National Championship Tale of the Tape

The 2016 season’s College Football Playoff national championship game will be a repeat of the 2015 game:  the University of Alabama (Southeastern Conference champion) versus Clemson University (Atlantic Coast Conference champion).  Each team has a rich history.  The following contains some facts about each school: first football season, overall record, national championships (Awarded by the Associated Press and/or the designated coaches’ poll at the time. Claimed titles while on probation do not count.), conference titles, consensus All-Americans (players voted first team, second team, or third team by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation), players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame, and Heisman Trophy winners.


  1. Alabama Crimson Tide


First Season:                                                    1892

Overall Record:                                               872-309-41

National Championships:                             16

Conference Titles:                                           30

Consensus All-Americans:                             61

College Hall of Famers:                                  24

Heisman Trophy Winners:                            2


  1. Clemson Tigers

First Season:                                                    1896

Overall Record:                                               715-456-45

National Championships:                              1

Conference Titles:                                           22

Consensus All-Americans:                             27

College Hall of Famers:                                   6

Heisman Trophy Winners:                             0



Last year’s game between the schools saw a lot of offense and great plays throughout the game:  Alabama prevailed 45-40.  This year, both teams boast mobile quarterbacks and great defenses.  The odds makers have made the Crimson Tide a 6.5 point favorite, and the game should be an old fashioned donnybrook.  Make no mistake about it—blood, sweat, and tears will accompany this game.  Fierce battles will take place in the trenches. Spectacular plays will be made on both sides of the ball.  The coaches will be on edge and quick to anger.  The tension will mount with each play as the game progresses.  Only one team will walk away victorious.  Will it be the Crimson Tide or the Tigers?  Whoa Nellie! Let’s bring it on!


College Football 247Sports Composite Recruiting Rankings for 2012-2016


College football recruiting determines the success or failure of any program.  Successful schools recruit very well and a number of recruiting sources analyze just how well these schools recruit over the course of a specific period.  The recruiting site 247Sports compiles a composite list of school rankings that include the lists from Scout, Rivals,, and its own. These services compile team rankings based on the number of athletes a school signs who are ranked using a star system; for example, the highest ranking is a five-star, then four-star, three- star and two-star.   Simplistically, the more high star athletes a school signs the higher that school will be ranked. Conversely, a school signing athletes who are ranked as three stars and two stars will receive a lower ranking. However, the Composite Rating system is much more complicated than that. A degree from MIT may help someone understand the system.

According to the website:

The 247Sports Composite Rating is a proprietary algorithm that compiles prospect “rankings” and “ratings” listed in the public domain by the major media recruiting services. It converts average industry ranks and ratings into a linear composite index capping at 1.0000, which indicates a consensus No. 1 prospect across all services.

The 247Sports Composite Rating is the industry’s most comprehensive and unbiased prospect ranking and is also used to generate 247Sports Team Recruiting Rankings.

All major media services share an equal percentage in the 247Sports Composite Rating.

The composite index equally weights this percentage among the services that participate in a ranking for that specific prospect.


Interpret this as you will but the 247Sports Composite list is widely regarded by media and college football personnel as the gospel when it comes to college football team recruiting rankings.

The Top 25 list for 2016 follows:

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. LSU
  4. Ohio State
  5. Michigan
  6. Mississippi
  7. Georgia
  8. Southern California
  9. Auburn
  10. Clemson
  11. Texas
  12. UCLA
  13. Florida
  14. Tennessee
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Stanford
  17. Baylor
  18. Texas A&M
  19. Penn State
  20. Oklahoma
  21. Miami
  22. Michigan State
  23. TCU
  24. Nebraska
  25. Arkansas

The 247Sports Composite List from 2012-2015 follows:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Florida State
  4. LSU
  5. Southern California
  6. Florida—Tie with Georgia
  7. Georgia
  8. Auburn
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Notre Dame—Tie with Texas
  11. Texas
  12. UCLA
  13. Tennessee
  14. Clemson
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Miami
  17. Michigan
  18. Oregon
  19. South Carolina
  20. Mississippi
  21. Stanford
  22. Virginia Tech
  23. Mississippi State—Tie with Arkansas
  24. Arkansas
  25. Washington

