Ford's Final Season Was a Great One

by - Correspondent -

1989 (10-2-0, 5-2-0, 3rd in ACC)

Ranked 12th by AP, 11th by UPI, 12th by USA Today

S 2   30-0   W  H  Furman (12-NR)
S 9   34-23  W  A  %FSU (10-16)
S 16  27-7   W  A  %Va Tech (7-NR)
S 23  31-7   W  H  Maryland (7-NR)
S 30  17-21  L  A  Duke (7-NR)
O 7   34-20  W  H  Virginia (15-NR)
O 14  14-30  L  H  Ga Tech (14-NR)
O 21  30-10  W  H  N.C. St. (NR-12)
O 28  44-10  W  H  W.For (22-NR)
N 4   35-3   W  A  NC (21-NR)
N 18  45-0   W  A  %SC (15-NR)
D 30  27-7   W  N1 %W.VA (14-17)
N1 at Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL
%Denotes Night Game

Danny Ford ended his legendary career as Clemson's head football coach in
1989. During his final season, the Tigers posted an impressive record and a
win in the Gator Bowl, and Ford was able to leave Death Valley as the third
winningest active coach in the country by the end of the season. He left the
university boasting a career record of 96-29-4, with a 76% winning percentage
and five ACC titles. An incredible decade in Clemson football history had
come to an end.

The Tigers finished the 1989 season with a 10-2-0 record, losing only two
games to ACC teams Duke and Georgia Tech. But what they lacked in those two
conference losses they made up for with other large margin wins. 35-3 versus
UNC, 44-10 versus Wake Forest, and 30-10 versus N.C. State.

After an easy win over Furman, the Tigers traveled to Tallahassee where they upset
Florida State, 34-23. The win moved Clemson to number 7 in the AP poll.
Florida State didn't lose another game during the season and finished the
year at number 3 in the nation.

With quarterback Chris Morocco leading the offense, the Tigers racked up
wins throughout the rest of the season before beating West Virginia 27-7 in
the Gator Bowl. Morocco remained consistent throughout the season, and he
passed for a season-high 210 yards against Virginia. He completed 79 of 134 pass attempts
and finishing the season with a .590% in pass efficiency.

Legendary running back Terry Allen finished his career at Clemson with a
total 2778 yards and an All-American honorable mention in 1989. With Allen
in the backfield, Clemson rushed for 355 yards on the ground against South
Carolina, and 332 yards against UNC. He was injured during the South
Carolina game, which was the last time he ran the ball as a Tiger. But
Clemson was able to dominate the Gamecocks that year and beat them 45-0,
which was the largest margin of victory in the 89-year-old series.

Joe Henderson backed up Allen and ran for 848 yards during the
season, with 163 yards against UNC and 105 against Virginia. Rodney Fletcher
gained 556 yards at the wide receiver position, proving
that Clemson could successfully attack from any angle.

But kicker Chris Gardocki finished the 1989 season with the most impressive
offensive stats by scoring 107 points. He was 100% effective at extra point
attempts (41-41), and was 22-29 at field goal attempts.

On the other side of the ball was the fifth ranked Clemson defense, who
seemingly took advantage of the other team whenever possible. The backfield
broke up 15 passes and intercepted 5 passes against Duke that season, making
it virtually impossible for their opponents to attack by air.

Robert O'Neal had an incredible 8 interceptions as a first year freshman
and Mitch Belton blocked two punts in a single game against
Maryland. Linebacker Doug Brewster led the team in tackles with 100, while future
NFL pro-bowler Levon Kirkland had 6 sacks, 77 tackles, and 3 interceptions
for the Tigers.

After a solid win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, Clemson finished
the 1989 season at 2nd in turnover margin in the entire NCAA. It was a great
year for the team and a symbolic finale for Danny Ford’s career
at Clemson. The 1980's had come to an end, and with the end of the decade
came the end of an incredible dynasty within college football.

1989 Roster


TE: Stacy Fields, 6-3, 233, Jr. (11)

LT: Bruce Bratton, 6-4, 268, So. (11)

LG: Jeb Flesch, 6-3, 266, So. (12)

C: Hank Phillips, 6-5, 247, Sr. (12)

RG: Eric Harmon, 6-1, 269, Jr. (11)

RT: Stacy Long, 6-2, 280, Jr. (12)

FLK: Gary Cooper, 6-2, 196, Sr. (12)

QB: Chris Morocco, 6-2, 196, Gr. (12)

TB: Joe Henderson, 5-9, 186, Sr. (7)

FB: Wesley McFadden, 5-11, 203, Sr. (10)

WR: Rodney Fletcher, 6-0, 186, Sr. (9)

PK: Chris Gardocki, 6-2, 194, So. (12)


OLB: Levon Kirkland, 6-2, 219, So. (12)

LT: Otis Moore, 6-3, 276, Sr. (12)

MG: Rob Bodine, 6-1, 235, So. (12)

RT: Vance Hammond, 6-7, 295, Jr. (12)

BAN: John Johnson, 6-3, 220, Jr. (11)

SLB: Vince Taylor, 5-11, 228, Sr. (7)

WLB: Doug Brewster, 6-1, 205, Jr. (12)

LC: Jerome Henderson, 5-11, 187, Jr. (12)

FS: James Lott, 5-9, 175, Sr. (11)

SS: Arlington Nunn, 5-10, 185, Jr. (7)

RC: Dexter Davis, 5-9, 180, So. (12)

P: Chris Gardocki, 6-2, 194, So. (12)

Number in parentheses is games started by that player regardless of position in that season.

Clemson All-Time Teams

#8 -- 1989

#9 -- 1983

#10 -- 1979

Look for the #7 All-Time Clemson team on Thursday, August 3

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