Clemson University

Purple uniforms not lucky this time

Clemson's Ricky Sapp sacks Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor for a safety.
Clemson's Ricky Sapp sacks Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor for a safety.

CLEMSON -- Clemson broke out a hopeful good-luck charm against No. 15 Virginia Tech on Saturday -- all-purple uniforms.

The Tigers last used the unis during an ESPN game against Georgia Tech last year. With the "College GameDay" crew on location and the Yellow Jackets ranked 13th in the country, Clemson manhandled Tech 31-7.

The all-purples hadn't been worn since Great Falls' native Banks McFadden was on campus, until Clemson broke them out last year. With another nationally televised game, the Tigers were apparently trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time.

• WHEW!: Clemson place-kicker Mark Buchholz, maligned for missing four field goals at Georgia Tech last week, made his first attempt against Virginia Tech. He hit a 33-yarder right down the pipe, the Tigers' first score of the evening.

His second attempt, from 30 yards, also sailed through, cutting the score to 31-8 Tech at halftime.

• SHAKE-UP: Clemson switched its offensive line around, starting Thomas Austin at center over Barry Humphries. Austin, the Tigers' starting right guard for each of their first five games, got the nod after Humphries, as part of a leaky line last week, contributed to six sacks of quarterback Cullen Harper.

Austin was in the middle with Chris McDuffie and Barry Richardson resuming their roles on the left side. Brandon Pilgrim took Austin's former spot at right guard while Christian Capote stayed at right tackle.

The line was shuffled again on the game's third play, when Richardson got his bell rung on D.J. Parker's interception return for a touchdown. Richardson walked gingerly off the field escorted by two trainers while Cory Lambert took his spot.

Richardson returned in the second quarter, but Pilgrim was injured and walked off 35 seconds before halftime.

• GOOD TO SEE YOU: Former Clemson assistant coach Mike O'Cain returned to Memorial Stadium as Virginia Techís quarterbacks coach. An Orangeburg native who played for the Tigers from 1972-76, O'Cain is in his second year with the Hokies.

O'Cain also served as a Clemson graduate assistant in 1977 and as the Tigers' QB coach from 2001-04. He earned the tag of offensive coordinator in 2004 as well.

• BANGED UP: Wide receiver Rendrick Taylor did not dress for the game, the second straight game he's missed. Still suffering from a torn hamstring suffered in preseason camp, the plan for now is to sit Taylor for the Tigers' bye week next week, then most likely for the Central Michigan game on Oct. 20.

If the hamstring doesn't recover in time for an Oct. 27 date at Maryland, Taylor will probably seek a medical redshirt. He's caught nine passes for 108 yards this season. Wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Ford was also knocked out of the first half after a vicious spear from Victor Harris. Ford floated out for a screen pass in the first quarter and Harris nailed him at the point of the catch.

Ford stayed down, cradling his midsection, and sat the rest of the half. Officially, he was diagnosed with a bruised sternum. Aaron Kelly took his place on kick return.

• LOOK AT ME: Rock Hill native Jimmy Maners recorded his second career tackle in the first quarter, knocking Virginia Tech returner Eddie Royal out of bounds. Royal found the sideline and had already hit a 33-yard return before Maners, the Tigers' punter, shoved him out.

Maners wasn't so fortunate on his next attempt -- he tried to get to Royal but was blocked out of the way, springing Royal for an 82-yard touchdown return.