When you analyze this year’s rankings with the composite from the last four years, you see the same teams, albeit in different order. Oregon and South Carolina slipped this year while Mississippi, Michigan and Baylor seem to be moving up. The Southeastern Conference had nine out of the Top 25 in 2016 and 11 out of the Top 25 the prior four years. Clearly, a school must make a commitment to a winning program in order to recruit the best athletes.  This means top-notch facilities; high paid head coaches and assistants; large recruiting budgets; financial assistance from alumni, fans,and donors;  leniency from the school’s admissions group from time to time; and classes that allow athletes to be successful both on and off the field.  The vast majority of schools cannot or will not make such a commitment, so look for the same 15 or so schools to be competing for spots in the College Football Playoff system over the next few years.




Paul Johnson Has Work to Do


Photo by Michael Schneider

Photo by Michael Schneider

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Division has some new and powerful blood among the coaching ranks, which just made Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s job much more difficult.  Unless Johnson recruits better players and/or hires better coaches, his time at Tech may come to an end sooner than later.  Johnson has coached the Yellow Jackets since 2008, has compiled a 61-44 overall record, and a 38-26 mark in the Coastal Division, finishing first or second six out of his eight seasons on the Flats.

The new coaches in the division are Mark Richt at the University of Miami, Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech, and Bronco Mendenhall at the University of Virginia. Before examining some statistics from Johnson’s eight years at Tech, a brief examination of how Johnson has fared against the current coaches in the Coastal Division requires an examination.

Johnson has a record of 6-2 against David Cutcliffe at Duke University, but Cutcliffe has won the last two meetings against Johnson’s Yellow Jackets.  Larry Fedora of the University of North Carolina, fresh off the 2015 Coastal Division title, is 2-2 versus Johnson, with wins the last two years.  Pat Narduzzi came to the University of Pittsburgh before the 2015 season after a long and successful run as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State University.  From 2011-2014, Narduzzi’ s Michigan State defenses were the only ones ranked every year in the Football Bowl Subdivision Top 10 in total defense and rushing defense.  In Narduzzi’s first season, he led Pitt to the school’s most wins, 8, since 2010.  In Johnson’s only game against Narduzzi, Pitt won 31-28.

While at the University of Georgia, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs defeated Johnson’s Yellow Jackets six out of eight times, including this year’s 13-7 victory.  Tech is 2-6 against the University of Miami in the Johnson era, and if one combines that with Richt’s dominance while at Georgia, it would seem that Johnson will have a very difficult time beating Miami.  Bronco Mendenhall’s Brigham Young University teams easily defeated Johnson’s Tech teams in 2012 and 2013, with the closest deficit being 18 points.  Johnson sports a 5-3 record against Virginia, which has not had a winning season since 2011.  Johnson will have to do a better of job scheming against Mendenhall than the two games against Mendenhall while he was at BYU.  Johnson’s teams have struggled mightily against the Virginia Tech defenses of Bud Foster.  Georgia Tech is 2-6 against Virginia Tech in the Johnson era.  Virginia Tech now has one of the most sought after coaches in college football, Justin Fuente.  Fuente, considered an offensive wizard, took over a University of Memphis program that had won only five games in the prior three seasons.  Within three years Fuente brought Memphis a winning season and a bowl victory.  Under Fuente, Memphis finished 19-6 the last two years.  One of Fuente’s first moves as the Virginia Tech coach was to retain Bud Foster as the defensive coordinator.  With Fuente’s offensive genius and Foster’s defensive wizardry, Johnson will find victories over the Hokies to be a challenge.

Paul Johnson has no peers with his knowledge of the triple option. According to, Tech’s offenses have generally been very prolific.  In the Johnson era, his teams have finished in the Top 5 in the country in rushing offense every year (except 2015).  This is out of 128 or 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools, depending on the year.  In scoring offense, Tech has finished 21st or better in four of Johnson’s seasons, while in total offense Tech has finished 44th or better in six of eight seasons, including two Top 20 finishes.  However, Tech’s defenses and special teams have struggled most years under Johnson.

