“Like going to war” describes this college football series. Names like Herschel, Perry, Dooley, and Ford evoke memories of classic battles that propelled the winner to a magical season. The latest battle between Georgia and Clemson will take place under the lights in Death Valley on August 31. Field Generals Aaron Murray and Taj Boyd will try to lead their respective teams to victory. The winner will certainly be in the mix for the national championship while the loser will have an uphill battle to remain in the hunt for a BCS bowl game. Before we settle in to watch this game, let’s take a quick look at the 1980 and 1981 games that led to an undefeated and national championship season for the winner.
The 1980 game can be called the Scott Woerner show. Woerner started on the Georgia bench, but with less than two minutes into the game he fielded a punt on his own 33 yard line and outran the Clemson defenders to give Georgia a 7-0 lead. Clemson moved the ball on Georgia for most of the first half. After a 13-play drive ended in a missed field goal in the second quarter, Clemson began an 11-play drive that secured the UGA 11 yard line. On the 12th play, Woerner jumped in front of a Homer Jordan pass and raced 98 yards to the Clemson 1 before being tackled. The subsequent touchdown gave the Dawgs a 14-0 lead at the half. Georgia would never relinquish the lead in securing a 20-16 victory between the Hedges. Clemson outgained Georgia by over 180 yards but could not contain Scott Woerner. Woerner and his teammates finished the season 12 and 0 and earned the national championship with a win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
In 1981, Clemson exacted a measure of revenge. Clemson forced nine turnovers in the 13 to 3 Tiger victory. An interception by Tim Childers set up the only touchdown of the game…an eight yard pass from Homer Jordan to Perry Tuttle. Clemson kicker Donald Igwebuike kicked a field goal in the second quarter and another in the fourth. Georgia kicker Kevin Butler accounted for the lone Georgia score with a field goal early in the third quarter. Georgia out gained Clemson but could not overcome the nine turnovers. Clemson finished the season 12 and 0 and was anointed national champions with a victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
I hope this whets your appetite for the latest battle between the Dawgs and the Tigers. And in the immortal words of broadcaster Keith Jackson–“These two teams just don’t like one another.”