Courtesy of Clemson Athletics
CLEMSON, S.C. - Quarterback Kyle Parker caught a touchdown pass and Andre Ellington gained 86 yards on 16 attempts and scored a touchdown to lead the White team to a 17-0 win over the Orange Team in Clemsonâ€™s annual Spring Football game at Clemson Memorial Stadium. The record crowd of 27,000 fans enjoyed brilliant sunshine and 72 degree temperatures all day.
Parker, Clemsonâ€™s starting quarterback last year in all 14 games, has played football and baseball this spring. He is the top hitter and home run hitter on the Clemson baseball team this year. He hit his 12th home run Friday night at Duke, then flew back to Clemson for todayâ€™s spring football game. He will return to Durham for the final game of the baseball series on Sunday.
Saturday, Parker completed 7-15 passes for 79 yards for the victorious White team, but his most important play was a 23-yard scoring pass reception on an end-around from flanker Marquan Jones. It gave the White team a 17-0 lead with just 9:59 left in the game.
Andre Ellington put the White team up by a 7-0 at the 35-second mark of the first quarter on a 34-yard scoring run. Ellington, who averaged 7.22 yards per rushing last year as a freshman, had 16 rushes for 86 yards on Saturday to lead all ball carriers. He also had 2-28 receiving to give him 114 yards from scrimmage for the day.
The Orange team did not score, but had some productive play behind quarterback Tajh Boyd. The freshman from Hampton, VA completed eight passes for an average of 16.5 yards per completion. He had four pass plays of at least 20 yards on the day, including three to sophomore tight end Dwayne Allen, who had three catches for 81 yards. Jamie Harper was the top rusher for the Orange team with 12-33.
The defense was outstanding for both teams. The White defense recorded the shutout and was led by Corico Hawkins, who had five tackles, and Marcus Gilchrist with four stops, a sack and a pass deflection. Andre Branch had just two tackles, but both were sacks and he added three quarterback pressures. Byron Maxwell had two passes broken up and a fumble recovery.
Brandon Maye was the top tackler in the game with eight from his linebacker position on the Orange defense. Quandon Christian, a red-shirt freshman who has had an outstanding spring, added seven stops. Kourtnei Brown added five stops and a pass broken up, while Rashard Hall had and interception and a game best three passes defensed.
One of the highlights of the day was the punting. Richard Jackson, Clemsonâ€™s starting kicker last year and backup punter, averaged 50.3 on 10 punts and seven of the 10 were at least 50 yards. Dawson Zimmerman had eight punts for 44.4 yards a boot. Spencer Benton had the only field goal with a 37-yard kick for the White team.
Overall, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney was pleased with the day and his team during spring practice. â€œThis was a beautiful day, a great day for Clemson football,â€ said Swinney, who will start his second full season as head coach this fall. â€œThe weather was great, the fan support was a record crowd and I thought both teams competed.
â€œI was pleased with the effort on both sides. When you divide your team up evenly you get thin at many positions. But, you can evaluate how much they compete and who will make some plays. There was good energy on both sides. We have a chance to be a good football team this fall. We just have to work hard over the summer, that will be important to a lot of players.
â€œWe have good depth on defense, I feel good about where we are there. We really have two starting defensive lines and we have depth in the secondary, even with the loss of Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler (to graduation), who have started the last three years for us. But, I feel as good about the linebacker position as any on defense.
â€œOn offense we saw Tajh Boyd improve over the Spring. He got better today. He made some nice throws and made some big plays to Dwayne Allen.
There were no injuries recorded in the Spring game. Scotty Cooper (pulled groin), Mason Cloy (broken leg) and Wilson Norris (torn ACL) missed the spring game due to injuries they had sustained previously.
The team was treated to a talk by former Clemson All-American and current Denver Broncos star Brian Dawkins after the game. â€œBrian Dawkins gave a great talk to our team after the game,â€ said Swinney. â€œHe talked about what it meant to be all-in with a program and the importance of working hard in the off season.â€ Dawkins is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, the most in history by a former Clemson player and among the top five totals for a safety in the history of the NFL. Dawkins was among nearly a 100 former players who returned to campus for todayâ€™s game.