Nov. 8, 2003
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. – Tommy Bowden finally got the better of dear old dad.
Charlie Whitehurst threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Clemson
likely ended Florida State’s national title aspirations with its first victory
ever over a top three team, 26-10 Saturday night.
The Tigers (6-4, 4-3 ACC) snapped an 11-game losing streak to the
third-ranked Seminoles and gave Tommy Bowden his first win in five tries over
his father, Bobby. Fans tore down both goalposts after Clemson’s biggest win in
Aaron Hunt added four field goals and the Tigers held the Seminoles (8-2,
6-1) to their fewest points of the season and just 11 yards rushing.
This Bowden Bowl wasn’t about family reunions or good-natured stories, but
about the younger Bowden’s job security. The Tigers lost to Wake Forest 45-17
last week, and just about everyone expected Bobby – on his 74th birthday, no
less – to show little mercy as his team tried to wrap up the league crown and
move closer to a championship game.
But the Tigers played like they didn’t want to lose their coach. And the
Seminoles never showed the poise and power they usually display.
Chris Rix missed his target on several throws and was intercepted by Tye
Hill in the first quarter to end Florida State’s only first-half drive inside
Down 16-0 in the third quarter at Clemson’s 30, Rix threw three straight
passes nowhere near his receivers and the Seminoles settled for Xavier Beitia’s
46-yard field goal. Rix ended 16-for-31 for 194 yards and two interceptions.
Whitehurst continually made the game’s biggest plays. A 17-yard pass to
Kevin Youngblood led to Hunt’s second field goal from 35 yards out and a 6-0
With 2:50 to go in the half, Whitehurst led a 65-yard touchdown drive – 51
on a pass to Youngblood. Whitehurst finished it off himself with a 1-yard
scoring run with 15 seconds left that made it 13-0.
Whitehurst, the son of former Green Bay quarterback David Whitehurst, lofted
a pass to a wide-open Derrick Hamilton for a 58-yard touchdown that gave
Clemson a 23-3 lead late in the third quarter.
The Seminoles scored their lone touchdown, a 71-yard reception from backup
Fabian Walker to Chauncy Stovall, with 2:14 left – far too late to make a
Many of the same fans chanting “Fire Bowden” last week earlier at Wake
Forest stood and cheered as Tommy cross through the swarm of people rushing the
field to talk with his father.
Florida State hurt itself with silly penalties.
A pass interference call on cornerback Rufus Brown kept one Clemson field
goal drive going. Two Clemson series later, Brown was about to be flagged for
another interference call when defensive tackle Darnell Dockett inexplicably
ran into Youngblood long after the play ended. Dockett, the team leader with 14
tackles for losses, was ejected.
Still another Seminoles personal foul gave Clemson a first-and-goal just
before Whitehurst’s touchdown run.
Florida State had already clinched a tie for its 11th league title in 12
seasons. It can wrap up the conference’s spot in the Bowl Championship Series
next week against North Carolina State.
Clemson had not beaten Florida State since 1989 when Danny Ford was in his
final season with the Tigers.