McDaniel says injury to Ponder was accidental

Clemson safety wishes QB the best; Powell says snaps not an issue on missed kicks

pstrelow@thestate.comNovember 10, 2009 

Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel intercepts a ball in the fourth quarter during the Tigers game against the Seminoles at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, SC, Saturday, November 7, 2009.

GERRY MELENDEZ/GMELENDEZ@THESTATE.COM

  • TIGERS VS. WOLFPACK

    WHO: Clemson (6-3, 4-2 ACC) at N.C. State (4-5, 1-4)

    WHEN: Noon Saturday

    WHERE: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh

    TV: Raycom

    RADIO: ESPN Radio 93.1 FM

    LATEST LINE: Clemson by 8

CLEMSON - Junior safety DeAndre McDaniel clarified Monday that he didn't intend to injure Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder after his fourth-quarter interception.

In pointing at Ponder before the two collided along the sideline, McDaniel said he was sending a playful warning that the two were about to collide.

Both lowered their shoulder, and while Ponder successfully steered McDaniel out of bounds, he took the worst of the hit - suffering a separated right shoulder that FSU confirmed Monday will end their standout quarterback's season with three games to go.

"I hope he gets better - get well soon," McDaniel said. "I didn't try to hurt him, but I did try to make him feel it.

"There were some linemen coming, and the last time I got caught up in some linemen, at Miami, it didn't feel too good. So why not go at the quarterback instead of the linemen?"

On hold

For the third time in its past four games, Clemson will not know until six days out when its next game will kick off.

ABC and ESPN exercised their option to wait until Sunday to decide whether it will pick up the Tigers' final home game next week against Virginia. The broadcasting company delayed setting the start times to four of the five ACC contests.

The great pumpkin

Special teams coach Andre' Powell said the snaps for Clemson's five missed kicks against FSU - three extra points and two field goals inside 40 yards - were not the issue.

Powell defended kicker Richard Jackson, who accounted for all but one of the misses (an extra point). But Powell stopped short of giving Jackson any edge in this week's competition for Saturday's starting assignment.

"You should be able to kick a pumpkin through for an extra point, but it didn't happen," Powell said. "But without him, we don't beat Boston College and we don't beat Miami. Just put it behind you and go on to the next game."

Passing prep

Kevin Steele's defense is on a strong run against the ACC's premiere quarterbacks, intercepting Ponder four times, Miami's Jacory Harris three times and limiting Wake Forest's Riley Skinner to 82 passing yards with two interceptions.

McDaniel said Clemson has benefited from having a scout squad quarterback the caliber of touted freshman Tajh Boyd.

"Tajh is just as good as any of the quarterbacks we've faced," he said. "Ain't too many quarterbacks have as strong an arm as Tajh. He gives us a good look at everything (opponents) do."

Good luck charm

C.J. Spiller's biological father attended his first Clemson games at Miami and against FSU, and his son set a school-record for all-purpose yardage each time (310 vs. Miami, 312 vs. FSU).

"I'm going to have to see if I can get his dad to come back again," coach Dabo Swinney said.

Local love

N.C. State defensive tackle Leroy Burgess, a senior out of Ridge View High, had an interesting take on Clemson heading into Saturday's noon game in Raleigh. And it figures to make its way to the Tigers' bulletin board, regardless of his intended context.

Burgess was asked about Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien's statement that both teams have a lot to play for, even thought N.C. State is 1-4 in ACC play.

"They're high on the mountain right now," Burgess said, according to The Associated Press. "They're a little cocky, beating Miami and Florida State last week. They're comfortable.

"I guess seeing our defense, they think they're just going to come in and do their thing and run all over us. Just to go out there and prove to our critics that we can play football and we can stop people, that's from our point of view."

Extra points

Spiller was named the ACC's offensive back of the week. ... Senior Kevin Alexander, who started at strongside end in place of injured Da'Quan Bowers, was credited with eight tackles, one behind McDaniel for the team high. ... O'Brien told reporters that Spiller is having the best year of anyone in the conference. "I don't see anybody that has controlled a game as much as he has, especially the last couple of weeks."

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