Three defensive coordinators have served Tech under Johnson.  Tech’s best defense came in 2008, Johnson’s first year.  With players recruited by former coach Chan Gailey, the unit finished 25th in the country in total defense and 28th in scoring defense.  Since then, Tech has finished no better than 53rd in scoring defense and 43rd in total defense (except for the 2013 season, 29th and 28th, respectively).  Again, this is according to and the rankings are based on 128 or 120 teams, depending on the year.

Special teams play can influence the outcome of a game, and generally, Tech’s units have recorded poor results, according to  Punt and kickoff returns help to establish field position, while punt and kickoff coverage can effect field position as well, thereby making it more difficult for opposing offenses to score because of the length of the field they must navigate. From a punt unit standpoint, Tech has had one very good season, 2012, finishing 17th in the country in punt returns and 14th in opponents’ punt returns (OPR).  The 2009 punt return unit finished 10th and scored two touchdowns but the OPR finish was only 43rd.  In Johnson’s other six seasons, the punt return units have finished no better than 53rd and the OPR units have finished no better than 39th, with three of the units finishing 64th or worse.  The kickoff units have been dreadful for almost every season during the Johnson era.  The Kickoff Return units have finished 47th or worse—four units finished 96th or worse—every year except 2012, when the unit finished 27th.  The Opponents’ Kickoff Return units have finished 41st or worse—three units finished 101st or worse—every year except 2010, when the unit finished 18th.

The above statistics are not meant to give an exhaustive statistical indication of Tech’s strengths and weaknesses under Johnson but do offer a fair account of some of the units’ strengths and weaknesses over the years.  While Johnson’s offenses amass large amounts of yardage and points, the defensive and special teams play have generally been detrimental to Johnson’s overall record.  Maybe Johnson can improve his defenses and special teams with better athletes on those units and/or better coaching.

His strategy to this point seems to be to score as many points as he can and hope that is enough to win.  With the stable of capable coaches in the Coastal Division, Johnson’s chances of using this strategy to win games will more than likely lead to more losses.  Of course, he still has to find a way to beat Clemson and Georgia.  The bottom line:  Johnson must continue to maintain highly productive offenses and consistently develop strong defenses and special teams or he will force Athletics Director Mike Bobinski to make an unpleasant decision.


Clemson Traditions


Death Valley, Orange Tiger Paws, and Howard’s Rock. No doubt about it…we’re on the campus of Clemson University. In another installment of college traditions, we’ll explore the origins of the Tiger nickname, Death Valley, and Howard’s Rock.

Clemson fielded its first football team in 1896. Coach Walter Merritt Riggs brought the Tiger nickname and purple and orange colors from his alma mater Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, now known as Auburn University. Riggs began the Clemson program with old equipment from Auburn. The nickname and colors stuck and the first Tiger mascot began entertaining fans in 1954 when a student dressed in a costume tiger suit began parading around the sidelines and mocking the opposition and referees while sitting in a lawn chair in the end zone.

The Tiger mascot began a tradition in 1978 that takes place all around the nation today. After each score at a football game, the mascot performed push ups equal to the total points Clemson had scored during the game. The game record is 465 push ups completed in a 1981 contest against Wake Forest. During a particularly explosive day for the Clemson offense, the mascot wearing a 45 pound Tiger costume can lose 10 to 12 pounds a game!

Clemson Memorial Stadium became known as Death Valley in 1948 after the football coach from Presbyterian College told sports writers that his team had to go play Clemson in Death Valley where his teams rarely scored. The name took off in the 1950s when Clemson coach Frank Howard repeatedly referred to the stadium as Death Valley.

