Feeding the football need (part I)

Unfortunately it's that time of the year again. You know, that time of year when you turn on the television hoping to find a good game and all you have to choose from is one of the million baseball games that are on, maybe some golf or tennis.

Sure, there is beach volleyball, but that kind of entertainment can only go for so long. What it boils down to is that we all miss football, especially Clemson football. This is the only time of the year when football news is minimal so it makes waiting these final 80 days or so seems more like waiting for Christmas Day when you were a child.

Anyway, with all that in mind, CUTigers will try to feed the need with some of the best moments in Clemson football.

Today, we start with the late 1970's. This was the era that led up to the 1981 National Championship and began the great run of the 1980s.

You remember the great players of that era, right? Steve Fuller, Jerry Butler, Dwight Clark, Steve Ryan, Rex Varn, Joe and Jeff Bostic, Lester Brown, Jim Stuckey, Randy Scott and Bubba Brown to name a few. Well, here are some of their great moments and lasting memories of their legacy at Clemson.

September 17, 1977
Athens, Ga.
Clemson 7, Georgia 6

Clemson, under the direction of first-year head coach Charlie Pell, defeated the Bulldogs 7-6. It marked the Tigers first victory at Georgia since 1914.

Clemson's only score came in the third quarter as a Fuller to Butler hookup put the ball at the Bulldog 23. Two plays later and facing a third-and-10, Fuller hit Clark for a 17-yard gain to the six. Brown punched the ball in from three yards out and the Tigers led 7-0.

After Georgia missed a 29-yard field goal during the fourth quarter, the Tigers took the ball on a six-minute drive and seemed to be on the verge of running out the clock. However, a Fuller fumble of a wet ball gave the Bulldogs new life with just 29 seconds on the clock and on their own 42-yard-line.

True to the form of this great rivalry, the Bulldogs mustered up one last charge. Pyburn passed behind the line of scrimmage to tight end Ulysses Norris, who then heaved a 51-yard pass to Jesse Murray to the Clemson seven-yard-line.

Two plays later, the Bulldogs scored when Pyburn hit Norris in the back of the Clemson end zone to make the score 7-6. With just six seconds left to play, the Bulldogs lined up for a two-point conversion to go for the win. Georgia was penalized five yards on the conversion attempt for being offsides. Despite the extra five yards, Georgia still decided to again try for two points, but the pass fell incomplete in as Clemson held on for the critical win.

November 19, 1977
Columbia, S.C.
Clemson 31, South Carolina 27

After building a 24-0 lead, Clemson watched rival South Carolina storm back to take a 27-24 lead inside two minutes to play. Behind Fuller's direction, Clemson matched down the field and find itself at the USC 20-yard line, when Butler made a leaping, twisting 20-yard catch in the end zone with 49 seconds to go to give the Tigers the victory.

November 18, 1978
College Park, Md.
Clemson 28, Maryland 24

No. 12 Clemson clinched the ACC title for the first time since 1967 with a thrilling 28-24 victory at No. 11 Maryland. Fuller had touchdown passes of 87 yards to Butler and 62 yards to Clark. The game also included a 98-yard touchdown run by Maryland's Steve Atkins, the longest run against Clemson in history.

November 25, 1978
Clemson, S.C.
Clemson 41, South Carolina 23

Clemson fans used the South Upper Deck for the first time in No. 10 Clemson's 41-23 victory over the Gamecocks. The win clinched Clemson's first 10-win season since 1948 as three running backs went over 100 yards in the same game for the first time since 1950.

December 29, 1978
Jacksonville, Fla.
Clemson 17, Ohio State 15

Danny Ford got his first win as Clemson's head coach, while Woody Hayes' punch to Clemson lineman Charlie Bauman proved to be his last act as Ohio State's head coach. Hayes, 65 at the time, was fired the next day.

Lost in all of this was No. 7 Clemson's 17-15 victory over the No. 20 Buckeyes in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Cliff Austin scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown for the Tigers, while Bauman sealed the victory by intercepting an Art Schlichter pass in the final two minutes. Bauman was tackled out of bounds and after being helped up by Hayes, the legendary coach then punched him.

November 16, 1979
South Bend, Ind.
Clemson 16, Notre Dame 10

Danny Ford beat his third soon to be Hall of Fame coach in just his 11th game as head coach as he beat Dan Devine's Irish 16-10. The No. 14 Tigers rallied from a 10-0 deficit to give Ford wins over Hayes, Georgia head coach Vince Dooley and of course Devine. It was just a sign of things to come in the next 10 years at Clemson.

Obed Ariri kicked three field goals and Billy Lott ran 26 yards for the winning touchdown as the Tigers became just the third team in 40 yards to beat Notre Dame on senior day.

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