Memorable moments: Most dominant performances in Clemson history


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Mike Williams carried a Gamecock defender into the end zone in the biggest rivalry win in the modern era.
Mike Williams carried a Gamecock defender into the end zone in the biggest rivalry win in the modern era.

We have some extra time to look back through a colorful history of Clemson football.

As we look at the Tigers through their rise to an elite college football program, this section is dedicated to some of the more memorable blowouts in Tiger football history.

The Dabo Swinney era has had its share of them, but this look goes back to the early 1900s a few times.

Here are some of the most dominant performances in Clemson football history:

Date: Oct. 5, 1901

What happened?: Greensboro, North Carolina’s Guilford College was just a bit overmatched when it made the trip to TigerTown in the early 1900s. The 122-0 score has stood the test of time as Clemson’s most points and largest margin of victory and John Heisman’s Tigers did so with only a 20-minute first half and a 10-minute second half. They averaged 30 yards per play and a touchdown every 1:26 off the clock, with the legend being that every player on the team scored at least one touchdown.

“We missed everything today, tackles and blocks. One thing we certainly won’t miss is the train back home,” Guilford’s captain reportedly said postgame.

Date(s): A lot of them

What happened?: One of 2018 Clemson football's ‘best team ever’ arguments is just how well it kicked things into gear with Trevor Lawrence as starting QB. In his first full game as a starter, Clemson set its best scoring margin in ACC play at Wake Forest (63-3 win) and just two weeks later re-set that mark in a 77-16 home win over Louisville.

In between those games, Clemson handed Florida State its worst home loss and tied for its worst loss overall in a 59-10 defeat. A 41-7 win over No. 16 NC State tied for the school’s largest victory over a ranked opponent at the time.

And the Tigers closed that campaign with a 27-point average margin of victory to capture the state title (56-35 over South Carolina), the ACC championship (42-10 over Pitt), the Cotton Bowl (30-3 over Notre Dame) and the national championship (44-16 over Alabama).

Date: Oct. 31, 1981

What happened?: Clemson’s first national-title team set the school’s high-water mark for points in an ACC game (82) and conference marks in total yards (756) and rushing yards (536). The Halloween beatdown featured 21 records in all set at the time, with the Tigers going 12-of-12 on third down and scoring 12 touchdowns.

Date: Oct. 24, 2015

What happened?: Clemson’s success has meant the demise of several league coaches lately and Al Golden was on the wrong end of it in a 58-0 defeat, the worst in Miami school history. Clemson led 42-0 at the half after a 36-yard pick-six from Cordrea Tankersley in the final minute. Some extracurriculars prompted an impassioned on-field speech from Swinney before they went to the locker room:

Clemson totaled 567 yards with Wayne Gallman’s 118 rushing yards leading the way statistically. Golden was fired the next day.

Date(s): Various

What happened?: Clemson set an early tone for the South Carolina rivalry with a 51-0 win over the Gamecocks in 1900. The turn of another century brought the memorable 2003 beatdown with a 63-17 win in Columbia, for Clemson’s most points since the 1981 Wake Forest win and the largest margin of victory since the 1900 matchup. Chad Jasmin scored four of the Tigers’ nine TDs on the day. The Tigers’ next-best margin in the series came in the 2016 title run with a 56-7 home victory, where Deshaun Watson tied his own school record with six touchdown passes.

Date(s): Various

What happened?: The 1992 Tigers set a mark in ACC action that lasted for 25 years, with a 40-7 win over No. 18 North Carolina being its widest margin over a ranked conference opponent. The 2017 ACC Championship re-set that mark with a 38-3 victory over the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes.

In postseason action last decade, Clemson captured two big-margin wins as an underdog first against No. 24 Oklahoma -- with a backup QB in Cole Stoudt -- in the 2014 Champ Sports Bowl (40-6) and then a 31-0 triumph over No. 2 Ohio State in the 2016 Playoff Fiesta Bowl, which the Tigers’ highest-ranked win until topping No. 1 Alabama a little over a week later.

What are your memories from some of these games? What are some more that stand out?

(Stories from Clemson SID and more outlets, including Clemson University Football Vault; compiled by Brandon Rink)

Memorable moments: Bushels of apples, brawls and balloons a part of Clemson history

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