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College football

Two sets of Tigers tamed

By BOB HARIG
Published September 6, 2003

At Clemson, things got so bad, one of the players became ill on the field.

At Auburn, they're just sick.

The season did not start so well for either set of Tigers, both of whom were shut out in their openers, at home.

First, the group from Alabama that was a trendy pick to be a national title contender. Auburn figured to run all over USC, which was anything but "soft," as had been portrayed. The Tigers finished with 164 total yards, 2.6 per play.

Of Auburn's 62 plays, 19 produced no gain or a loss. Quarterback Jason Campbell was pressured early and often. "We never threatened," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, whose team twice reached the USC 33. "There just wasn't much there."

So much for high expectations, though there is time for Auburn to rebound, starting today at Georgia Tech.

That might not be the case for Clemson, which pointed all offseason to its home opener against Georgia, which was depleted by the loss of 12 players due to injury or suspension.

Coach Tommy Bowden had preached toughness, revamped his offense to use a power-I formation and was determined to get the program back on track. Instead, the Tigers endured a humiliating 30-0 loss. At one point in the game, Clemson center Tommy Sharpe became ill and vomited before snapping the ball to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

That should have been a sign.

Throw in a 55-15 loss to Texas Tech in the Tangerine Bowl and Clemson has been outscored 85-15 in its past two games. In its past three games against ranked opponents at home, Clemson has been outscored 98-18.

Death Valley was once a feared stadium for the opposition. Not any more.

"Zero the whole night," Bowden said about the amount of sleep he got after the game. "People don't want to hear about that. I ought to sleep zero."

He should sleep better tonight. The Tigers play Division I-AA Furman.

NO MORE SLEEP: Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring also had a sleep-deprived Saturday night, but that was because his wife was about to deliver the couple's fourth child. He saw the birth of his daughter at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, got back to bed at 5:45 a.m., slept for three hours, then called one of the top passing games in Virginia Tech history as the Hokies defeated Central Florida 49-28.

The Hokies passed for 380 yards and the 29 completions (to 11 receivers) were the most for the school in 31 years.

"I was a little surprised to keep getting pass plays sent in," said quarterback Bryan Randall, who was 22-for-28 for 278 yards and three TDs. "I hope (Stinespring) doesn't get any more sleep before we play again so he can keep calling those pass plays."

FAMILIARITY: When UCLA plays at Colorado today, the Bruins should know the opponent quite well. Three members of Colorado coach Gary Barnett's coaching staff from a year ago now work for first-year UCLA coach Karl Dorrell: Jon Embree, Eric Bieniemy and E.J. Kreis. Also, UCLA defensive coordinator Larry Kerr was formerly at Colorado State, which faces CU annually. UCLA linebackers coach Brian Schneider had the same job at CSU the past six seasons.

Making things tougher on the Buffs: UCLA plays its first game with a new staff.

"We have no clue," Barnett said. "We're playing a team that knows virtually everything about us and we know nothing about them - except we do know defensively what they're going to do. They know everything from every special team's code word we have, how we do everything, film and everything else on us."

QUICK KICKS: With 55 career touchdowns (passes and runs), Mississippi's Eli Manning is one short of the school record held by his dad, Archie. Ole Miss plays at Memphis today. ... Nebraska's season-opening 17-7 victory over Oklahoma State was the first by the Cornhuskers over a ranked opponent since October 2001. ... Washington's 28-9 loss to Ohio State had a familiar theme: the inability to run. After 2002's worst-ever 74.5 yards rushing per game, UW rushed for 7 yards total and starting tailback Rich Alexis had 14 on 24 carries. The Huskies did not have a rushing first down for just the third time ever.

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

[Last modified September 6, 2003, 02:01:52]


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