NOTEBOOK: Mistakes Doom Clemson

Mark Buccholz

ATALNTA – Clemson field goal kicker Mark Buchholz had the worst day he's ever had as a kicker, no matter the level of play.

NO EXCUSES: Clemson field goal kicker Mark Buchholz had the worst day he's ever had as a kicker, no matter the level of play.

The redshirt sophomore, who was perfect all through the spring summer and into the season, has quickly seen his accuracy fall by the wayside.

Last week against N.C. State, Buchholz was 4-of-6. Against Georgia Tech, it was worse, making just 1-of-5 attempts. And in a 10-point game, those are big misses.

Buchholz missed field goals of 48 yards, 48 yards, 50 yards and 30 yards, the last of which came on the final play of the first half.

While those are long kicks even for professional kickers, Buchholz said there's no excuse for the misses.

"I expect to make those kicks," he said. "Until I get to 55 (yards), I expect to make them. I had the leg on all of them. It's just a matter of accuracy. It's inexcusable for me to miss wide right or left."

Buchholz is also a starter on the Clemson soccer team and he had two assists in a loss against Duke Friday night. After the game, he and his father drove to Atlanta, where he arrived at 1 a.m.

Head coach Tommy Bowden said he's got to reevaluate whether or not he's doing everything in his power to make his kicker's duel life easy.

"I've got to make sure I'm doing good with his schedule and time management," Bowden said. "It's uncharted waters for me as far as how much we're asking him to do."

Buchholz said there are no problems as far as he's concerned.

"I'll tell him what I've been telling him all along, that I can do this," Buchholz said. "This is my first big bump in the road, so I have to get over it and prove myself next week."

HOMETOWN BLUES: This wasn't what Clemson star tailback James Davis had in mind when he envisioned what would happen in front of his hometown crowd.

He thought of numerous touchdown scores and a Tigers win. Instead, he got no touchdowns and just 60 yards rushing in No. 13 Clemson's 13-3 loss at Georgia Tech Saturday.

"Anytime you come home and lose at home, it's not what you wanted," he said.

Most troubling to Davis are all the mistakes the Tigers made offensively and how they only mustered three points one week after rolling up more than 600 yards of total offense.

"It's kind of hard to believe," he said. "I definitely think we could have scored more points. … They gave us everything we looked at. Everything we watched on film, they did the exact same thing. We just didn't execute our plays."

One problem for the offense's lack of success could be that Davis wasn't given many opportunities to do something. He only carried the ball 12 times, but still managed to gain 60 yards.

All too often it seemed he was on the sideline watching fellow tailback C.J. Spiller in action. Spiller finished with two yards on nine carries and one catch for three yards.

"When the coach calls my number, that's when I'm going to go," Davis said. "I'm doing everything I can to help the team."

Offensive coordinator Rob Spence said Davis was nursing a Charlie horse, but Davis said that wasn't the case.

"I actually feel good," he said. "I feel real good."

When asked if he wished he would have been on the field more, Davis responded, "I have a lot of wishes."

2004 RELIVED: With 7:23 left in game, there was a television timeout. During that timeout, the massive video screen on the scoreboard showed the last 15 seconds of the dramatic Georgia Tech win at Clemson in 2004.

That was the game where the Yellow Jackets scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds after Clemson gave them the ball inside its own 20 following a bad snap over the punter's head.

While the highlights were being shown on the video board, the Georgia Tech play-by-play from the radio broadcast of that game echoed throughout the stadium.

All the while, the entire Tigers defense stood on the field watching. At the same time, the entire Georgia Tech offense was on the sideline getting instructions from the coaches.

QUICK HITS: Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper had his school record of consecutive pass attempts without an interception come to an end on the 166th pass of his career. The pick came on a third-and-24 with 9:57 left in the game as he just threw a high and deep ball up for grabs toward Aaron Kelly, who lost his footing and allowed the Yellow Jackets player the easy interception. …

Davis went over the 2,500-yard rushing mark for his career during the game. He stands seventh on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,520 yards and needs just 52 more yards to move into sixth place ahead of Buddy Gore. …

Cornerback Haydrian Lewis hurt his knee and was helped to the locker room and didn't return. … Receiver Rendrick Taylor didn't suit up for the game. … Receiver Aaron Kelly made the 100th catch of his career. … Safety Michael Hamlin has made an interception three games in a row. … Georgia Tech hasn't lost three straight games in 10 years.

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