Feeding the need (part III)

CUTigers.com continues its series of best moments in Clemson football by taking a look at how the Tigers won the 1982 ACC Championship and closed the 1983 season with eight straight wins.

This two-year stretch, coupled with the 1981 season, is still the greatest three-year stretch in Clemson history as the Tigers posted a 30-2-2 record, which ranked No. 1 in college football during that time period.

Nov. 13, 1982
College Park. Md.
No. 11 Clemson 24, No. 18 Maryland 22

Clemson won its second straight ACC title after holding off a late Maryland rally in what was a battle between the final two undefeated teams in the ACC.

After building a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the Tigers watched as the Terps had two quick scores to pull within two points and after a 4-yard punt into to a strong wind by Dale Hatcher gave Maryland the football at the Clemson 21 with a little less than three minutes to play, the Clemson defense came through by recording its fourth turnover of the day when safety Terry Kinard forced a fumble and Reggie Pleasants recovered.

Maryland got the ball back for one last chance, but Billy Davis ended the game with an interception to seal the win. While celebrating the ACC Championship in the locker room, word came down that the Tigers would not participate in a bowl game due to NCAA violations.

The Tigers went on to beat South Carolina the next week and then closed the season with a 21-17 victory over Wake Forest in the Mirage Bowl in Tokyo, Japan. Clemson ended the year with nine straight wins.

Nov. 5, 1983
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Clemson 16, No. 10 North Carolina 3

With a 6-1-1 record, the Clemson Tigers rolled into Keenan Stadium and outmuscled the Tar Heels for a 16-3 victory for their 18th straight ACC win.

Led by head coach Danny Ford, Clemson ended the 1983 season with eight straight wins.
Quarterback Mike Eppley and tight end K.D. Dunn led the way for the Clemson offense, while the defense dominated the UNC offense for its best performance of the year.

Nov. 12, 1983
Clemson, S.C.
No. 17 Clemson 52, No. 11 Maryland 27

By virtue of Clemson's probation for NCAA and ACC violations, Maryland was awarded the ACC Championship in 1983 despite the fact Clemson was the only undefeated team in the conference. Led by quarterback Boomer Esiason the Terrapins came into the battle of top 20 teams with one of the more explosive offenses in the country.

But it was Clemson's offense that rose to the occasion, along with a record-setting 363,729 balloons that were released by Central Spirit Blitz. The Tigers dominated the game as Eppley threw three touchdown passes and Kevin Mack rushed for 186 yards in his final game in Death Valley. He scored his final touchdown with just one shoe on, as he lost during a 56-yard jaunt in the 52-27 victory. After the game, Maryland head coach Bobby Ross basically said the record books may show his squad as the ACC Champion, but the real champions were over in the Clemson locker room.

Nov. 19, 1983
Columbia, S.C.
Clemson 22, South Carolina 13

Clemson closed the 1983 season with its eight straight win thanks to a 22-13 victory over the Gamecocks. It was also the Tigers' fourth straight victory over USC, the longest such streak by Clemson in the rivalry since it won seven straight from 1934-'40.

The win also gave the Tigers a 30-2-2 record over a three-year period since 1981, the best record in college football at the time.

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