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College football

Tigers show support for Bowden with rout

Clemson annihilates Gamecocks 63-17, its third straight solid win.

By Wire services
Published November 23, 2003

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Charlie Whitehurst tied the school record with four touchdown passes and Clemson's players made their strongest pitch to save coach Tommy Bowden's job with a 63-17 victory over archrival South Carolina on Saturday night.

Chad Jasmin added four 1-yard touchdown runs as the Tigers scored their most points in the 101-game series that began in 1896, and their most in any game since the 1981 national champs beat Wake Forest 82-24.

Bowden's future after five seasons was the week's most discussed topic. Three games ago, Bowden looked as good as gone after the Tigers' 45-17 loss at Wake Forest.

But Whitehurst and the Tigers capped a remarkable turnaround with their third straight win and the sixth in seven years over the Gamecocks.

Clemson fans chanted Bowden's name as time wound down. Defensive linemen DeJuan Polk and Khaleed Vaughn carried Bowden to midfield when it was over.

Whitehurst finished 18-of-26 for 302 yards and helped Bowden improve to 4-1 against Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz.

The victory put Clemson in line for the Gator or Peach bowls, a decision that hinges on the Maryland-Wake Forest game this week.

Bowden's plans should be known more quickly. Athletic director Terry Don Phillips, who issued a statement of support for Bowden and the program Tuesday, said the two would meet within days to evaluate things.

For the 83,987 at Williams-Brice Stadium, there was nothing to ponder: The Tigers looked great.

Whitehurst, the son of former Green Bay Packers QB David Whitehurst, did most of the damage early. He had touchdown passes on Clemson's first three possessions of 36 yards to Derrick Hamilton, 28 yards to Airese Currie and 39 yards to Ben Hall, and he completed his first 10 throws as the Tigers led 21-0 in the first quarter.

When South Carolina scored 10 straight in the second quarter to tighten things up, Whitehurst pushed the Tigers to two more TDs. His 22-yard run helped set up Jasmin's first TD. Then Whitehurst had passes of 28 yards to Kevin Youngblood and 26 to Tony Elliott as Jasmin scored with 12 seconds to go before halftime.

[Last modified November 23, 2003, 01:46:45]

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