Clemson Notes: Emotional day for Daniel Rodriguez
CLEMSON — Saturday was an emotional day for Clemson walk-on football player Daniel Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who earned both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, led the Tigers down the East end zone hill while carrying an American flag prior to Saturday’s game.
Air Force pilots Michal Polidor and Justin Kulish were honored at the end of the third quarter of Clemson’s 38-17 victory over Virginia Tech. Polidor and Kulish provided air support with their F-15 jets for Rodriguez and 50 other U.S. soldiers during the Battle of Kam- desh on Oct. 3, 2009.
Rodriguez left the sidelines to embrace both men, who were honored on the field. Saturday was Military Appreciation Day at Clemson.
“I just said ‘thank you,’ ” Rodriguez said.
Clemson allowed five sacks against Virginia Tech. The Tigers had allowed just 10 sacks in the first six games of the season.
“Unacceptable, embarrassing,” said Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
Clemson made several changes to its defensive lineup, which included removing Stephone Anthony from the starting group.
Anthony, a five-star prospect out of high school, has struggled at times this season, particularly in shedding blocks. On a defense devoid of playmakers, Anthony was expected to make more impact plays. Anthony played but was behind Spencer Shuey in the rotation. The other change was Darius Robinson reclaiming his starting cornerback position over Garry Peters.
As cadets were sworn into military service Saturday at Memorial Stadium, some Clemson fans booed when a reference to the “President of the United States” was made. In what may or may not have been a coincidence, Clemson four-star commitment Elijah Daniel announced on Twitter he was de-committing from the program shortly afer the episode. Daniel later deleted the tweet and said his account was hacked.
Tajh Boyd’s 27-yard pass to Sammy Watkins in the third quarter put him over the 6,000-yard mark for his career. Boyd also rushed for a touchdown giving him 60 combined rushing and passing touchdowns in his career, trailing only Woody Dantzler with 68. ... Darius Robinson suffered an ankle injury in the first half. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said X-rays were negative but the sprain is severe.