was
coaching at ECU about the difficulty of beating a team that scores on
defense and special teams.
“The difference was the surprise touchdowns,” said Logan,
who, incidentally, stays in touch with Dye.
“Twenty-one points. That’s special.”
Townes is third on the national level in kickoff returns
with a 32.2-yard average. ECU is third nationally in the team standings as
well with a 29.2-yard average thanks primarily to the efforts of Art Brown
when opponents kick away from Townes.
Brown helps with his blocking, too.
“When I caught the ball, I had committed to the inside,”
Townes said of his first touchdown return. “Next thing I know, there was one
guy left and Art was leading me. When he picked that defender off, the hole
was wide open and I hit it. Then I took the ball down the sideline.”
ECU, now 2-0 in the league with Memphis coming in on
Saturday, has the Liberty Bowl berth that goes to the C-USA champion as its
goal. The C-USA champ plays the Mountain West champion at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31
in Memphis on ESPN. Brigham Young and Air Force are each 2-0 currently in
the Mountain West and Utah is 1-0.
Other bowl slots for C-USA teams include the GMAC in Mobile,
Alabama, the Galleryfurniture.com in Houston, and the Motor City in Pontiac,
The GMAC is on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2 and matches a
C-USA team against a Mid-American Conference team. Marshall, Miami of Ohio,
Toledo and Western Michigan are all unbeaten thus far within the MAC, which
has two divisions.
The Galleryfurniture is Dec. 28 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN 2 and
matches C-USA against a Big 12 team. The Motor City, the only trip the
Pirates haven’t made, is Dec. 29 at noon on ESPN 2. It also features C-USA
against a MAC team.
The Tigers came out for the Textile Bowl in some new threads
at N.C. State on Saturday — purple pants.
“The purple makes us unique and different from everyone
else,” said Tigers coach Tommy Bowden, who added, “I think Woody likes
Woody Dantzler ran for 184 yards on 23 carries in his purple
britches at State. He completed an incredible 23 of 27 passes for 333 yards,
without an interception.
ECU wore purple pants, once that I recall in the Steve Logan
era. Once. A 30-0 loss to Illinois in the Liberty Bowl in 1994. They were
later relegated for use in practice.
The Tigers, who host UNC on Saturday, are in the thick of
the running for an ACC bowl slot.
The ACC has berths in the Tangerine Bowl (Orlando, Fla.) on
Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. on a television network to be determined against a Big
East team, the Seattle Bowl on Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. on ESPN 2 against a Pac-10
team, the Peach Bowl (Atlanta) on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN against an
SEC team, the Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) on Jan. 1 at 12:30 p.m. on NBC
against a Big East team, and a slot in the Bowl Championship series.
The BCS bowls include the Fiesta Bowl (Tempe, Ariz.) on Jan.
1 at 5 p.m. on ABC, the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. on ABC,
the Orange Bowl (Miami) on Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. on ABC, and the Rose Bowl for
the national championship on Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz cited lack of communication,
mental and physical mistakes, and penalties as factors in the first loss of
“Some people played well and some didn’t play as well as
they are capable of playing,” Holtz said.
USC quarterback Phil Petty had completed 62 percent of his
passes this season without an interception. He finished 11 of 30 with two
Holtz said his team had trouble adjusting to various
defenses Arkansas presented.
“We kept trying to change our protections and we had trouble
communicating our changes,” said Holtz. “Only one of our sideline phones was
working and it was difficult to maintain the communication that was
necessary on offense.”
A poor practice on Thursday may have foreboded the
“That’s usually an omen of how you’re going to play and
unfortunately it came true,” Holtz said.
Still, South Carolina led 7-3 after a 41-yard touchdown run
by Corey Jenkins early in the second half.
The Razorbacks converted twice on their touchdown drive that
culminated with a 10-yard pass from Zak Clark to Richard Smith with 4:28
left in the third. The toss went through the hands of South Carolina
linebacker Kalimba Edwards and Smith caught it between Gamecocks defenders
Sheldown Brown and Antione Nesmith.
It came down to a 39-yard tying field goal attempt with 48
seconds left. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Curt Davis and Jermaine
Brooks of the Hogs pushed the USC offensive line back on the kick.
“Carlos and Ken (Hamlin) must have jumped 12 feet,” Nutt
“The first half was just a disaster,” Holtz said. “There’s
no other way to describe it. We only had the ball four times in the second
half, and three of those times we had drives of 60 yards or more, but could
only come up with seven points.”
Arkansas had nine minutes more in possession time.
The Gamecocks dropped from No. 9 to No. 16 in the two major
polls. The good news for the Gamecocks (5-1) is that they host Vanderbilt on
Saturday and should become bowl eligible for one of seven SEC postseason
The SEC slot in the BCS isn’t ruled out for the Gamecocks in
theory but they probably couldn’t lose another league game. Other
possibilities are the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.) on Dec. 27 at 8
p.m. on ESPN against a Big 12 team, the Music City (Nashville, Tenn.) on
Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. on ESPN, the Peach Bowl (see above) vs. the ACC, the
(Dallas) on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. on Fox against a Big 12 team, the Outback Bowl
(Tampa, Fla.) on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. on ESPN against a Big Ten team, and the
Citrus Bowl (Orlando) on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. on ABC against a Big Ten team.
