Tigers broke or tied 13 school and 4 ACC records
With a 7-0 record for the first time since the 1948 season, Clemson moved up to No. 3 in the Associated Press Poll following its hard fought, 17-7, victory over NC State the week before at Death Valley.
After giving up its first rushing touchdown of the season in the first quarter, the Tigers’ defense smothered the Wolfpack the rest of the day, holding them to a mere 201 total yards.
The Clemson offense did not have a great day, but it did rush for 304 yards, controlling the line of scrimmage and the football for much of the afternoon. Quarterback Homer Jordan rushed for a career-high 104 yards, while running backs Cliff Austin and Jeff McCall each scored touchdowns.
But scoring was not a problem when Clemson hosted Wake Forest on Halloween in 1981. The Tigers set ACC records for total yards (756), rushing yards (536), margin of victory (58 points) and points scored (82) in their 82-24 victory in Clemson.
When the smoke cleared on that Halloween afternoon at Death Valley, Clemson broke 10 school records, while tying three others. There was one individual career record and four conference records set and three new marks at Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers’ 82 points is still an ACC record.
Believe it or not, the game was close when the first quarter came to end. Clemson led just 14-7. However, Clemson scored on the first play of the second quarter. That was the first of five second-quarter touchdowns as the Tigers put another 35 points on the board before halftime.
“We’ve really been needing a game like that,” offensive tackle Lee Nanney said afterward. “Hopefully, it will silence the critics who said we didn’t have an offense.”
Nine Tigers scored on the day, including three touchdowns by running back Chuck McSwain and two by Austin.
“One of the last things I told one of our coaches coming into the game was I was concerned whether we could be able to stop them,” then Wake Forest head coach Al Groh said after the game. “I guess I was correct in that prediction.”
Clemson’s record-breaking performance moved it to No. 2 in the AP Poll, behind top-ranked Pittsburgh. It also set up a de facto ACC Championship Game the next week at No. 8 North Carolina. The matchup against the Tar Heels became the first conference game between two top 10 foes in ACC history.
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