Tougher foes declaw Clemson offense

In a span of two weeks, the Clemson offense went from one of the nation's best to scoring just one touchdown in eight quarters of football.

What's the difference?


Coach Tommy Bowden said the previous yardage his team gained came against "inferior personnel."

The Tigers (7-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) accumulated more than 500 yards of total offense against North Carolina, which hasn't won a conference game, Louisiana Tech, which they beat 51-0, and Temple, a 63-9 loser.


"We had been productive versus eight- and nine-man fronts, but versus inferior personnel," Bowden said. "Since we faced talent similar to ours in Virginia Tech and Maryland ... the quality of defense has got something to do with the lack of productivity."

The Tigers head into tomorrow's game against North Carolina State on a two-game losing streak, and the Wolfpack is No. 10 in the conference in scoring defense (22.0).

"When you get rolling, you think you can win them all," Bowden said. "Some of it has to do with parity in the conference, and not that we've played that bad."

The Wolfpack, though, is on a four-game slide, and coach Chuck Amato said if it's going to stop, the turnovers and penalties must stop, too. North Carolina State has been penalized 18 times for 146 yards in the past two games.

"We've got to stop the penalties," Amato said. "It's tough enough to stop somebody defensively, then to give them 40 or 45 yards without snapping the football. You can't do that."

Terps plan Pata tribute

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday that there will be a moment of silence before the 3:30 p.m. kickoff tomorrow against Miami to honor Hurricanes defensive end Bryan Pata, who was shot and killed Tuesday night.

Terps team captains Josh Allen and Wesley Jefferson approached Friedgen in his office this week and suggested the team donate its per diem money to Pata's family. A decision hasn't been reached.


The book on Bunting

North Carolina coach John Bunting might have found a new career, after all.

Asked this week if he consulted with other coaches about being fired with five games left, Bunting said, "I don't think there's a book on being a lame-duck coach. ... Maybe that's something I should do someday."

Bunting, who was fired Oct. 22 and has three games remaining, said one coach who experienced a similar situation did call him, but declined to say who and didn't call him back anyway.

"I'm going to rely on my staff and my desire to run this football program in the most appropriate way I know how," he said.

The Tar Heels (1-8, 0-5) host No. 19 Georgia Tech tomorrow.


Numbers game

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden turned 77 Wednesday, and instead of celebrating it in retirement, he spent part of his morning joking about his memory and the other elderly coach in the business.

Asked whether he would still try to coach if he broke his leg as 79-year-old Penn State coach Joe Paterno recently did, Bowden quipped: "If he was still in it I would."

Not that age has anything to do with it, but freshman walk-on Benjamin Lampkin told a local reporter that he wondered if Bowden even knew his name.

"I think he's No. 23," Bowden said with a chuckle. "I hear their names all the time. ... I kinda know them by number.

"I sit up on the tower a lot of times. I can watch them run and see who it is. ... Now, knowing all of them's name," he paused to laugh, "I don't even know my children's names."


ACC bowling

Six ACC teams are bowl-eligible heading into this weekend and two more - Miami and Florida State - are just one win away. The ACC has tie-ins with eight bowls, including the Orange Bowl, which is one of five that comprise the Bowl Championship Series.

The winner of the ACC championship automatically participates in the BCS and likely hosts the Orange Bowl. According to the ACC, a second conference team also can be selected to participate.

The ACC championship might get tricky. Wake Forest and Maryland are tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with 4-1 conference records.

There are eight tiebreakers that can be used, but the first is head-to-head competition, and Maryland and Wake Forest don't play until the season finale.