In the early 1960s, Howard received a rock from Death Valley, California from a Clemson alumnus. Howard used it as a doorstop until 1966 when a Clemson employee placed the rock on a pedestal at the top of the east end zone hill that the team ran down to get to the field. The players ran by the rock for the first time on September 24, 1966 before beating Virginia, but the tradition of players rubbing the rock before each game began on September 23, 1967 before a victory against Wake Forest. Howard realized the motivational aspect of the rock and told his players that if they gave 110 percent they could receive the privilege of rubbing the rock. Now, every Tiger player rubs the rock on his way down the hill before thousands of screaming Clemson fans.

The rock receives special attention the 24 hours before the South Carolina game. ROTC cadets stand guard over it and maintain a steady drum cadence that can be heard across campus. Just goes to show that you can never trust your arch rivals!

From the Death Valley mystique, to Howard’ s Rock, to the Tiger mascot, Clemson boasts several timeless traditions that help make college football the exciting sport that it is.  Go Tigers!

Clemson-Georgia Tech Gridiron Memories


The Clemson University Tigers and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Tech) Yellow Jackets have played 79 football games against the other, the first taking place in 1898. Tech leads the series 50-27-2. For some undocumented reason, the schools played 29 games in Atlanta from 1902 through 1973, and after one game in Clemson in 1974, the series returned to Atlanta the next three years. The series ended briefly after 1977 but resumed in 1983 when both schools competed as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Tech and Clemson have met every year since then with each winning 16 games. The two schools actually met in the ACC Championship game in 2009 but the National Collegiate Athletic Association vacated Tech’s victory and ACC title after it found Tech used an ineligible player during the last three games of the season. The Tech-Clemson rivalry ranks as one of the South’s oldest and has produced some poignant memories.

In 1902, for example, Clemson coach, John Heisman, played a ruse on the Tech program worthy of a Broadway production. The day before the game between the two schools, Heisman sent a group of Clemson students by train to Atlanta with the instructions to pose as football players and conspicuously party the night away. The day of the game, members of the Tech program received word of the actions of the fake Clemson players and assumed they would be in no shape to compete on the gridiron. Unbeknownst to Tech, Heisman had his real players stay at a hotel in nearby Lula, Georgia. Much to the surprise and chagrin of the Tech team, the well-rested Clemson boys routed the Yellow Jackets, 44-5.

After the 1903 Clemson team routed Tech 73-0, the largest margin of victory for either team, Tech lured Heisman to Atlanta with a 25 percent pay raise. Heisman coached on the Flats for 16 years, overseeing 102 wins, three undefeated seasons, the 1917 national championship, and the beginning of Tech’s 15-game winning streak over the Tigers.

In 1977, Tech officials announced the series would end after the game that year. According to an SB Nation article, Clemson faithful bemoaned the thought of not staying in and enjoying Atlanta, at least every other year. Clemson booster George Bennett concocted a plan that he hoped would convince Tech and Atlanta officials that a game with the Tigers in Atlanta would be an economic boost for the city. For the 1977 game, Bennett encouraged Clemson supporters to pay all of their expenses in Atlanta with two-dollar bills stamped with tiger paws. While the plan did nothing to change the minds of Tech or Atlanta officials, it did spur a road/bowl tradition—the Two Dollar Tiger Bill.

After Tech joined the ACC in 1983, Clemson won four out of the first seven games. The 1990 game marked only the third time in series history that both schools were ranked in the polls (1959 and 1984 were the previous encounters), Clemson 15th and Tech 18th. Tech led 14-3 at halftime on two touchdown passes from Tech quarterback Shawn Jones but the Tigers repeatedly moved the ball in the second half only to settle for field goals. With the score 14-12, Tech’s Kevin Tisdel returned a kickoff 87 yards to set up a T.J. Edwards touchdown run to make the score 21-12. Clemson took the ensuing kickoff and drove all the way to the Tech one-yard line before the Tech defense held on fourth down. After a Tech fumble on the Tech 41-yard line, Clemson scored on a DeChane Cameron 3-yard run with 3:27 left in the game to make the score 21-19. After Tech punted, Clemson had one last chance, but All-American kicker Chris Gardocki missed a 60-yard field goal at the end of the game. Tech’s win that day proved pivotal as the Jackets would become the United Press International’s national champions at season’s end.

