(Almost) Forgotten Clemson Bowl Games: Vol 2

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s games, here’s the next two side trips for your enjoyment.

1986 Gator Bowl: Clemson vs. Stanford

Danny Ford and his Tigers would head to a familiar bowl destination, Jacksonville’s Mazda Gator Bowl. It had been a great venue for the Tigers in the past. The Tigers’ opponent, the Stanford Cardinal. Under third-year head coach John Elway, Stanford, 8-3, was making its first bowl appearance since the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl. They would prove a formidable, second half foe for Clemson.

The champions of the ACC, Clemson had recorded ties in its last two regular season games, giving them a 7-2-2 record. On this day, the Tigers were led by tailbacks Kenny Flowers and Terrence Flagler. Clemson completely dominated the first half of the game, recording 291 yards of offense and 15 first downs, and scored touchdowns on runs from quarterback Rodney Williams and backs Chris Lancaster and Ray Williams. “Mr. Clutch,” David Treadwell, added two field goals to put the Tigers up 27–0 at halftime.

Stanford recovered in the second half, holding the Tigers scoreless while gradually bringing the score closer. The Cardinal had several chances to tie or win the game, but an interception inside the 10-yard line on one drive and turning the ball over on downs with less than two minutes remaining, killed any shot at a win as Clemson held on to claim a 27-21 victory. Another successful business trip to Jacksonville.

1988 Florida Citrus Bowl: Clemson vs Penn State

The 1988 Florida Citrus Bowl, in Orlando, saw Danny Ford’s No. 14 Clemson Tigers meet Joe Paterno’s No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions. This was thought to be an evenly matched game but it wasn’t anything of the sort. Clemson soundly defeated Penn State by a score of 35–10.

This was and still is the only match-up between the Tigers and legendary head coach Joe Paterno. I remember it being a beautiful day for football but ever the pessimist, there was personal momentary doubt on my part when I saw Paterno, dressed in his sweatshirt, white socks and cleats, leading his Nittany Lions onto the field. However, after an even first half, the Tigers put the pedal to the metal and blew past the legend and his Lions.

It was among the best Bowl trips I’d ever taken. Disneyworld welcomed us with open arms and we painted Main Street USA with $2 dollar Tiger Paw stamped bills. It was literally like walking down College Avenue in downtown Clemson on a football Saturday. Great memories, great times.

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