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Clemson Classics: Clemson vs. Georgia 1981

We are going to be taking a look at some of the best games in Clemson history.

With Georgia set to come to Death Valley to open the season, we decided to take watch one of the best games against Georgia from a Clemson perspective. The 1981 game became a springboard for Clemson en route to our only national title. Thanks to the mysteries of the internet I've been able to find the complete game, and below are my thoughts on it. I've never seen the game before and all I know about it is the outcome.


Thank God this announcer pronounces Clemson properly. Also notes that the rumor was the team was going to wear purple pants, but instead they are in all orange.

Strange to hear a shout out to a Clemson group in Texas watching the game.

1st Quarter

15:00: Tigers elected to receive despite winning the toss. Bit of a change from what you normally see now.

There is no scoreboard on the broadcast. This shit is stupid, TV has advanced a long way in 30 years. Oh and this is definitely going to be a smashmouth game.

Georgia has a damn good line. Even against our DL they are getting a good 2-3 yard push early on.

Homer Jordan does the first thing resembling offense after about 5 minutes on the classic option QB keeper. And then he follows it up with a completion to Kendal Alley.

And then we fumble it, beautiful. Way to keep the momentum, especially with Herschel Walker getting going.

Rmember those drives when CJ Spiller would just decide he was going to carry the team to the endzone? That's what Walker is doing for Georgia, but he is punching us in the nuts the entire way down the field.

FUMBLE FUMBLE FUMBLE!!! Walker fumbles it 10 yards from the goal line. As big a man as Walker is, Terry Kinard knocked the crap out of him to force the ball lose. That saved us a touchdown.

I am watching functional special teams. I don't know what to do. Clemson has to punt but they force a fumble and recover it at midfield on the return. These things care me.

There is a disturbing lack of replay here. How am I supposed to complain about the ACC refs without seeing the replay?

Having to punt again, Clemson shows how not to try and down a punt at the 1 and it goes out to the 20. The refs may have screwed it up, let's go with that because it makes me feel better.

Haha Georgia gets one of the worst penalties after a big completion; ineligible receiver. We all know how that one goes.

Watching Jordan reminds me of Boyd in a way. Capable of doing some great things but he can also try to do too much. He's forced a few throws here but has settled down to get the Tigers into Georgia territory to end the 1st quarter.

2nd Quarter

Magwood just got killed by a blindside hit on the 10 yard line. That didn't look like a catch and fumble and today it would be called incomplete. Magwood got nailed just as the ball arrived. He didn't have a chance to make a football move, but Georgia gets the ball.

Yes, we get a station identification on the Clemson Football Network. I love these old things.

Terry Kinard is a beast, he just picked the ball off as he dropped off and the Georgia QB just didn't see him. Also helped that the Clemson DL was pressuring and forced Georgia to get rid of the ball quickly.

Woof, we piss away an opportunity by missing a 29-yard field goal. Not even halfway through this one and I already know what Danny is going to complain about during his press conference. Way to many mistakes by both teams.

And once again Clemson forces a turnover with an interception by Childers. Georgia's QB was flushed from the pocket and made a more decision to throw it rather than take the hit. Again Clemson needs to capitalize.

TOUCHDOWN TUTTLE!!! Homer Jordan bought a few extra seconds and then hit Perry Tuttle in the corner of the end zone by the student section. Finally we converted on a Georgia turnover.

The Goergia QB literally just dropped the football and Clemson recovered. I'd feel bad if it was a team I didn't care about.

Aaaaand we just pissed away a good field goal chance by taking a bad sack. Apparently Jordan never learned to throw the ball away.

Can we fire the long snapper? He just snapped it above the field goal holder's hands on a 50-yard attempt and Georgia is now in our territory. Thankfully Georgia misses the field goal.

Both these teams actually play pretty quickly. Not a slow tempo even though they don't have fancy cards with colors and pictures on them.

Beautiful, Georgia's punt returner did the classic wave for a fair catch and let the ball hit behind him and got creamed by Clemson. It was a flag, but worth it.

This is bordering on comedy. Walker fumbled for the second time with 30 seconds left, and Clemson ends up kicking a field go for a 10-0 lead to end the half.


This is not a pretty game. Both teams are beating each other up, but it isn't all good defense. There have been plenty of mistakes on both sides of the ball.

3rd Quarter

Georgia is performing the classic come out and try to kick ass routine on their first drive. Walker has decided it is time to start playing.

Someone is attempting a silly version of the cadence count during the commercial break. Sounds like an overambitious fellow on the speakers by the student section.

Interesting note, the sideline refs don't stand on the sideline at the line of scrimmage. Instead they are probably a good 5-10 yards towards the ball.

Herschel Walker is a big man and I have no doubt it would hurt for him to hit me, but Clemson's defense absolutely rocked him.

Folks would definitely see some familiar plays from Clemson here. They like to get Homer Jordan outside the pocket where he can make plays with his feet or hands.

Damn, Georgia finally gets on the board with a field goal. Clemson needs something to separate themselves once again.

Poor Georgia defensive decision, man-to-man coverage on Perry Tuttle.

4th Quarter

And Clemson increases their lead with another field goal. That makes it a 2 score game for Georgia which should be enough.

Death Valley looks very different without the West Endzone. Only 63 thousand here for this one. Going to be crazy in a couple days with an extra 20 thousand or so screaming at night.

Once again Walker fumbles, but this time he is able to recover it. Supposedly he only fumbled once in his career before today. Apparently he didn't eat his Wheaties.

That is a small tiger paw at midfield. Bigger is better right?

Georgia finally able to wear down Clemson's defense, but that just means they are bending but not breaking.

And now the bending is over, Billy Davis intercepts the ball to kill Georgia's momentum. This is also the third turnover Georgia has committed where they would have had a penalty called on them if they kept the ball. Simply sloppy play.

Have I mentioned how much I like Homer Jordan. Only 9 minutes left and my bet is Danny goes back to a run heavy game plan. The tempo has slowed a bit for Clemson.

Appropriately enough this game appears to be recorded with an orange lens. We also lie to go with split backs in the backfield a lot. I haven't noticed this in other old games I've watched but it is neat to see.

Clemson punts and downs it at the 7 after burning 3 minutes off the clock, a nice job considering all Clemson did was run the ball. The punt unit finally came through when it matters.

These are some weird ass chants during Georgia's last timeout, they anger me.

Georgia is picked off once again. Their QB makes Kyle Parker and Cullen Harper seem like All-Americans. This is just some bad football from Georgia.

Homer Jordan has the QB keeper and sprint around the OL down perfectly. Every single time Georgia is biting on the hand off, no one is watching for him to keep the ball and it is burning Georgia.

Clemson with the nice jump over the dog pile run around Georgia's 20-yard line. You don't see that one outside of the goal line very often.

Clemson gives the ball to Georgia with 2:30 minutes left, burning 4 minutes on the drive. Georgia is pretty much down to a hope and a prayer.

LOLtastic by Georgia, way to end it. McSwain picks off Georgia in the end zone to give Clemson the ball with no Georgia timeouts.

This is Clemson's first victory over a top 10 foe. That graveyard keeps getting bigger each year.

Final Thoughts

It didn't get much prettier in the second half, but that was a great game to watch. Nothing beats football where two teams knock the crap out of each other. Homer Jordan is one tough QB,and when you have a player willing to lay it on the line it makes your offense run that much better.

Herschel Walker was held in check, but the few times he got loose you could see why he was so good. If Georgia had a real QB they probably would have won this game, but thankfully they didn't and Clemson's defense was able to dominate all day.