CLEMSON, S.C., SEPT. 1 -- Freshman Rodney Blunt scored twice as No. 10 Clemson ruined George Allen's return to coaching today by beating Long Beach State, 59-0.
Nothing that Allen, 72, pulled out of his playbook of knowledge amassed in the NFL helped avert what he had feared: a lopsided loss in his first appearance as a college coach since 1956 with Whittier.
"This is a new experience for me," said Allen, who returned to coaching this year after a six-year absence and never had a losing record in 14 years as a head coach of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. "I don't recall a loss like this. I hope I don't have to recall many more of them."
Two-thirds of the 59 players who made the 2,300-mile trip from Long Beach were playing their first Division I-A opponent, and 21 never had played in a college game. "This is my first trip to Clemson," Allen said. "I doubt if I'll be back again."
The loss was the worst in Long Beach State history, surpassing 53-point losses to Hawaii in 1989 and UCLA in '88.
The 49ers had modest success early, gaining a first down on their first series and reaching Clemson territory on their second. But that was the high-water mark.
The Tigers held Long Beach State to eight yards total offense the rest of the half and 57 yards, with a dismal minus-16 yards rushing, for the game. They compiled 418 yards of total offense, 330 on the ground.
The victory gave Coach Ken Hatfield an auspicious debut before 72,500 at Death Valley in their most lopsided victory since beating Presbyterian, 66-0, in 1957. Hatfield left Arkansas to replace Danny Ford, who resigned earlier this year. "I've been baptized now," Hatfield said, "and it was a good baptism."
The Tigers offense was sluggish early. But the defense compensated when rover Arlington Nunn intercepted a pass by Todd Studer and raced 55 yards for a 7-0 lead with 6:14 left in the first quarter. On the next Clemson possession, sophomore fullback Howard Hall gained 40 yards in a 66-yard drive capped by Blunt's three-yard touchdown run.
But the 49ers did have some consolation -- $250,000. "We played this game . . . to keep the program going," Allen said.