The Clemson Insider went back and ranked Clemson’s 25 best teams of all-time.
What classifies a certain team as one of the best? Of course winning a championship—national or conference—will be the first qualification. The next qualifications are overall record, national ranking and where they fell in the conference standings.
We begin our rankings with the No. 25 team on our list:
The 1941 Tigers (7-2, 5-1 (3rd) SoCon)
This was Frank Howard’s second team at Clemson and it was a talented one. The Tigers finished third in the Southern Conference that year despite posting a 5-1 record in conference play. Their only blemish in what would have been a championship season was an 18-14 loss to rival South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina as a part of Big Thursday.
In that game against the Gamecocks, Booty Payne became the first Clemson player to throw for more than 200 yards in a game as he completed 9 of 16 passes for 202 yards. It was just one of three 200-yard passing games for the Tigers in the entire decade of the 1940s.
Clemson’s best win came at Boston College. Undefeated at the time, Joe Blalock scored two touchdowns as the Tigers’ rallied from a 6-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Eagles, 26-13, at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston College, who outgained the Tigers 363-281 that afternoon, finished the year 7-3.
After losing to South Carolina, Clemson bounced back to win its next three games, including a 29-0 victory over Wake Forest in the last football game at Riggs Field on Nov. 15, 1941. The Tigers had played every home game at Riggs since 1915. Clemson moved into Memorial Stadium the following year and has played every home there since.
A week after the win over Wake Forest, Clemson put on the greatest defensive rushing performance in the first 100 years of the program’s history. The Tigers held Furman to minus-21 yards on the ground in a 34-6 victory in Greenville. Charlie Timmons scored three touchdowns and added four extra points in his final game as a Tiger.
Timmons’ 22 points still ranks sixth all-time by a Clemson player in a single game. Sid Tinsley led the Clemson offense with 127 yards on seven carries that day.
At season’s end, Blalock was named an All-American for a second straight season, Clemson’s first two-time All-American. In 1999, Blalock was named as the 16th all-time Tiger in history by a group of Clemson Historians as part of the All-20th Century Team.
—Photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications
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