The Tar Heels didn’t look like a bowl team at all after
their 0-3 start. But with the four straight wins that have followed, UNC has
kept itself in the hunt for the ACC title.
Heels quarterback Ronald Curry played in a win over Virginia
for the first time as a senior. He is from Hampton, Va. and initially
committed to the Cavaliers.
“I got some bragging rights with my cousin, but other than
that it was just like any other game,” said Curry, who had a 66-yard
touchdown pass to Sam Aiken in the 30-24 win.
UNC’s ground game was more effective than when it managed
just 134 yards against ECU. Andre Williams led the way with a career-best
147 yards on 28 carries.
“It feels good to finally get 100 yards,” said Williams,
whose previous best was 68 yards rushing at N.C. State. “But it’s not me
getting 100 yards, it’s the whole offense. That’s their 100 yards.”
UNC’s margin of victory came as Dexter Reid intercepted a
pass that caromed off of Virginia receiver Kase Luzar and Reid returned it
67 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter.
UNC (4-3) needs three more wins to be bowl eligible this
season since it has 12 games this season. The Tar Heels have road games at
Clemson and Georgia Tech followed by home games with Wake Forest, Duke, and
a make-up date with SMU.
Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato was amazed at Woody Dantzler’s
“I can’t imagine there being a better player in America,”
said the Pack boss. “He had 517 yards of total offense and they had 567 as a
team. There’s no secret to how they win and why they win. He makes big plays
and he breaks tackles.
“We couldn’t tackle him. We must have set a record for
missed tackles on just him alone. He put on a display.”
A knee injury to linebacker Levar Fisher, the 2000 ACC
defensive player of the year, was added cause for concern.
State, a team known for its comebacks since Amato arrived,
was left chasing Dantzler all day.
“We tried a little bit of everything,” Amato said. “... Our
players have got to learn that they just can’t do it in the fourth quarter.”
State (3-2) has little wiggle room to be bowl eligible. Ohio
and Duke are likely suspects for Wolfpack wins. The Pack must get one more
win against a schedule that starts with a trip to Georgia Tech this week.
Virginia comes to Raleigh the following week for a key game to Pack
postseason hopes. A trip to Florida State isn’t promising and although State
plays Maryland in Raleigh, the Terps look like a blossoming Cinderella right
The Deacons got very basic in the latter stages of a
game-winning drive against Duke. Straight-ahead blocking and the purposeful
running of Fred Staton helped the Deacons avoid the embarrassment of losing
a 28-point lead at Duke.
Wake was up 35-7 with less than five minutes to go in the
third quarter but the Blue Devils scored four touchdowns in the next eight
minutes to tie the score.
“We just said, ‘Hey, Lord, we need a touchdown here,’ ” said
Wake quarterback James MacPherson, who played the rest of the way after
Anthony Young injured his foot in the second quarter.
Staton completed a 67-yard drive with a 5-yard run with 7:05
to go and the Deacons defense made the lead stand up.
“We were probably a little further ahead in the first half
than we should have been,” said Wake coach Jim Grobe. “That gave us a false
sense of security.”
Tarence Williams ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns but
Grobe opted for Staton down the stretch after Williams’ fumble led the
Duke’s game-tying score. Staton had 99 yards on 18 carries and also had two
touchdowns. Receiver John Stone had 183 all-purpose yards for the Deacons
and two touchdowns.
Wake (3-3) needs three wins to be bowl eligible against a
schedule that includes Clemson, Georgia Tech and Northern Illinois at home.
Wake travels to Virginia and North Carolina.
Grobe, who got his first ACC win at Duke, was thankful for
an open date this week to allow some players to heal up. Wake stopped a
five-game losing streak in the ACC that dated back to its 28-26 win over the
Blue Devils in Winston-Salem last season. Its 42 points were a season high.
The Blue Devils didn’t win but they did provide ample
excitement with their comeback. Duke (0-6) trailed 28-0 at the half and 35-7
with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter.
“At halftime, Coach [Carl] Franks was great and the coaches
were making adjustments,” said Duke receiver Ben Erdeljac, who had nine
catches for 102 yards, both career highs. “We went back out there and were
playing one play at a time.
“Things started rolling and before we knew it, it was 35-35.
It’s anybody’s game at that point.”
Franks was enjoying the revitalized atmosphere of Wallace
Wade Stadium during Duke’s rally.
“We talked about the fact that 28 points is not too much to
overcome,” Franks said. “The crowd got behind us. That was fun. The crowd
really helped us today.”
But ultimately, the Blue Devils couldn’t complete a
miraculous comeback attempt. Quarterback D. Bryant passed for a season-high
251 yards but cited the need for a more complete effort.
“We haven’t put a whole game together yet,” Bryant said. “If
we do that, we’ll be all right. Today, we only played one good half. That’s
been the story of our season.”
Duke will try to play spoiler at Maryland this week. Inside
linebacker Jamyon Small was credited with 17 tackles for Duke including
eight solo. Devils tight end Mike Hart extended his streak with at least one
catch to 18 games.
Duke’s last win was at home against Wake Forest on Nov. 13,
1999 as the Blue Devils held on for a 48-35 win after erupting for a
school-record 34 points in the first quarter. Duke’s 35 points for the game
on Saturday were a season high and its 28 points in the third quarter were
the most in a quarter since the first quarter of the 1999 Wake game.
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02/23/2007 01:03:14 AM