Six games from 1996-2001were all decided by three points, Tech won four of those. Clemson came to Atlanta in 2001 ranked 25th to face off against the 9th ranked Yellow Jackets. Both offenses marched up and down the field but Tech had no answer for Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler. With 15 seconds before halftime, Dantzler scored on a 38-yard run that became known in Clemson annals as the “Hail Mary Run.” Regulation ended tied at 41, and after a Tech field goal in overtime, Dantzler worked his magic again by scoring from the Tech 11-yard line on third-and-six for a 47-44 Tiger victory.

Clemson’s last victory in Atlanta came in 2003 when Coach Tommy Bowden led the Tigers to a rout of the Chan Gailey-coached Yellow Jackets, 39-3. Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst passed for 298 yards and three touchdowns. The rout marked Clemson’s largest victory over Tech subsequent to the Heisman-led 73-0 pasting in 1903.

Since 2003, Tech has won eight out of the twelve games, including the 2009 ACC Championship contest. In the 2014 game at Grant Field, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Tigers’ offense left the game with a first-quarter knee injury. The Tech defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns, held the Tigers to 190 yards of total offense, and the Yellow Jackets cruised to a 28-6 win.

One of the South’s oldest rivalries will add another chapter this Saturday in Death Valley. The oddsmakers favor Clemson by more than a touchdown but don’t be surprised if the outcome of the contest comes down to a final bit of trickery. John Heisman would not have it any other way.


The Holy Trinity of Georgia Tech Football


Courtesy of UserB

Courtesy of UserB

In the 120+-year history of Georgia Tech (Tech) football, three coaches have accounted for nearly 60 percent of the school’s overall wins. From 1904 through 1966, John Heisman, William Alexander, and Bobby Dodd led the program to more than 400 wins and three national championships. For over 60 years, Tech was a football power. Since this era, Tech has produced some very good teams– the most notable being the 1990 national champions–but has not enjoyed the sustained success that these three men engineered. Each man had his own coaching style and personality, but they share a common thread: the ability to win football games. Meet the Holy Trinity of Georgia Tech football.

John Heisman coached Tech from 1904 -1919, compiling a 102-29-7 record. Heisman honed his skills while playing at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in the 1890s. He earned a law degree at Penn but decided coaching football was more satisfying. Heisman started his coaching career at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1892, moved to Buchtel College (now the University of Akron) and then back to Oberlin before heading south to coach the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) in 1895 and Clemson University in 1900. Heisman left Tech after the 1919 season to coach Penn. He and his wife divorced and as part of the settlement, Heisman agreed not to reside in the same city as his wife, who chose to remain in Atlanta. After Penn, Heisman coached at Washington & Jefferson University and Rice University before becoming the director of athletics at the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) in New York. The DAC began awarding a trophy to the nation’s best college football player in 1935. Upon Heisman’s death in 1936, the trophy became known as the Heisman Memorial Trophy.

Heisman was a demanding perfectionist and keen strategist. He loathed fumbling and would tell his players at the beginning of pre-season practice while holding up a football, “Better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.” His teams employed the jump shift,the forerunner to the T and I formations; lateral passes; backward passes; reverses; onside kicks and sweeps with pulling guards. His players did not huddle and the quarterback would shout a play or series of plays at the line of scrimmage. Heisman is also credited with developing the center/quarterback exchange to begin a play and leading the battle to legalize the forward pass.

From 1915-1918, Heisman’s Tech teams were 30-1-2 –the University of Pittsburgh beat Tech in 1918. The 1917 team went 9-0 and won the national championship.

Probably the most memorable contest of Heisman’s Tech coaching career was a game against Cumberland College in 1916. Heisman also coached baseball at Tech and he agreed to take his 1916 baseball team to Nashville to play Cumberland College. Cumberland embarrassed Heisman’s team 22-0, allegedly using pro players against Tech’s college kids. Even though Cumberland had dropped its football program before the 1916 season for economic reasons, Heisman was determined to avenge the baseball loss and demonstrate to sportswriters the folly of awarding the national championship to the highest-scoring team. Heisman offered Cumberland a $500 guarantee and an all-expenses-paid trip to Atlanta if they would honor their agreement to play Tech in football. Cumberland accepted and produced 16 players, mostly members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity with little knowledge of football. The game lasted 45 minutes and Tech scored 32 touchdowns in the 222-0 rout.

