Most Clemson fans have attended a game at Memorial Stadium, seen highlights of a young Terry Kinard, and remember where they were when the Tigers won the 1981 national championship. But only real fans know who gave Frank Howard “Howard's Rock,” can name the “Father of Clemson Football,” or know all the words to the “Tiger Rag.” 100 Things Clemson Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Lou Sahadi reveals the most critical moments and important facts about past and present players, coaches, and teams that are part of the storied history that is Clemson football. Whether you're a die-hard fan from the
About the Author
Lou Sahadi is the author of several classic sports books, including Johnny Unitas: America’s Quarterback, Say Hey: The Autobiography of Willie Mays, The Winning Edge, the autobiography of Don Shula, and They're Playing My Game, the autobiography of Hank Stram. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida. Dabo Swinney is a former wide receiver and tight end coach for Alabama. In 2003, he became the wide receiver coach at Clemson and took over as the team’s recruiting coordinator, and was named Clemson’s 27th head coach on December 1, 2008. He still holds the position today.
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100 Things Clemson Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
By Lou Sahadi
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2014 Lou Sahadi
All rights reserved.
1981 National Championship
The 1980 campaign, when Clemson stumbled into mediocrity with a 6–5 record, haunted Coach Danny Ford all winter. He had believed his squad was capable of being in a bowl game that year, but three close losses to Georgia, North Carolina State, and North Carolina by a combined total of 13 points had made it only an average season.
Yet, after preseason practice was over, Ford had a good feeling about the 1981 campaign with 53 returning lettermen waiting. He didn't know how good. The Tigers went unbeaten and won the national championship for the first time in their history. Nobody could ask for more.
Game 1: Wofford
The season-opening game against Wofford was truly an accommodation by the small South Carolina school. Villanova was originally scheduled to play Clemson; but when the Philadelphia school abruptly dropped its football program, it left Clemson with an Opening Day void. Quickly, Clemson athletic director Bill McLellan reached for the phone and called Wofford's athletic director George "Buddy" Sasser, who also happened to be the Terriers' football coach, and he agreed to the game.
Under a hot sun, Wofford received the opening kickoff of the 1981 season. Donald Igwebuike buried the kick in the end zone, and the Terriers put the ball in play on the 20-yard line. They surprised the sold-out crowed by keeping the ball for more than 8:00 and reaching the Clemson 7-yard line before being stopped. Don Hairston gave the Terriers a 3–0 lead with a 24-yard field goal.
Perry Tuttle immediately made his presence felt. He returned Hairston's kickoff 38 yards to position a Clemson field goal. Igwebuike displayed a powerful leg when he tied the game with a 52-yard field goal.
It wasn't until six minutes had gone by in the second period that Clemson got the lead. It came suddenly and dramatically. Homer Jordan and Tuttle combined on a picture-book 80-yard touchdown pass that had Tigers fans roaring. Bob Pauling's conversion gave Clemson a 10–3 edge. The next time they got the ball the Tigers scored again. Jordan completed an eight-play, 76-yard drive by running the last 14 yards around left end on a keeper. Pauling's kick made it 17–3 minutes before the first half ended.
Clemson received the second half kickoff and marched 73 yards for a touchdown. Jordan hit wide receiver Frank Magwood with an 11-yard throw. Pauling's kick stretched Clemson's lead to 24–3. Just before the third quarter ended, Clemson scored again. Jordan scored his second touchdown by going over from three yards out. Pauling added the extra point to give the Tigers a 31–3 lead.
On its first series in the final period, Clemson scored its fifth touchdown. Chuck McSwain sped around left end for five yards to complete a 56-yard drive. Igwebuike converted; and the Tigers led 38–3. Wofford finally scored again when it recovered a fumble on the Clemson 39-yard line. Ten plays later, Barry Thompson hit tight end Dirk Derrick with a 15-yard scoring pass. Hairston's conversion made it 38–10. Clemson closed out the scoring a minute from the end when Jeff McCall broke over right tackle for 10 yards for a touchdown. Pauling booted the extra point that made the final score 45–10.
