Virginia, Clemson Football Battle Heats Up
Sept. 9, 1999
Prior to this decade, Virginia had never beaten Clemson.
Now the 23rd-ranked Cavaliers look for their sixth win in 10 gamesover the Tigers when the teams meet on Saturday in Death Valley.
Virginia (1-0) had lost 29 straight games to Clemson before a 20-7 win in1990 at Charlottesville. The Cavaliers have gone 5-3-1 against the Tigers,including a 20-18 win last season.
For the Cavaliers to post their first-ever three-game winning streak atClemson, all they need to do is hand the ball off to tailback Thomas Jones,wholed the ACC with 1,394 rushing yards last season.
“Thomas Jones is a pretty good sized tailback,” Clemson coach TommyBowdensaid. “In fact, he is bigger than two of our starting linebackers. He is agood tailback.”
Jones rushed for 149 yards last week, but it was Todd Braverman’s 50-yardfield goal with 24 seconds left that lifted Virginia past North Carolina 20-17on Saturday. Despite the victory, the Cavaliers are ranked No. 23 for thesecond straight week.
If the Cavaliers are to stay unbeaten, the defense will need to stepup andstop Clemson’s ground attack. In Virginia’s last four wins over Clemson, theCavalier defense has limited to the Tigers to 110 yards per game and onerushing score.
Virginia will be without sophomore defensive tackle Monsanto Pope, whosuffered a torn MCL and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Junior KofiBawuah, who finished with seven tackles against the Tar Heels, will likelystart in his place.
The Tigers will try again to give Bowden his first win. Clemson (0-1)allowed Doug Chapman’s seven-yard scoring run with 1:10 remaining and fell toMarshall 13-10 a week ago.
Clemson kickers combined to miss three field goals. Chris Campbellshanked a33-yarder wide left with 10 seconds to go that would have sent the game intoovertime. Tony Lazzara missed two earlier, including a 29-yarder that bouncedoff the left upright.
“We were slow starting … and I think that was to be anticipated,”Bowdensaid. “Once we got going, we did some positive things,” he said.
Clemson has lost six of its last seven conference openers.