Clemson's Bowden hit in head with glass bottle

Updated: October 28, 2006, 10:17 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said Friday he was hit in the back of the head with a mini glass liquor bottle while standing on the sideline during Thursday night's 24-7 loss to Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium.

Wendell Flinchum, Virginia Tech's interim chief of police, confirmed Friday a fan was ejected from the stadium for throwing objects at the Tigers coaching staff. Flinchum said the man wasn't arrested and wouldn't release the man's identity.

Flinchum said he didn't know whether the man was a Virginia Tech fan or Clemson fan and wasn't completely sure the man ejected was the one who threw the bottle at Bowden.

The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported Saturday that Virginia Tech assistant athletic director Sharon McCloskey said a Tech police officer in the stands saw a man "dressed in Clemson gear" throw the bottle.

Police "said it was a Clemson person that did it," McCloskey told the Times. "The policeman told me they didn't think he was trying to throw it at the coach; he was just trying to throw it out there. I don't know ... whether they thought they got a bad call or something."

Fans are prohibited from bringing alcohol into Lane Stadium.

"Had I turned and had it hit me in the eye, it would have killed me," Bowden said. "It was glass. That's what scared me. Those plastic ones, it wouldn't go that far."

Bowden said he gave the bottle to Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, who was standing on the sideline. Bowden said officials made an announcement warning fans not to throw objects on the field.

"I really was afraid after that because had I turned and been hit in the eye, I surely would have lost the eye," Bowden said. "And then we lost the game. So it wasn't a good night."

The loss seriously damaged No. 10 Clemson's hopes of an at-large berth in a Bowl Championship Series game and essentially left the Tigers (7-2, 4-2 ACC) two games behind Boston College in the ACC's Atlantic Division. The Eagles are 3-1 in ACC play and have a tiebreaker over Clemson because of their 34-33 double-overtime win over the Tigers on Sept. 9.

With remaining games against Maryland and North Carolina State and rival South Carolina, the Tigers once again seem headed to the Gator Bowl or worse, instead of contending for their first ACC championship since 1991 and playing in a lucrative BCS bowl game.

"It's not over yet," Bowden said. "We're got three games left. We've got a lot of football left. Mathematically, we're not out of it."

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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