Game 2: Tulane
There were two areas of concern that confronted Ford as he began his preparations for Tulane.
For one thing, Clemson had never played a game indoors before. That wasn't all. It was playing its first night game in five years, which didn't seem too important except for the fact that it allowed the players a lot of free time before the game in the city's famed French Quarter — a nearby distraction.
"Playing in the Superdome, the Astroturf, a night game, that's all new to us," Ford said.
Clemson received the opening kickoff but couldn't do much. The offense managed to reach Tulane's 37-yard line but Igwebuike's 55-yard field-goal attempt was short. Tulane took over at that point and drove to Clemson's 28-yard line before stalling. However, Vince Manalla booted a 46-yard field goal that provided Tulane with a 3–0 lead.
Misfortune struck Clemson following the kickoff. After failing to produce a first down, Dale Hatcher was sent in to punt from the 26yard line. However, the ball was snapped over his head and rolled into the end zone. Hatcher managed to cover the ball for a safety that gave Tulane a 5–0 lead.
It wasn't until midway through the second period that Clemson finally scored. Defensive end Joe Glenn made it possible. He recovered a Tulane fumble on the 25-yard line to set up tailback Cliff Austin's four-yard touchdown run. Pauling converted to give the Tigers a 7–5 edge, which they kept when the half ended.
Clemson had an opportunity to score first in the third period but lost it. It recovered a Tulane fumble on the 33-yard line following the kickoff. Clemson got to the Tulane 16, which was close enough for Pauling to attempt a 33-yard field goal. Unfortunately, the snap was bad, and Pauling never got the kick off. When the quarter ended, the score remained 7–5 and neither team could produce a serious scoring threat, although Clemson was driving at the end.
On the very first play of the fourth quarter, Pauling was on the field again. This time his 31-yard field-goal attempt was good, and Clemson led 10–5. It was apparent at this point that the tenacious Tigers defense would have to control the game. They met the challenge by intercepting a Tulane pass two plays after the kickoff. Minutes later, Pauling returned to the lineup. He looked at a 37-yard field goal try and came through to give the Tigers a 13–5 lead with just more than 12:00 remaining in the game. Nobody realized at the time that the game would end that way. Clemson's defense was the deciding factor, limiting Tulane to just five first downs and 177 total yards. Ford was relieved when it was over.
Game 3: Georgia
It may have appeared insignificant at the time, but by winning its first two games Clemson achieved something it hadn't been able to do since 1970. More significant was the fact that the Tigers had to face Georgia in Death Valley. The Bulldogs were the No. 1 college team in 1980 and owned the nation's longest winning streak that stood at 15 games.
The game was expected to be close. It began that way with a scoreless first quarter. Georgia did manage to threaten toward the end of the period. They had a first down on the Clemson 17-yard line; after gaining four yards, Walker fumbled and safety Jeff Suttle recovered.
Even when the second period began, Jordan had trouble moving the offense. However, with about 9:00 left, he was given a great opportunity when safety Tim Childers intercepted Buck Belue's pass on the Georgia 18. After moving to a first down on the 8-yard line, Jordan threw a touchdown pass to Tuttle that got the crowd of 62,000-plus to its feet. Pauling converted to give Clemson a 7–0 lead.
Near the end of the half, Clemson struck again. Walker again fumbled and middle guard William Perry recovered on the Georgia 35-yard line. Three plays later, with only 11 seconds showing on the clock, Igwebuike booted a 39-yard field goal to provide Clemson with a 10–0 halftime advantage that made Tigers followers happy.
However, Georgia managed to come back with the second half kickoff. The Bulldogs marched 56 yards, basically on two plays — a 21-yard run by Herschel Walker and a 14-yard pass completion from Belue to Lindsay Scott, before being stopped. A 40-yard field goal by Kevin Butler managed to trim Clemson's lead to 10–3.
