Tigers Run Over Louisiana Tech

James Davis

CLEMSON – Midway through the third quarter, Clemson's James Davis was on the sideline lounging with his shoes off and talking to receiver Chansi Stuckey about what lies ahead for the Tigers.

That's pretty much how it's been for the star running back, as well as most of the starters, in all three home games this year.

For No. 18 Clemson, Saturday night's 51-0 blistering over Louisiana Tech at Memorial Stadium was just the latest in home field romps. It marks the third straight home game in which the Tigers have scored at least 50 points, which is the first time in school history that's ever happened in a single season.

In three home games, Clemson has outscored its opponents 157-13.

"We're coming out on offense and hitting on all cylinders," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said.

All the wins for the Tigers at home (4-1, 2-1 ACC) have come on the back of the running game, which for the second straight week topped the 300-yard mark, which is the first time that's happened at Clemson since 2000.

The Tigers finished with 393 yards on 41 carries, which comes on a ridiculous average 9.59 yards per attempt, and had three players (Davis, C.J. Spiller and Demerick Chancellor) top the 100-yard mark.

"In order to put up those kind of rushing numbers, you have to have all of the ingredients," Bowden said. "If you can run like that, you will win a lot of ball games."

It was evident on Clemson's second possession of the game that the Bulldogs' total defense rank of 111 wasn't a misprint as Davis sprinted down the left sideline for a 64-yard touchdown.

It was the longest touchdown by a Tigers back since Raymond Priester dashed 65 yards for a score against South Carolina in 1996.

The long run helped Davis finish with 143 yards rushing on 11 carries and two touchdowns. This is the first game Davis has broken the 100-yard barrier this season. He has also scored at least two touchdowns in four straight games.

"I had to break my long one to get over 100," Davis said. "Coach Bowden had been telling me that if I wanted to get 100 yards that I had to break a long one. When I came to the sideline, he said, ‘That's what I'm talking about.' "

But long runs were the norm rather than the exception on this night – and not just Davis.

"We didn't play a perfect game up front, but we tried our best," offensive guard Nathan Bennett said. "We've still got a long way to go."

Clemson recorded a touchdown almost every way imaginable.

The Tigers scored on a 94-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Ford, a 26-yard interception return by linebacker Nick Watkins and a 34-yard pass from quarterback Will Proctor to Stuckey, just to name a few.

Defensively, Clemson played equally as well.

The Tigers recorded four sacks and had four interceptions, two of which came from true freshman Crezdon Butler. Watkins and fellow linebacker Maurice Nelson accounted for the other two.

But it was the shutout of which the players and Bowden were most proud. Twice Louisiana Tech (1-3) got within the 10-yard line and each time they were denied points.

"That's the greatest feeling you can have," said defensive end Phillip Merling. "It just shows a lot of character."

Clemson entered the game ranked as having the 33rd scoring defense. That number will no doubt improve.

"I think that showed a little pride on the defense's part," Bowden said. "They wanted a little national recognition about being a good defense."

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