Feeding the need (part V)

CUTigers.com continues its series of best moments in Clemson football by taking a look at some of the action from 1987.

Clemson produced the first of four straight 10 wins seasons in 1987. From a win percentage and total win standpoint, it was the greatest four-year period in Clemson history as the Tigers posted an impressive 40-8 overall record and beat Penn State, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Illinois in bowl games.

Sept. 19, 1987
Clemson, S.C.
No. 8 Clemson 21, No. 18 Georgia 20

This was perhaps one of the greatest games in the history of this great rivalry. After Clemson's Tracy Johnson rumbled 38 yards for a second-quarter touchdown and David Treadwell kicked three field goals to give Clemson a 16-13 lead in the third quarter, the Tigers found themselves trailing 20-16 late in the game when punter Rusty Seyle's 43-yard punt was downed at the Georgia one-yard line by John Johnson.

However, that play was setup when gunner Chinedu Ohan batted the ball back with his right hand and then had it hit his left foot, which kicked the ball in the air, landing right into Johnson's arms at the one. A few plays later Georgia quarterback James Jackson was stopped in the end zone for a safety on an option play to the left by cornerback James Lott, who fought off a block, and Gene Beasley.

That play, coupled by a magnificent run by freshman running back Terry Allen, setup Treadwell's 21-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Tigers a 21-20 victory. It was the second straight year Treadwell beat Georgia with a last-second kick and the first time Clemson beat Georgia in back-to-back seasons since 1905 and 1906.

Nov. 7, 1987
Chapel Hill, N.C.
No. 10 Clemson 13, North Carolina 10

In a game that would give the winner first place in the ACC standings, Clemson got another game-winning kick from Treadwell as time was expiring. The Tigers also got a 29-yard Rodney Williams to Gary Cooper touchdown pass to inspire a Clemson comeback in front of a sold out Keenan Stadium crowd.

The next week, the Tigers routed Maryland 45-16 in the home finale to improve to 9-1 and clinch their second straight ACC Championship. Williams and Cooper again hooked up for two long touchdowns, while Terry Allen and Wesley McFadden led a strong rushing attack. Defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry was named ACC Player of the Year from a defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in just about every category.

Jan. 1, 1988
Orlando, Fla.
1988 Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Clemson 35, No. 20 Penn State 10

Clemson handed Joe Paterno his worst defeat in a bowl game thanks to a 35-10 victory in which Citrus Bowl MVP Rodney Williams threw for 214 yards and fullback Tracy Johnson rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns in the rout.

Wide receiver Keith Jennings caught seven passes for a career-high 110 yards, while Terry Allen helped Johnson with 105 yards on the ground. In all, Clemson had 499 total yards against the defending national champions, including 285 from the ground.

Defensively, Lott led the team with eight tackles, while Dorian Mariable had five tackles, including one for a loss. However, Mariable also owned the biggest play of the game when he intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 46 yards to preserve Clemson's 14-10 lead at the time. On Clemson ensuing drive, Johnson scored from a yard out and the Tigers never looked back from that point.

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