Early in the final period, Igwebuike gave Tigers fans more to cheer about. With 14:01 left in the game, he was accurate with a 29-yard field goal that extended Clemson's margin to 13–3. From then on, it was up to the defense, and they responded with swarming intensity to intercept Belue five times before the game ended while keeping Walker out of the end zone. Tigers fans celebrated well into the night.
"It was the biggest win I've ever had in football," beamed a happy Jordan. "It's going to be a lot easier going back to Athens. I can go home and talk a little bit."
Game 4: Kentucky
The convincing victory over Georgia awakened the nation's pollsters. After the third week of the young season, Clemson cracked the top 20 and was ranked 18th by United Press. The Clemson triumph was so impressive to the United Press that Ford was also voted the Coach of the Week by its panel of experts.
While the United Press poll, the one voted on by a panel of coaches, picked the Tigers 18th, the Associated Press in its poll of writers ranked Clemson a notch below, at 19th. Clemson was beginning to generate some national recognition.
Unbeaten Clemson lured a sellout crowd of 57,453 fans to Commonwealth Stadium. Neither team could get a first down the first time it had the ball. On their second series, the Wildcats drove 47 yards in 11 plays, at which point Tom Griggs booted a 40-yard field goal that sent Kentucky into a 3–0 lead. When the quarter ended, the troubled Clemson offense had not produced a first down.
Clemson's offensive woes continued in the second quarter. Yet, the Tigers appeared ready to score when Jeff Bryant recovered a fumble on the Kentucky 16-yard line. They moved for a first down on the 6-yard line where they failed on four successive runs by Cliff Austin. They never seriously threatened the rest of the period except for a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Igwebuike that fell short six seconds from the conclusion of the first half.
Clemson looked like a different team when it took the second-half kickoff and drove 83 yards in 13 plays with Kevin Mack slipping off tackle for a six-yard touchdown run. Pauling added the extra point that gave the Tigers a 7–3 lead.
Some 2:00 later, defensive end Andy Headen positioned Clemson's second touchdown by recovering a fumble on Kentucky's 21-yard line. After only six plays, Jordan raced into the end zone from three yards out. Pauling's kick gave Clemson a 14–3 edge when the third period ended.
Midway through the final period, the Tigers secured their victory. They put together an 87-yard drive in 12 plays that consumed more than six precious minutes. McSwain carried for 41 of the yards, scoring a touchdown from two yards out. Pauling's kick provided Clemson with its final margin of victory at 21–3.
Game 5: Virginia
Clemson was now entering the second phase of its schedule. The Tigers' first four wins had been secured against non-conference opponents. Their trip to any bowl would begin in earnest during the fifth week with the campaign against Virginia, the first of Clemson's six consecutive ACC games. The Tigers were ready to start their hunt for an ACC title in Death Valley.
A threat of rain hovered over Death Valley on Homecoming Day. Once again the Tigers started slowly. It wasn't until there were 22 seconds left in the first period that they got on the scoreboard. Igwebuike kicked a 22-yard field goal to give Clemson a 3–0 lead.
As time was winding down in the second quarter, Clemson scored its first touchdown. And did so quickly. Jordan connected with Tuttle for a 20-yard completion. On the very next play, Tuttle picked up 22 more yards on an end around. Austin then brought the crowd to its feet when he broke loose around right end on an exciting 43-yard touchdown gallop. Pauling's kick sent the Tigers into their dressing room with a 10–0 halftime lead.
Taking the second-half kickoff, Clemson kept right on going and scored its second touchdown. Except for one 16-yard pass, the Tigers kept the ball on the ground, driving 77 yards in 11 plays. McCall got the final five yards for the touchdown. Pauling's conversion attempt was good as Clemson stretched its lead to 17–0.
The next time the Tigers got the ball, they scored again. This time they traveled 67 yards in 13 plays. Jordan mixed his plays well, completing all three passes he threw. Austin slammed over left tackle from a yard out. When Pauling made good on his conversion, the Tigers extended their margin to 24–0.
