Yesterday’s selection focused on those games in the Fifties and Sixties. Today, let’s look at those from the Seventies and Eighties. Each of these games were among the best in this rivalry.
1975: Most points scored by Carolina
On November 22, 1975, quarterback Jeff Grantz led South Carolina to a blowout victory over Clemson 56–20 to set a Gamecock record for most points scored in a football game against the Tigers. This was the game of infamy for the Clemson faithful. Their team had been humiliated. It would take twenty years but needless to say, proper, overwhelming revenge would be exacted.
1977: “The Catch”
On November 19, 1977, Clemson wideout Jerry Butler made a diving, backwards, 20-yard touchdown reception on a pass from quarterback Steve Fuller with 49 seconds left in the game to give Clemson a 31–27 victory in Columbia. This play is one of the most memorable plays in the rivalry.
Then head coach Charley Pell had a tradition of lighting up a cigar after each Tiger victory. Sensing, or actually assuming a Gamecock victory, the Gamecock players wore t-shirts with the slogan, “No Cigars Tonight.” After their last series that gave them the lead, on the sidelines, in full view of the TV cameras, they showed the world their ignorance. Their trolling on the Tigers had failed. Great memory.
1980: Orange Britches
In the last regular season game of the 1980 season, a heavily favored South Carolina team traveled to Death Valley to take on the Tigers. In a surprise to both the players and the fans, head coach Danny Ford, knowing his team needed a lift, unveiled new orange uniform pants for the Tigers to wear. This was the first time in Clemson’s history that they wore orange pants in any combination for a football game. Inspired by the pants, the underdog Tigers defeated the Gamecocks, 27–6.
1981: Clemson, Oranges and a National Championship.
In 1981, Clemson defeated the Gamecocks 29–13 en route to a National Championship. Like most games played, I was in attendance. The Tigers needed this win to secure a top-tier bowl invitation. There were “whispers” that echoed throughout campus that there might be a need for more Vitamin C on Saturday. As always, the students rose to the occasion. Nearing the end of the fourth quarter, the field at Williams-Brice looked like an orange grove as oranges filled the field near the student section. Later that evening, Danny Ford and Athletic Director Bill McClellan, accepted that precious invite. The rest as they say, is history.
1984: Black Magic
South Carolina took their 9–1 record on the road to Clemson, and fell behind 21–3 to the Tigers. With about three minutes remaining in the game, Gamecock quarterback Mike Hold led an 8-play 86-yard touchdown drive and, thanks to a Clemson penalty that allowed a re-kick of a missed extra point, defeated the Tigers 22–21 to finish the first 10-win season in program history. I can still feel the blood rushing from my head, and knew, it was going to be a cold, cold winter in Tiger Town.
1989: Orange on the Road and Ford’s Last Hurrah
After suffering two disappointing upsets to Duke and Georgia Tech, the 8–2 Tigers traveled to Columbia for the annual game. Danny Ford allowed the Clemson players to wear orange pants on the road for the first time. Led by running back Terry Allen’s 97-yard, two touchdown first half, the Tigers rolled the Gamecocks on the ground for 355 yards en route to a 45–0 victory. Sadly, this game would be Danny Ford’s last against South Carolina as Clemson’s coach. Ford would own a 7-3-1 record against the Gamecocks. The Tigers would accept an invitation to play West Virginia and it’s all world quarterback Major Harris in the Gator Bowl. After the beating he took at the hands of the Clemson defense, he was summarily demoted from Major to Private.
On Wednesday in Vol 3. we’ll continue this look at the rivalry with games from the 90’s and early 2000’s.
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