Swinney not worried about Heisman race; Bowers injured but seems OK

Coaches decide to rest Spiller

pstrelow@thestate.comNovember 1, 2009 

Clemson vs. Costal Carolina

Clemson running back C.J. Spiller (28) scores on a 6 yard run against Coastal Carolina during the 2nd quarter Saturday, October 31, 2009 at Clemson's Memorial Stadium.

BART BOATWRIGHT/GREENVILLE NEWS

CLEMSON - Star running back C.J. Spiller had a towel draped over his head by the mid-point of the second quarter.

By no means did Clemson coach Dabo Swinney consider it throwing in the towel to Spiller's Heisman Trophy campaign. Quite the opposite, in fact.

A week after he resurfaced on the Heisman map with a 310-yard, all-purpose performance at Miami, Spiller laid low under the radar in Saturday's 49-3 mashing of Coastal Carolina.

He finished with just 27 all-purpose yards on five touches, all rushing, and his lowest all-purpose output since tallying 13 yards on 11 touches as a sophomore at Georgia Tech.

Of course, Spiller saw action in the first four series before he was removed after his 6-yard touchdown run with 10:56 to go in the second quarter.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he didn't harbor any thought of keeping Spiller in to boost his Heisman profile, electing instead to rest Spiller's nagging turf toe with this week's key game against Florida State looming.

"If we have the team success we're supposed to have, C.J. will get the recognition," Swinney said. "We could have gone out there and handed the ball a bunch, and ain't no telling what kind of stats he could have put up.

"I don't think that's very smart, and I'd have probably gotten booed out of the stadium, too."

Bowers' powers. Sophomore defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said MRI results showed he did not suffer serious injury after a teammate rolled onto his leg after Clemson's first defensive play.

Bowers said he suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his right leg and should be fine for the FSU game. His right foot was in a walking boot after Saturday's game and he walked with the aid of crutches.

"I knew it wasn't too bad because I didn't hear it pop," Bowers said.

One and done. Swinney followed through on his promise to give an offensive snap to any defender with a return touchdown.

Junior safety DeAndre McDaniel, who had a 23-yard interception return a week earlier at Miami, was inserted at receiver on the 10th play of Clemson's opening drive.

McDaniel was slated to be the intended target on a fade down the right sideline, but quarterback Kyle Parker slipped while dropping back for a 5-yard loss.

"That was points right there," McDaniel said. "I told (Swinney) he had that planned. They didn't want me to get the ball on offense."

Youth served. The blowout was a showcase for a number of young players.

Freshman linebacker Corico Hawkins was credited with a team-high eight tackles, two for loss, while freshman end Mallicah Goodman had six tackles.

Redshirt freshman receiver Jaron Brown, who fell from the rotation after a disastrous first start at Maryland, produced the top highlight by making at least five defenders miss on his 18-yard touchdown catch off a screen pass from Willy Korn.

"This will give us a good opportunity as coaches to really challenge some of our backups, because we've got them on film and can really get after them a little bit," Swinney said. "Some of these guys need to grow up a little bit and prepare like they're going to have to play every snap."

Extra points. Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett's irritation last week in answering questions whether the Chanticleers would kick to Spiller was made all the more perplexing by his decision not to. All kicks were angled away from Clemson's returners until the contest was out of hand. ... Junior linebacker Scotty Cooper returned after missing the previous two games with a concussion, while senior tight end Michael Palmer (concussion) sat out as expected. ... Ford's touchdown pass was the first by a Clemson receiver since Chip Davis threw one to Gary Cooper in the 1988 Florida State game.

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