They added to it early in the final period. The first time they got the ball, they scored once more. After they reached the Virginia 16-yard line, they were held in check. However, Igwebuike was accurate with a 32-yard field-goal attempt that sent Clemson into an insurmountable 27–0 bulge with only 10:00 reaming in the game. Much to the delight of the Homecoming crowd, the game ended that way. The defense basked in glory. It was the first time since 1979 that Clemson had shut out an opponent.
Game 6: Duke
By now, some of the postseason bowl game executives were taking an interest in Clemson. Mickey Holmes, the executive director of the Sugar Bowl, warmed to the thought of the Tigers celebrating New Year's Eve in New Orleans.
When the game began, the Tigers took charge. The first time they got their hands on the football, they scored. Jordan led them on a 64-yard drive in seven plays with seldom-used Brendon Crite going over from the 4-yard line. Pauling's conversion gave the Tigers a quick 7–0 lead.
When the second period opened, Clemson was working on an 80-yard drive that had begun late in the first quarter. The offense got down to the Duke 3-yard line before stalling. Pauling made an appearance again, booting a 20-yard field goal that sent the Tigers into a 10–0 lead. The very next time Clemson took over on offense, it scored again. The team went 49 yards in eight plays with Cliff Austin breaking loose on a 15-yard touchdown run. Pauling's conversion made it 17–0.
Austin wasn't finished yet. On the next series, he brought the crowd to its feet by shaking free up the middle for 77 yards before he was tripped up on the Duke 4-yard line. Three plays later Jordan put the finishing touches on the 98-yard drive by sneaking over from the 1. Pauling converted, and the Tigers were on their way to a romp 24–0. Seconds before the half ended, Duke managed a field goal that still left it far behind at 24–3.
Clemson wasn't about to let up. The special teams took the second-half kickoff and went 59 yards for another touchdown. Austin punched it across from two yards, and when Pauling tacked on the extra point, Clemson's lead ballooned to 31–3.
Duke managed to score a touchdown, being the first team to do so in 18 quarters of play against Clemson's defense. Quarterback Ben Bennett accomplished it with a 21-yard touchdown pass to split end Cedric Jones. However, Clemson answered back. Completing a 65-yard drive, Jordan hit Tuttle with a 29-yard touchdown throw. Pauling's kick restored Clemson's margin 38–10. It was the last scoring of the day. Clemson had its revenge.
Game 7: North Carolina State
The one ingredient confronting Ford as his undefeated Tigers roared to their sixth straight triumph was finding a method to keep his squad from getting complacent the rest of the season. After soundly drubbing Duke, Clemson moved up in the national polls. It was ranked fourth by the Associated Press and fifth by the United Press.
It was a chilly 48 degrees when the teams lined up for the opening kickoff. Austin rushed for 15 yards on two carries but fumbled the ball away the third time he ran. State recovered on its own 41-yard line and moved for a touchdown from there. Larmount Lawson scored it with a 13-yard burst. Todd Auten converted to give the Wolfpack a 7–0 lead with half the period gone.
