The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Tigers knock down Cavaliers, 33-14

CLEMSON, S.C.--When a bruised secondary already thin on veterans goes up against a fast-paced offense that often features five receivers, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to do the math. It just doesn't add up.

Senior quarterback Brandon Streeter and the Tigers picked apart the Cavalier defense like ravenous vultures Saturday in Death Valley. After cruising to a 33-0 third-quarter lead, Clemson (1-1, 1-0 ACC) nipped a budding comeback by Virginia (1-1, 0-1) to hold on for a 33-14 victory in front of 65,000 fans.

"We weren't ready for the speed of the game," Cav coach George Welsh said. "They executed very well and we never really stopped them."

Streeter set a Clemson single game record for passing yardage by going 24-for-32 for 342 yards. Time after time, Streeter completed deep passes on third-down-and-long to keep drives alive en route to tying a school record for first downs by passing. He had 12 passes for at least 15 yards and found his favorite target, senior receiver Brian Wofford, eight times for 142 yards and a touchdown.

The Cav coaching staff, however, maintains that there was nothing surprising about Clemson's unique take on the "chuck-and-duck" offense.

"We knew what they had," Cav defensive coordinator Rick Lantz said. "They just executed better than we did."

On the offensive side of the ball, Virginia's attack was riddled with mistakes and three turnovers. On the opening drive, after tailback Thomas Jones rushed for 33 yards on three carries, third-year quarterback Dan Ellis was blindsided by linebacker Braxton Williams and coughed up the ball at Virginia's own 43. Clemson went on to score in just 1:38.

The next four Virginia possessions ended in, respectively, two punts, a missed 32-yard field goal by kicker Todd Braverman and an uncharacteristic fumble at Clemson's 11-yard line by Jones.

"Offensively, we were moving the ball, we just kept having miscues," Ellis said. "We didn't do anything right [Saturday]. We've got to get better. This is embarrassing."

The mistakes were not limited to just the offense, however. The Virginia defense made a number of mistakes of a more serious order.

On a Clemson drive at the beginning of the second quarter, a Virginia offsides call handed the Tigers a first down on third-and-three at their own 39.

Later in the drive, a second Cav offsides nullified a Clemson missed field goal and allowed the offensive squad to push for the first down on fourth-and-inches. The Tigers eventually drove deeper into Cavalier territory and Tiger kicker Tony Lazzara nailed a 34-yard try.

"There was nothing [good] out there [Saturday]," Welsh said. "We're in dire straits [with injuries], but we've got to play better than this."

In the second half, Ellis seemed to find his comfort zone and sustained two long drives for touchdowns. He also displayed some rare mobility in the pocket, rushing for four first downs in the second half to go with 19-for-32 passing for 233 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions on the game.

Jones, after rushing 19 times for 76 yard in the first half, had only four carries in the second.

"I thought our defense did a great job with them because they have an excellent tailback," Tigers Coach Tommy Bowden said. "I was concerned about a comeback because [Virginia] has been in that position before and done it."

Neither coach, however, is taking such an early-season game as a definite sign of things to come.

"It's a long year," Welsh said. "Maybe they are that good, maybe we are that bad. Only time will tell"


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.