The Volunteers (10-3) lost the Peach Bowl for the second
straight season, although the score was a bit closer than the 30-3
rout by Maryland a year ago. In this one, they committed 10
penalties, including two for pass interference, two for
unsportsmanlike conduct and two for roughing quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
James Wilhoit also missed a 35-yard field goal in the third
quarter that would have brought Tennessee within seven points. The
miss came at the end of a 17-play, 62-yard drive, and that pretty
much was the last chance for the Volunteers.
Aaron Hunt kicked two field goals for Clemson, which gave the
Atlantic Coast Conference its third straight Peach Bowl victory.
The Tigers hardly needed any help in the first half, an exciting
back-and-forth 30 minutes that culminated with a "fumblerooskie"
touchdown run by Browning, an 8-yard score that made it 24-14.
Clemson opened in its unique hurry-up offense, with Whitehurst
calling most of the plays at the line of scrimmage, after first
checking with the coaching staff. Tennessee tried to ruin the
strategy by waiting until the last possible moment to line up, but
it rarely helped.
Casey Clausen, a four-year starter playing in his final game for
the Volunteers, threw for 384 yards -- just nine off his career high
-- and had two touchdown passes. But Tennessee got little from its
running game, finishing with 38 yards on 26 carries.
Leading rusher Cedric Houston didn't start with the Volunteers
going with a three-receiver set, then fumbled on his first carry.
Clemson jumped to a 7-0 lead on the opening possession, going 80
yards in only 2:15, a drive capped by an 8-yard run by Coleman. He
took a pitch from Whitehurst and leaped over cornerback Gibril
Wilson at the 2, giving the Tigers a TD on their initial drive for
the third consecutive game.
Derrick Hamilton set up Hunt's first field goal with a 58-yard
punt return, during which he started right, then reversed field and
ended up racing down the left sideline.
A TD pass from Clausen to Chris Hannon made it 10-7 before
Jasmin's touchdown in the second quarter extended the lead to 17-7.
In the second quarter, Wilson intercepted Whitehurst's pass, and
the turnover led to Clausen's second scoring pass, this one a
30-yarder to Mark Jones. He beat the coverage of Justin Miller and
Travis Pugh for the score.
But the play of the half came from the Tigers. Facing
third-and-goal from the 8, they called a timeout, then quickly
huddled near the line of scrimmage. They hurried to the ball in a
box formation, with Whitehurst joined in the backfield by three
He took a snap in the shotgun, then leaned forward and reached
through Browning's legs and handed him the ball. After pausing for
a moment, Browning raced to the left while the rest of the
backfield went right, and he easily scored for a 24-14 lead.