Excerpted from 100 Things Clemson Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Lou Sahadi. Copyright © 2014 Lou Sahadi. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Dabo Swinney xi
Preface Danny Ford xiii
Introduction Tim Bourret xvii
Author Credits xxi
1 1981 National Championship 1
2 1982 Orange Bowl 16
3 IPTAY-Lifeblood of Clemson Athletics 20
4 Walter Riggs-Father of Clemson Athletics 25
5 John Heisman 27
6 Memorial Stadium 32
7 1940 Cotton Bowl 34
8 1948 Season-11-0 38
9 Frank Howard 41
10 Danny Ford 48
11 Jess Neely 54
12 Steve Fuller 57
13 Banks McFadden 60
14 Jerry Butler 63
15 Fred Cone 66
16 Terry Kinard 70
17 Jeff Davis 74
18 C.J. Spiller 77
19 The Early Years 81
20 The Rock 85
21 Historic Riggs Field 88
22 The Hill 92
23 Alma Mater 94
24 1903 Game with Cumberland 97
25 The Probation 99
26 1949 Gator Bowl 102
27 1981 Georgia v. Clemson 106
28 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl 108
29 2014 Orange Bowl 110
30 1978 Gator Bowl 115
31 Orange Pants and Shoes 118
32 Clemson's First Ail-American 125
33 1978 Season 126
34 1951 Orange Bowl 131
35 1989 Florida State v. Clemson 134
36 1986 Georgia v. Clemson 137
37 2003 FSU Win 138
38 1979 Notre Dame Game 141
39 1977-The Catch 143
40 The Catch II 147
41 1988 Citrus Bowl 151
42 1989 Citrus Bowl 152
43 Head Coach Dabo Swinney 155
44 Tajh Boyd 164
45 Sammy Watkins 168
46 Brian Dawkins 172
47 Anthony Simmons 174
48 Fan-Mania and the Tiger Paw 176
49 Perry-Turtle 180
50 Terry Allen 183
51 Joe Blalock 185
52 Frank Johnstone Jervey 187
53 Rodney Williams 189
54 Homer Jordan 191
55 Raymond Priester 194
56 The Humor of Frank Howard 197
57 2011 ACC Champions 199
58 The Perry Brothers-The "Fridge" and Michael Dean 201
59 Bennie Cunningham 204
60 Woody Dantzler 208
61 Da'Quan Bowers 211
62 Dwayne Allen 214
63 Chris Gardocki 217
64 ACC Trifecta 1986-88 220
65 1981: Clemson 29, South Carolina 13 221
66 2003: Clemson 63, South Carolina 17 224
67 2004: Clemson 29, South Carolina 7 226
68 2007: Clemson 23, South Carolina 21 228
69 1992 Virginia Game 231
70 1959 Sugar Bowl 233
71 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl 237
72 Panthers Meet the Tigers 241
73 1977 Gator Bowl 243
74 Josh Cody 247
75 E.J. Stewart 251
76 Charley Pell 254
77 1952 Gator Bowl 257
78 Bruce McClure 259
79 Bubba Brown 262
80 2013 Georgia Win 264
81 2000 USC Win 269
82 1995 USC Game 271
83 1997 USC Game 273
84 Charlie Whitehurst 276
85 Andre Ellington 280
86 Hootie Ingram 282
87 Red Parker 285
88 Daniel Rodriguez 289
89 1957 Orange Bowl 292
90 Dwight Clark 295
91 1979 Peach Bowl 298
92 2013 FSU Loss 299
93 2013 USC Game 303
94 2009 USC Game 306
95 Kalon Davis 307
96 Buck George 309
97 Tommy Bowden 311
98 Ken Hatfield 314
99 Tommy West 316
100 Big Thursday 319
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 Things Clemson Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die is a fun compilation of 100 stories and events and individuals around Clemson's football program's history. When I was a kid, I received Lou Sahadi's book about Clemson's 1981 national title team. Though an outsider, he quickly developed a real enthusiasm for Clemson and its people, who showed him unusual kindness. It showed in that book, and in this compilation. Though the entries are focused a lot on the recent Dabo Swinney years, he does highlight just about every head coach, and most of the famous players pre - Danny Ford / modern era years. He understands the importance of the South Carolina rivalry, notable bowl games, the Florida State rivalry too. There are a few factual errors and some of the text seems misplace, for instance in the entry on Tommy Bowden, but otherwise this is a fine book for any Clemson fan to learn the history of the football program.
I have been part of the Clemson family all my life. My great grandfather transferred from the school that later became Auburn to be in Clemson's first graduating class, then taught horticulture there for 30 years. My great, great grandfather was the first President of the college before they had students. My mom grew up in a house next door to Frank Howard. My grandfather was in the class of 1927, or he would have been an All-American athlete. This book still taught me a number of things that I didn't realize about Clemson.