Clemson's 5 Best: Most Memorable Plays
As spectators of college football, there will always be certain plays that stick out in our minds. Sometimes those memories are worth forgetting while at other times they bring back happier moments.
Throughout history, the Tigers have endured their fair share of both ends of the spectrum, and today's edition of "Clemson's Best" series focuses on the five most memorable plays in program history.
5. Rod Gardner and "The Catch Part II"
The debate between Clemson and South Carolina fans on whether it was a push-off or not will last until the end of time. Trailing the Gamecocks 14-13 with 19 seconds left, Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler threw up a prayer, and Rod Gardner hauled in the 50-yard pass falling backward and landing at the Gamecocks' 8-yard line. While there was some contact between Gardner and South Carolina defensive back Andre Goodman, no flag was thrown, and the play was dubbed "The Catch II" and added a memorable 2000 chapter to the heated Palmetto State rivalry. The play set up Aaron Hunt for a 25-yard, game-winning field goal, and the Tigers knocked off South Carolina, 16-14 in front of a capacity primetime crowd in Death Valley.
4. Jerry Butler and "The Catch Part I"
In the 1977 meeting against the Gamecocks in Columbia, Clemson carried a 17-0 advantage into the locker room and led South Carolina 24-0 midway through the third quarter. However, the Gamecocks came storming back and capitalized on the Tigers' shaky play over the course of the next few possessions. After falling behind 27-24 with just over 1:48 left in the game, it was Clemson's turn to rally, and on first down from the Carolina 20, Butler leaped into the air and hauled in Steve Fuller's 20-yard heave for a spectacular play that has fittingly dubbed "The Catch". Clemson pulled ahead 31-27 and held on for the thrilling win under the lights of Williams-Brice Stadium.
3. Perry Tuttle's touchdown in championship game
Leading Nebraska 12-7 in the third quarter, Clemson trotted downfield on a 12-play, 75-yard drive and extended the lead over the Cornhuskers. Homer Jordan lofted the ball over the defender's head and into the open hands of Perry Tuttle for a 13-yard strike and the eventual game-winning score. Earlier in the drive, the duo had hooked up for a 41-yard gain. The point after pushed the Tigers ahead, 19-7. Donald Igwebuike's 36-yard field goal later in the frame pushed Clemson ahead, 22-7. Nebraska would attempt to rally with Roger Craig's 26-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers would hold off Tom Osborne's squad and escape with the 22-15 triumph.
2. "4th and 16"
Clemson's 2012 Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over LSU ranks among the top wins in program history--and for good reason. It was a major turning point for the program and springboard of momentum. On that special night in the Georiga Dome, Tajh Boyd led Clemson on a game-winning drive that was capped with Chandler Catanzaro's 37-yard field goal as time expired for the 25-24 victory. The highlight of the drive was a 4th-and-16 conversion when Boyd found a sliding Hopkins for a 26-yard advantage to keep the drive alive.
1. "One Second Remaining": Watson to Renfrow
After giving up a 30-yard touchdown run to Alabama QB Jalen Hurts with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, the Tigers found the answer they desperately needed. Deshaun Watson scripted a storybook ending to his decorated Clemson career guiding the Tigers on a nine-play, 68-yard drive that culminated with his 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with only one second left on the game clock. The play and ensuing extra point gave the Tigers a 35-31 lead over the reigning national champ Alabama. Clemson would recover the kickoff and Watson took a fitting curtain call bow, ending the game in victory formation as the Tigers avenged the 45-40 title game loss to Nick Saban's squad one year prior. "They'll talk about that play in Clemson nation forever!" ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler proclaimed of Watson's touchdown pass.