With leading receiver Dont� Stallworth out until late October with a broken wrist, Washington is the Vols' best downfield threat, yet LSU never gave Damond any help. "We decided that as long as they single-covered him, we'd keep riding that horse as long as we could," offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said after the game. "Fortunately, the horse took us to the finish line."
Coming out of Sherando High in Stephens City, Va., in 1997, Washington signed with Division I-AA Hofstra, which was willing to gamble on a 6'2", 170-pound quarterback. He never enrolled, however, choosing instead to spend four years in the Florida Marlins' minor league system. Two inches, 55 pounds and a .213 average later, Washington contacted Tennessee. After Saturday night, the loss of Stallworth no longer seemed so devastating.
Clemson's Stirring Comeback
Dantzler Answers A Wake-up Call
Clemson's showdown with Georgia Tech was barely four minutes old, yet Tigers coach Tommy Bowden was already challenging senior quarterback Woody Dantzler. "His exact words were, 'Five turnovers in two games. I can't trust you much longer if you keep giving it up,' " Dantzler recalled after the game. One week after his fourth-quarter fumble played a large part in Virginia's 26-24 upset of Clemson, Dantzler lost another fumble, on the Tigers' first series. "When I get challenged, with people calling me this or that, telling me I stink, that I can't play quarterback, that's when I get motivated."
Duly inspired, Dantzler passed for 254 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 164 yards and another two scores as Clemson pulled out a 47-44 overtime victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Neither Dantzler nor any of the Tigers' other seniors had ever defeated Georgia Tech, and with four Clemson starters missing last Saturday's game against the ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets because of injury, the odds of reversing that trend weren't in their favor. Sensing the Tigers' dwindling confidence the night before the game, Dantzler and senior guard T.J. Watkins gathered the offense in a conference room of Clemson's Atlanta hotel. "We laid down the ground rules," said Dantzler. "We needed to match every good play that Georgia Tech made."
In a game in which the lead changed hands nine times, the Tigers' offense delivered. It went 3 for 3 on fourth-down conversions and 12 for 19 on third-down tries, and had scoring drives of 62,79,80,80,80 and 60 yards. Dantzler, who needs to run for only 57 yards to become the first ACC quarterback to reach 2,000 yards rushing and 4,000 passing in his career, could make a strong case for backup quarterback Willie Simmons's getting a game ball. Simmons noticed in the first half that whenever Dantzler scrambled, Georgia Tech's defensive backs edged forward, leaving the receivers open. He told Dantzler and the wide-outs about this at halftime, and with Clemson trailing 38-34 and facing fourth-and-13 with the clock nearing the two-minute mark, the advice paid off. As Dantzler scrambled, cornerback Chris Young let J.J. McKelvey get behind him, and Dantzler connected with the junior wide-out for a 63-yard touchdown.
Although Georgia Tech would force overtime with a last-minute, 20-yard field goal and would score first in OT with a 33-yard boot, Dantzler kept his poise and capped a six-play winning drive with an 11-yard quarterback keeper on third-and-six. "We came here without a chance in the world," said Dantzler, whose clutch play put him back into Heisman contention and Clemson back into the ACC race. "People have been doubting me, calling me out all season. But I don't mink I've ever felt as great as I do right now."
Roberson Shines in Defeat
Kansas State Finds a Winner
It seemed that the rout was on. Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl's gutsy, 75-yard touchdown pass to Antwone Savage, thrown into the teeth of a blitz midway through the third quarter, gave the third-ranked Sooners a 35-14 lead over No. 11 Kansas State. Yet in the end Oklahoma had to endure the indignity of a self-inflicted safety and men survive the Wildcats' Hail Mary pass attempt as time expired to escape with a 38-37 victory.
What happened? Kansas State sophomore quarterback Ell Roberson came of age during the game. After a shaky start he wound up rushing for 115 yards on 23 carries and passing for 257 yards, though he connected on only 12 of his 32 passes. Here was the book on Roberson when he came out of Lee High in Baytown, Texas, in 1999: electrifying runner with a powerful arm. Coach Bill Snyder envisioned him as an improved version of former Wildcats All-America Michael Bishop. Roberson redshirted in '99 and saw limited action last season.