TigerNet's All-Time Football Teams: #3


by - Correspondent -
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1978 (11-1-0, 6-0-0, ACC Champs)


Ranked Tie for 6th in AP, 6th in UPI

S 16 58-3  W   H  The Citadel
S 23 0-12  L   A  Georgia (8-NR)
S 30 31-0  W   H  Villanova
O 7  38-7  W   H  Va. Tech
O 14 30-14 W   A  Virginia
O 21 28-8  W   H  Duke
O 28 33-10 W   A  NC St (20-NR)
N 4  51-6  W   A  WF (16-NR)
N 11 13-9  W   H  NC (15-NR)
N 18 28-24 W   A  Maryland (12-11)
N 25 41-23 W   H  SC (10-NR)
D 30 17-15 W   B  Ohio St (7-20)


Charley Pell's last season as head coach of the Clemson football team was
short lived, as he bolted for Florida just before the Tigers won the 1978 Gator Bowl.
Despite his late season abandonment, the 1978 Clemson football team was truly
great, and is our choice for the third greatest team in the school's history.


It is a wonder why any coach would leave a team with such a record as the
1978 Tigers had. The team was 11-1 overall, and were 6-0 as champions of the
ACC. Clemson got off to a promising start in 1978 as they crushed Citadel
58-3 in a game highlighting the 100th Tiger win in Death Valley. The only loss of the
season came in an away game against Georgia, but Clemson trounced
every other opposing team during the remainder of the 1978 season.


This team had some of the greatest and most recognized players to ever
come out of Clemson, and Steve Fuller, Jerry Butler, and Joe Bostic were
earned All-American honors that yeear. 1978 was a record setting
season for the Tigers, and with quarterback Steve Fuller leading the charge,
the team was undoubtedly destined for greatness.


Fuller finished his final season as a Clemson Tiger in 1978 with
some truly remarkable achievments. Not only was he captain of the
football team, but he was the only Tiger to graduate as both an academic and
an athletic All-American two years in a row. Fuller was the MVP of the 1978
Gator Bowl, and the 23rd pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft. He
was also the first Clemson football player to have his jersey number (4)
retired, and he was named as the quarterback of the two-platoon Clemson
centennial team.


Steve Fuller was a true asset to Clemson University as a whole and his
final season as starting quarterback spoke of his abilities as an athlete.
He led the Tiger's total offense to a record gain of 5134 yards on the
season. Fuller was one of the most versatile quarterbacks to ever play for
the Tigers as he demonstrated during 1978 by rushing for over 100 yards in
two separate games and rushing for 649 yards on the season. Not only could
he run the ball if needed, but his instinct as a passer was uncanny. With
Jeff and Joe Bostic holding the line, Fuller was 15-17 as he passed for
246 yards against Citadel, and he passed for over 200 yards in 3 games during
the season. Steve Fuller finished an incredible career at Clemson with 554
pass completions at an efficiency rate of .518, and 22 total touchdown passes.


Working with Fuller was All-American receiver Jerry
Butler, who finished the 1978 season at 10th in the NCAA in receiving, and he
was the #5 pick in the entire 1979 NFL draft, which was the highest pick of a
Clemson player in 60 years. Butler routinely racked up 100 yard receiving
games, including an astounding 5 receptions for 140 yards in the 28-24 win
over Maryland. He finished the season with 58 receptions for 908 yards, and
ended his career at Clemson in 1978 with 139 receptions for 2223 yards and 11
touchdowns.


Leading the rushing attack along with Steve Fuller was tailback Lester
Brown, who complimented Butler's receiving abilities and made the Tigers an
extremely versatile offensive team. Clemson rushed the ball 741 times in 12
games during the season, and Brown was responsible for many of the runs. He
rushed for 178 yards against Virginia and 154 against UNC, and he finished
4th in scoring in the NCAA with 17 touchdowns on the season. Brown
finished the season with 202 carries for 1022 yards, averaging a solid 5.1
yards per carry.


The Clemson defense was led by legendary linebacker Bubba Brown, who
protected the defensive middle by posting a total 170 tackles on the season.
He had 22 tackles in the Gator Bowl game against Ohio State, which is the
third-highest single game figure in Clemson history. Brown finished
his career as a Tiger the following season, and still holds the school record
for career tackles with 515.


Defensive end Jonathan Brooks led the team in interceptions with 6, and
no one will forget Charlie Bauman's only interception of his career as he
picked off an Ohio State pass with just two minutes on the clock to seal the
17-15 win in the Gator Bowl.


Clemson fans filed into the newly expanded Memorial Stadium in record
numbers to witness the 41-23 win over South Carolina, a victory that iced
Clemson's first 10-win season since 1948.


1978 was a memorable season for the Clemson football team. Not only was a
new head coach appointed before a bowl game, but the leadership of such
all-star Tigers as Steve Fuller made for a legendary season complete with
record-breaking performances. It was the incredible versatility of the 1978
team that sealed their fate as one of the greatest in Clemson history.


Offense

TE: Anthony King, 6-1, 226, Sr. (10)

OT: Billy Hudson, 6-3, 234, Sr. (12)

OG: Chris Dolce, 6-2, 245, Jr. (12)

C: Jeff Bostic, 6-1, 221, Jr. (12)

OG: Joe Bostic, 6-4, 258, Sr. (10)

OT: Steve Kenney, 6-4, 248, Sr. (9)

SE: Jerry Butler, 6-1, 180, Sr. (12)

QB: Steve Fuller, 6-4, 198, Sr. (12)

TB: Lester Brown, 6-0, 175, Jr. (8)

FB: Marvin Sims, 6-4, 223, Jr. (10)

FLK: Dwight Clark, 6-3, 204, Sr. (9)

PK: Obed Ariri, 5-9, 160, So. (12)

Defense

DE: Jonathan Brooks, 6-3, 210, Sr. (12)

DT: Jim Stuckey, 6-5, 252, Jr. (12)

MG: Rich Tuten, 6-1, 235, Sr. (12)

DT: Toney Williams, 6-3, 240, Sr. (12)

DE: Steve Gibbs, 6-3, 214, Sr. (9)

SLB: Randy Scott, 5-11, 215, Sr. (12)

WLB: Bubba Brown, 5-11, 222, Jr. (12)

CB: Willie Jordan, 5-9, 186, Sr. (9)

SS: Rex Varn, 6-1, 175, Jr. (8)

FS: Bubba Rollins, 5-10, 186, Sr. (9)

CB: Steve Ryan, 6-0, 176, Sr. (11)

P: David Sims, 6-4, 222, So. (12)

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


Clemson All-Time Teams

#4 -- 1950

#5 -- 1990

#6 -- 1988

#7 -- 1982

#8 -- 1989

#9 -- 1983

#10 -- 1979

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