Clemson Runs, and Runs Over North Texas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    There's a new storm at Clemson -- and plenty of life left in the Tigers' backfield with former star C.J. Spiller off to the NFL.

    Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper each scored twice and rushed for over 100 yards in a 35-10 victory over North Texas on Saturday in the Tigers first game without last season's ACC player of the year.

    Ellington had 122 yards and Harper 102 yards, the first time that's happened for Clemson since James Davis and Spiller, the "Thunder and Lightning" duo, accomplished it against Maryland in 2007.

    "Learned a lot from those guys, C.J. and James," Harper said. "We're just trying to come out there with a 'New Storm' and show everybody."

    If Ellington and Harper look like this each game, get ready for more turbulance in Tiger Town.

    Ellington got things started with a 60-yard TD run on Clemson's second snap for a 7-0 lead 16 seconds into the game. Harper close the half with a 17-yard burst to set up his 8-yard touchdown catch a play later and give the Tigers a 21-7 lead at the break.

    "We were ready to execute the way were supposed to and that's what we did," Ellington said.

    The two kept things up in the second half. Ellington had a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Harper added a 49-yard run and finished the Tigers scoring with his scoring burst from 3 yards out.

    Many wondered if Ellington and Harper were up to filling Spiller's enormous cleats. He rushed for 1,212 yards and accounted for 21 of Clemson's 54 touchdowns as they won the ACC's Atlantic Division.

    The new co-starters showed they know how to gain yards, too.

    "Our guys have the mentality that if we run the football, something positive is going to happen," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

    For much of the first half, it was North Texas runner Lance Dunbar who looked the most like Spiller and the Mean Green offense that was in control.

    Dunbar wracked up 96 yards by half. North Texas outgained the Tigers and had the ball more than three times as much.

    "I thought Lance did a fabulous job of making some really tough yards. I thought out offensive line played with a tremendous amount of heart and guts," North Texas coach Todd Dodge said. "It probably wasn't pretty at times, but they were facing a pretty good-looking bunch."

    And Clemson's defense did indeed tighten up when it counted most. It had five sacks and got two interceptions.

    Tiger defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was not pleased with his group. "The bottom line is there's a scoreboard at the end of the field and it says 35-10 and in this business you ought to be grateful for that," he said. "Can we fix what the deal is? Absolutely."

    Tiger quarterback Kyle Parker added two touchdowns passes, including a 70-yarder to Brandon Clear.

    For much of the first half after Ellington's quick score, the biggest reason to cheer for the 75,000 at Memorial Stadium was Dawson Zimmerman's 79-yard punt, the second longest in school history.

    Parker's long bomb to a wide-open Clear put Clemson ahead 14-0. After North Texas' only TD on a 13-yard reception by Darius Carey -- he drew a celebration penalty for pumping his fist at the dozen or so Mean Green fans in that end zone -- Clemson bounced back with Harper's first score.

    North Texas of the Sun Belt Conference appeared to wear out in the second half as Clemson took control.

    "I feel good -- not real good -- but good about how our players battled," Dodge said.