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This Day In Clemson Sports – December 29, 1978

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With the 2001 Gator Bowl around the corner, ClemsonTigers.com and Clemson: Where the Tigers Play will be reliving Clemson’s four previous Gator Bowl wins leading up to the this season’s game in This Day In Clemson Sports. This Day In Clemson Sports has been provided to ClemsonTigers.com by the authors of the book, Clemson: Where the Tigers Play. Three members of the Clemson Athletic family wrote the book: Associate Sports Information Director Sam Blackman, the late Sports Information Director Emeritus Bob Bradley and Men’s Tennis Coach Chuck Kriese.

December 29, 1978 – Clemson 17, Ohio State 15 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, changed head coaches 19 days before the Gator Bowl, and ended the coaching career of Woody Hayes.

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. 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.

Clemson: Where the Tigers Play, covers the major events that have occurred in over a century of athletic competition. From Frank Howard’s homespun humor to the National Championships Clemson has won in various sports, this book gives the many details of the Tigers at play.

For more information on purchasing the book contact Sam Blackman: Phone – 864.639.4400blackmj@clemson.edu

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