1983 (9-1-1, 7-0 vs. ACC Teams)
Ranked 11th in AP, 10th in USA Today
S 3 44-10 W H W. Carolina
S 10 16-31 L A B. College
S 17 16-16 T H Georgia (NR-11)
S 24 41-14 W H Ga. Tech
O 8 42-21 W H Virginia
O 15 38-31 W A Duke
O 22 27-17 W H NC State
O 29 24-17 W H W. Forest
N 5 16-3 W A NC (NR-10)
N 12 52-27 W H Maryland (17-11)
N 19 22-13 W A SC (13-NR)
Head coach Danny Ford and his Clemson Tiger football team proved
throughout the early 1980's that they were a force to be reckoned with.
Ford had taken the place of coach Charley Pell in 1978, and proved to the entire college football community that he was for real. But we will save his most honorable accolades for a later article. One of his greatest and most
consistent seasons came shortly after the 1981 championship, and though the
season itself was plagued by controversy and probation sanctions, 1983 was an
impressive year for the Clemson University football team.
The Tigers were simply in a groove during the early 1980's, and despite
the slow start to the 1983 season with a loss to Boston College and a tie against Georgia, they went on to win every other game that season finishing with a solid 9-1-1 record.
Led by quarterback Mike Eppley, Clemson was able to get the job done game after game in routine fashion, commonly blowing out their opponents by a touchdown or more. Georgia Tech fell by a final score of 41-14, while Virginia managed to put a few more points on the board before taking a 42-21 loss.
Eppley completed 12 of 15 passes against Virginia, which aptly demonstrated his passing ability, and he finished his career the following season with a total 28 touchdown passes. Eppley was also one of only two football/basketball
starters in Division I sports from 1982-1984.
Behind the offensive line were running backs Kevin Mack and Terrence
Flagler, both of whom managed to add yardage to the offense and points to the
scoreboard. Mack rushed for 186 yards against Maryland and 150 against Duke,
while Flagler ran for 139 yards in the home game versus Western Carolina.
Clemson's greatest rushing feat that year came against Duke, in which the Tigers exploded for a total of 383 yards on the ground.
The Tiger's backfield was so effective on the ground partly due to the
muscle and manpower on the offensive line, and the defensive line proved to
be a fine-tuned trap for any quarterback with enough guts to hang in the
pocket. Co-Captain and All-American James Farr held the line at offensive
guard, while William Perry dominated the defensive inside and led the team in
sacks with 6 for a total loss of 40 yards. Cornerback Ty Davis picked off 4
passes during the season, leading the team in interceptions.
The last game played in Death Valley during the 1983 season was the
memorable Clemson win over Maryland. 80,000 Clemson fans showed unwavering
support for their Tigers by releasing 363,729 balloons as the team ran down
the hill and took the field. It was undoubtedly the most impressive effort of the season as Clemson demolished Boomer Esiason and the 11th-ranked Maryland Terrapins 52-27 in a victory marking the end of Mack's home career.
final game of the season was another cause for celebration as the Tiger's
marched over South Carolina in Columbia, giving the Clemson football team
a 22-13 win and an incredible 30-2-2 three year record.
The 1983 season finished on a positive note for the Tigers. Not only did
it highlight the end of an NCAA probation period, but a record 10 players
were also chosen from the team in the NFL draft.
1983 was a follow-up season to some of the greatest history in Clemson
football, and the team's impressive record is a testament to the wonderful
coaching and player dedication that made the early 1980's a magical time for
any Clemson fan.
TE: K.D. Dunn, 6-3, 215, Jr. (11)
LT: Reid Ingle, 6-6, 255, Jr. (11)
LG: James Farr, 6-4, 240, Sr. (11)
C: Dale Swing, 6-3, 240, Jr. (11)
RG: Steve Reese, 6-3, 250, So. (7)
RT: Joe Ellis, 6-4, 249, Jr. (6)
SE: Ray Williams, 5-9, 178, Fr. (5)
QB: Mike Eppley, 6-2, 185, Jr. (11)
TB: Stacey Driver, 5-8, 175, So. (5)
Kenny Flowers, 6-0, 190, Fr. (5)
FB: Kevin Mack, 6-1, 197, Sr. (11)
FLK: Shelton Boyer, 6-2, 185, Fr. (8)
PK: Bob Paulling, 6-2, 188, Sr. (11)
LE: Edgar Pickett, 6-3, 230, Sr. (10)
LT: James Robinson, 6-5, 275, Sr. (11)
MG: William Devane, 6-2, 275, Sr. (7)
RT: Ray Brown, 6-4, 250, Sr. (6)
RE: Terence Mack, 6-3, 200, Fr. (7)
SLB: Henry Walls, 6-2, 205, Fr. (11)
WLB: Eldridge Milton, 6-3, 220, So. (8)
LC: Ty Davis, 6-1, 185, Jr. (7)
FS: Ronald Watson, 5-11, 175, Jr. (8)
SS: Tim Childers, 6-1, 185, Sr. (10)
RC: Rod McSwain, 6-2, 190, Sr. (8)
P: Dale Hatcher, 6-2, 199, Jr. (11)
Number in parentheses is games started by that player regardless of position in that season.
Clemson All-Time Teams
#9 -- 1983
#10 -- 1979
Look for the #8 All-Time Clemson team on Tuesday, August 1