Gator Bowl

1978

 

Clemson 17

Ohio State 15

Clemson Fight Song

 

The Clemson team of 1978 was notable for many reasons, not the least of which was a 17-15 victory over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. The '78 team won 11 games (eight by convincing margins), had the nation's longest winning streak after the bowl game and changed head coaches 19 days before the Gator Bowl

The first quarter of new Clemson coach Danny Ford's first game was scoreless, although Ohio State had been stopped at the Clemson one-yard line on a fourth-down play. The second quarter was unusual in that there were four possessions in the stanza and each team scored twice. Ohio State drove to the Clemson nine on the passing of Art Schlichter, but the Buckeyes had to settle for Bob Atha's 27-yard field goal.
Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller engineered an impressive 80-yard, 15-play drive after the kickoff. Staying mostly on the ground, Fuller himself ran around left end from four yards out to give Clemson the lead. Obed Ariri's point after made the score 7-3.

Schlichter duplicated Fuller's feat nine plays later, but Clemson right end Steve Gibbs blocked Vlade Janakiewski's extra point try, leaving Ohio State in the lead, 9-7. Clemson got the ball back with 1:15 remaining in the quarter and Fuller passed his way to the Buckeye 30. With only five seconds left, Ariri hit a 47-yard field goal that gave the Tigers a 10-9 lead at halftime.

Clemson scored the only points of the third quarter as the running combination of Fuller, Marvin Sims, and Warren Ratchford grounded out 83 yards in 18 plays. Cliff Austin went the final yard for the score, and Ariri's conversion gave Clemson a 17-9 cushion.

With 8:11 left in the game, Schlichter scored his second touchdown to bring Ohio State within two points. Jim Stuckey tackled Schlichter on a sweep to prevent the two-point play, and Clemson still led at 17-15.

Ohio State mounted one final drive. Faced with third-and-five at the Clemson 24, an interception by second-team middle guard Charlie Bauman (the only theft of his four-year career) killed the drive. Bauman was run out-of-bounds on the Ohio State sideline, and Buckeye coach Woody Hayes swung at the Clemson player (video). Consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties gave Clemson excellent field position, and Fuller was able to run out the clock, giving Clemson its first win over a Big Ten team.


Woody Hayes made the worst mistake of his legendary career: The 65-year-old Ohio State coach slugged an opposing player. Bo Schembechler, then Michigan's head coach and a former Ohio State assistant, was attending the Big Ten dinner of champions in Southern California. "I was in the Rose Bowl that year," he said Sunday. "I was sitting at the head table and (Big Ten Commissioner) Wayne Duke came up and said Woody had just hit a Clemson player. And I knew then, I said, "Geez, it's over. The morning after the 17-15 defeat, Hayes was fired. He never coached again. He also never apologized to Bauman for hitting him.

 

Hayes and the moment of truth.

 

The Buckeye bench restrains Hayes.

 

Attendance- 72,011

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter
OSU- FG Atha 27
CU- Fuller 4 yd run (Ariri kick)
OSU- Schlichter 4 yd run (kick failed)
CU- FG Ariri 47

Third Quarter
CU- Austin 1 yd run (Ariri kick)

Fourth Quarter
OSU- Schlichter 1 yd run (run failed)

Individual Statistics

Rushing
OSU- Schlichter 18-70, Springs 10-42, Campbell 11-26
CU- Ratchford 10-54, Perry 14-54, Fuller 17-38, Sims 8-34

Passing
OSU- Schlichter 16-20-205
CU- Fuller 9-20-123

Receiving
OSU- Donley 3-44, Gerald 3-33, Barwig 2-51, Hunter 2-49
CU- Butler 4-44, Tuttle 3-41, Clark 1-28
 

Home

Next