Unlike Heisman, William Alexander, also known as Alex, began and ended his coaching career at Tech. Alexander came to Tech to study engineering in 1906 as a 16-year-old boy. He walked on to the Tech football team in 1908 and played sparingly under Heisman. However, Heisman must have seen something in Alexander because he added Alex to the coaching staff after Alex’s senior season. Upon Heisman’s departure to Penn, Alexander became Tech’s head coach, serving from 1920-1944. He compiled a 134-95-15 record, won the 1928 national championship, and was the first coach to place a team in all four of the major bowls of the time: the Rose in 1929, the Orange in 1940, the Cotton in 1943, and the Sugar in 1944.

Alex was regarded as a tough taskmaster and a man of high character who rarely lost his poise. He was a fierce defender of his players. After Tech lost a game to Alabama on a last-minute interception return for a touchdown, an assistant coach began verbally abusing some of the players in the locker room after the game. Upon hearing the assistant’s tirade, Alex told him to leave and declared, “This is your team only when it wins. Now it’s my team. Get out before I throw you out.”

After disappointing seasons in 1929 and 1930, Alexander sought a bright young assistant. In the middle of the 1930 season, Alex sent assistant Mac Tharpe to Knoxville to scout the North Carolina -Tennessee game. Tharpe’s car broke down en route and he did not arrive in Knoxville until after the game. Tharpe hoped to receive an analysis of Carolina from Tennessee head coach Bob Neyland, but Neyland directed Tharpe to quarterback Bobby Dodd. Tharpe reported back to Alexander that, “Dodd’s analysis of Carolina is better than any scouting report that I could have made.”

Alex hired Dodd as an assistant coach in December of 1930. Dodd said of Alexander, “Coach Alex was wonderful to me. He could growl and snap, but when it came to an emergency, he was our guy. He enabled me to purchase the home my family and I lived in so many years. And he did the same thing for our black trainer, Porto Rico.”

Bobby Dodd worked for Alexander as an assistant for 14 years before succeeding him as head coach in 1945. Dodd coached Tech from 1945-1966 and had a record of 165-64-8. He guided Tech to a 31-game winning streak from 1951-53, including a 12-0 season and a national championship in 1952. Also in the 1950s, Dodd engineered an eight-game winning streak against arch rival Georgia, the longest Tech streak in the series. After coaching, he remained at Tech as athletics director until 1976, then as an alumni association consultant until his death in 1988.

Generally, Dodd believed in taking it easy on his players during practices (although, numerous exceptions can be documented). He rarely left his team bruised and battered after practice–some coaches believed this method would toughen the players for the upcoming game. Instead, Dodd left his players physically and mentally piqued to give it their all on Saturday. Instead of being among the players during practice, Dodd stood in a tower overlooking the field while his assistants ran the practices.

Bobby Dodd never graduated from Tennessee, something he deeply regretted. So he constantly preached and demanded education. He provided tutors for players struggling in the classroom and badgered them until they earned their diploma. He also approved of marriage for his players while most coaches frowned on the players being married so young.   Dodd believed that the wives would police their husbands and felt confident that he knew where his married players were every night.

Bobby Dodd was arguably one of the greatest football coaches of all time. Furman Bisher wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Robert Lee Dodd brought a different style to coaching, an emphasis on craftsmanship, finesse, well-rehearsed execution and sideline genius. Many a time have I heard it said, ‘Bobby Dodd was the best sideline coach I ever saw.’”

The Holy Trinity brought football fame and recognition to the Flats for over half a century. Heisman, Alexander, and Dodd are names that will forever be linked to the halcyon days of Georgia Tech football.

Clemson-Georgia Football Rivalry

“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.”