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College football

ACC: UGA shakes early worries, Clemson

By Associated Press
Published August 31, 2003

CLEMSON, S.C. - Forget the injuries, inexperience and suspensions, Georgia looked as strong as ever.

David Greene accounted for two touchdowns, D.J. Shockley ran for another and Georgia's defense handed Clemson its first shutout in coach Tommy Bowden's five seasons 30-0 on Saturday.

"A lot of questions," Bulldogs defensive lineman David Pollack says, "were answered today."

And that is good news for the defending SEC champions, who were supposed to struggle early.

They had a new offensive line. They were without injured defensive starters Will Thompson and Kentrell Curry. Eight other Bulldogs were suspended by coach Mark Richt. And that is not counting the Ring-gate episode where several players sold rings from the school's first SEC title in 20 years.

"Things happen," said Pollack, whose fourth-quarter interception ended the Tigers' last good scoring chance. "We started to have a lot of injuries and we were like, "Golll-eee, what's going on?' because guys kept falling. But we don't doubt ourselves. We can control what we can control."

Greene was 12-of-17 for 203 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown to Fred Gibson. Greene added a 3-yard touchdown run and Shockley closed scoring with a 29-yard run. Gibson had four catches for 104 yards, all in the first half. Georgia allowed 7 yards rushing in the first half.

"It's an easy way to go into your first game," said starting tackle Daniel Inman, a newcomer on the offensive line. "We'll take this and enjoy it, and then get back to work Monday."

Clemson had not been shut out at home since a 37-0 loss to Virginia Tech in 1998. It was the first time Georgia held the Tigers scoreless since a 12-0 defeat in 1978.

N.C. STATE 59, W. CAROLINA 20: Tramain Hall had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Philip Rivers threw three touchdowns for the host Wolfpack. Hall also had a 6-yard TD catch in his debut as N.C. State won its seventh straight season opener.

Western Carolina, a I-AA team, fell to 0-21 against current ACC schools and 0-5 against the Wolfpack. N.C. State scored touchdowns on five of its six first-half possessions, punted once and finished with 494 total yards.

Hall, a redshirt sophomore, first enrolled in December 2000. He was ruled an NCAA nonqualifier after questions arose about his scores on the Florida competency test required for high school graduation. After one season at L.A. Valley Junior College, he again was ruled ineligible by the ACC, sitting out last season.

Rivers was almost flawless, completing 26-of-30 for 320 yards before giving way to reserve Jay Davis midway through the third.

VIRGINIA 27, DUKE 0: Redshirt freshman Anthony Martinez, who replaced injured starter Matt Schaub, shook off early jitters to help send Duke to its 26th consecutive loss in conference play. The defense helped, posting its first shutout since the 24-0 win over the Blue Devils in 1998.

Duke gained 272 yards and was turned away on downs after driving to the Virginia 25 in the closing minute. Martinez threw a nine-yard touchdown to Heath Miller before halftime, giving the Cavaliers a 17-0 lead.

It was the Cavaliers' first victory in an opener in four years, but potentially their most costly because of Schaub, the leader of coach Al Groh's young offense. Martinez finished 6-for-15 for 76 yards.

[Last modified August 31, 2003, 01:47:13]


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