Clemson eludes Terps, 42-30; Tigers QB Dantzler runs, throws for 435 to offset 4 Jordan TDs


COLLEGE PARK -- LaMont Jordan was dazed.

Calvin McCall had a little trouble believing 30 points wasn't enough to beat Clemson.

Peter Timmins was physically and emotionally drained after chasing record-breaking Tigers quarterback Woodrow Dantzler around Byrd Stadium all day.

Ron Vanderlinden had seen enough of Clemson's no-huddle offense to last him a lifetime.

And the entire Maryland team was wondering if there just might be something to this Clemson hex after the Tigers found a way to win again yesterday, 42-30, in an important Atlantic Coast Conference game.

After all, Maryland scored more points in 30 minutes (17) yesterday than it had scored in the last six years (12) against Clemson and still had to explain away another loss.

"I expected to come out of here 5-1," said Jordan, who took his game to an even higher level yesterday with career single-game marks of four touchdowns and 177 yards rushing. "This is a major disappointment. We might not be able to win the ACC title now, but we're not giving up."

Vanderlinden said: "There is no way for your scout team to simulate running that no-huddle Clemson offense. We really erred in not taking one of our best athletes and letting him imitate Dantzler. We had him stopped several times, but he always seemed to get away."

The Clemson dominance over the Terps has now reached seven straight wins and 12 of the last 13. This one really stung because it cost Maryland (4-2, 1-2) an opportunity to move into third place in the ACC standings behind Florida State and Georgia Tech. Instead it is Clemson (3-3, 3-1) that remains tied with the Yellow Jackets for second place in the league.

What may have hurt even more is the way Dantzler toyed with the supposedly tough Maryland defense, looking a little like Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton, who owns the other victory over the Terps.

Dantzler, a sophomore, slithered through the hand-tackling Maryland defense for 183 yards rushing on 22 carries and completed 16 of 23 passes for 252 yards. The 435 yards total offense is a Clemson record, and the 183 yards rushing is a school record for a quarterback.

Dantzler entered the season as kind of a "co-quarterback" with Brandon Streeter, but it was Streeter who got all the starts until he was lost for the year with a broken collarbone two weeks ago.

Streeter's misfortune has turned into a bonanza for Dantzler, who is thriving in coach Tommy Bowden's no-huddle offense that features as many as four wideouts. Bowden runs two tight ends and a fullback off the bench in every short yardage situation, adding to the defensive confusion.

Dantzler has suddenly become a potent passer in these sneak attacks after being known primarily for his running.

But Timmins insisted Dantzler is still no Hamilton.

"Joe Hamilton is a magician," said Timmins. "He pulls tricks out of his hat. Dantzler wasn't pulling anything out of a hat. He just ran the ball very hard. He studied film and saw we had seven DBs [defensive backs] in the game. If I'm a quarterback and see that, I'm running the ball, too. We weren't ready for it and got our butts kicked."

Dantzler said: "I had holes the size of trucks. Who can't get through those?"

While the defense got kicked around most of the day for 542 yards total offense, Maryland's Jordan looked as if he is really serious about making a strong bid for All-America honors.

Just when it appeared that he may had exhausted his repertoire of moves, Jordan threw some more at Clemson yesterday in the top rushing performance of his career.

Jordan, a junior, was doing 360s, spinning left and right, stutter-stepping and faking out defensive backs. He was especially impressive on a 49-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that tied the game at 14.

Jordan had to use all of his ability just to gather in an errant pitchout from McCall on the play. McCall's pitchout hit fullback Matt Kalapinski in the back of the helmet and bounced what seemed to be out of Jordan's reach.

But he somehow reached far back behind him to gather in the ball in stride and took off down the right side. That is when LaMont unleashed some Michael Jordan-like moves to complete the jaunt into the end zone.

"LaMont is a stud," said Timmins. "He's awesome. That was a great play on the pitchout. I don't even know how he got the ball."

Jordan's four touchdowns were a first for a Maryland player since Charlie Wysocki did so against Virginia in 1981.

While it was mostly a Dantzler against Jordan show, Clemson tailback Travis Zachery contributed 95 yards and three touchdowns rushing and freshman running back Bernard Rambert scored two touchdowns for the Tigers in his collegiate football debut.

Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said, "They were giving it [quarterback draw and sprintouts] to us and we were going to keep running it until they took it away."

NOTES: McCall, a redshirt freshman, discovered the hard way yesterday about some of the nuances of college football. He learned he should stay down if he is hurt or winded until his coaching staff decides what move it wants to make. Instead McCall started to get off the ground late in the third quarter when he was "just winded," creating some confusion for Maryland trainer Sandy Worth, who started on the field to assist McCall. McCall waved off Worth, but the officials weren't buying it and forced Vanderlinden to decide if he wanted to take a timeout or replace McCall for one play (the rule in that situation). Maryland was down only 28-24 at the time and faced an important third-and-five at the Clemson 47-yard line. Vanderlinden decided to bring in Trey Evans for McCall, and Evans threw an incomplete pass, necessitating a punt. "I told Calvin not to get up," said Vanderlinden. "Give us time to figure out what we want to do."

McCall was also in the middle of a controversial play late in the game when Maryland was trying to rally from a 42-30 deficit. The Terps were trying to set up a screen pass on third-and-10 at the Clemson 45-yard with 3: 14 left, but McCall came under a heavy pass rush. He spiked the ball in the area where Jordan, the intended receiver, was standing, which is legal. But the officials said they didn't see Jordan and called intentional grounding. McCall was upset over the call, as it cost Maryland 15 yards and a down.

Clemson 7 14 14 7 -- 42

Maryland 7 10 7 6 -- 30

ACC standings

Conference Overall

W L Pct W L Pct

Fla. St. 5 0 1.000 7 0 1.000

Ga. Tech 3 1 .750 5 1 .833

Clemson 3 1 .750 3 3 .500

Virginia 3 2 .600 4 3 .571

Maryland 1 2 .333 4 2 .667

Duke 1 2 .333 1 5 .167

W. Forest 1 3 .250 3 3 .500

N.C. State 1 3 .250 4 3 .666

UNC 0 4 .000 1 5 .166

Yesterday's results

Clemson 42, Maryland 30

Houston 20, North Carolina 12

Virginia 47, N.C. State 26

Georgia Tech 38, Duke 31

Florida State 33, Wake Forest 10

Saturday's games N. Carolina at Maryland, 1 p.m. N.C. State at Duke, noon

UAB at Wake Forest, noon

Florida St. at Clemson, 7 p.m.

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