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.
OSU- FG Atha 27
CU- Fuller 4 yd run (Ariri kick)
OSU- Schlichter 4 yd run (kick failed)
CU- FG Ariri 47
CU- Austin 1 yd run (Ariri kick)
OSU- Schlichter 1 yd run (run failed)
OSU- Schlichter 18-70, Springs 10-42, Campbell 11-26
CU- Ratchford 10-54, Perry 14-54, Fuller 17-38, Sims 8-34
OSU- Schlichter 16-20-205
CU- Fuller 9-20-123
OSU- Donley 3-44, Gerald 3-33, Barwig 2-51, Hunter 2-49
CU- Butler 4-44, Tuttle 3-41, Clark 1-28