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Clemson Football

Growing up on College Football: My Moment

August 26, 2018
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As we close in on the kickoff of the 2018 season, I'm reminded of so many incredible plays that I've seen and heard during my life with college football.

The voice of Jim Phillips still echoes in my ears as I think back to Saturday mornings in the front yard pretending to be Kenny Flowers or Stacey Driver. 

The "Sounds of the Season" weren't always about the fight songs or crowds while you were in the stadium either. Back when I was little, you couldn't watch every game across the country. You could only get a select few on television. At the time, the jingle on CBS followed by the voice of Jim Nance or Brent Musburger cutting through would give you chills just before the start of a big game.

At the ACC Kickoff, ESPN was doing a special feature on the 150th year of college football, and in the process of learning about the project, I was reminded of my moment. 

One thing I've learned in my 41 years of life is that the losses are arguably more memorable than the victories because the tough ones stick with you. 

My moment took place on September 17, 1988, in Death Valley. It was a matchup featuring No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 10 Florida State, otherwise known as "The Puntrooski Game." 

That dreary day, my father brought me and my best friend, Blake Austin, to Death Valley to watch the Tigers and Seminoles. 

Back then, FSU wasn't the monster that they were going to become, but they were getting close. They were the preseason consensus pick to win the national title, but the questions still surrounded the Seminoles and Bobby Bowden after getting thumped 31-0 by Miami in the season opener.

Clemson played well in the first half. The Tigers hit on a trick play of their own when Chip Davis hit Gary Cooper on a reverse pass for a 61-yard score to put Clemson up 7-0. In the late stages of the second quarter, Rodney Williams led the Tigers on a 99-yard drive giving Clemson a 14-7 lead at the break.

In the second half, Deion Sanders introduced himself to Tiger fans as well. "Primetime" was a flashy player and his 76-yard punt return in the 3rd quarter tied the contest 14-14. It was one of those moments where you hate the player, but you can't hate the play. In fact, at that moment, Sanders became one of my all-time favorite players to imitate and watch on the field. 

Sanders wouldn't make the only big play for the Seminoles as Coach Bowden would pull out his bag of tricks with the score tied 21-21 late in the game, calling one of the best trick plays ever.

With 1:33 left in the game, facing a 4th down deep in their own territory, the Seminoles lined up to punt. Most impressively, the next play was pulled off without calling a timeout to set it up. Bowden called it on the fly.

The formation wasn't overly unique, but the execution of the trick and deception would have made Houdini proud.

The ball was snapped to the up-back Dayne Williams, who then placed it into the waiting hands of Leroy Butler, underneath his butt no less. All the while, punter Tim Corlew leaped high as if the ball had been snapped over his head. 

Everyone on the Seminoles punt team started to run to the right, pulling Clemson's defenders that direction while Butler was sneaking out to the left and up the sidelines for a 78-yard run. Only Clemson's punt return man Donnell Woolford had a chance, and he managed to push Butler out of bounds inside the five-yard line.

A Richie Andrews field goal would give FSU a 24-21 lead two plays later.

Legendary Florida State play-by-play man, Gene Deckerhoff was on the call that day and when Clemson arrived in Tallahassee to seek revenge a year later, ESPN re-played the Puntrooski with Deckerhoff's call. It stuck with me and 30 years later I can nearly make the call word for word.

At the top of the page, if you didn't listen already, I paid tribute to my moment in college football history. Let me know what you think. Did I do the call justice at the end of the clip?

Although that game wasn't a Tiger win, it still brings me back to my youth and reminds me of why I love this game. Spot the ball! 


Let us know the play or moment in college football that made you love the game. 

Growing up on College Football: My Moment

7,119 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 4 yr ago by 09Tiger
Tigers Rise
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That was a painful one. I'll list two, one great and one not great.

Great Moment: Treadwell drilling the FG to beat UGA in Athens in 1986


Not Great Moment: Losing to GT in the 2009 ACC Championship Game when CJ had such a huge day. I wanted that win bad. The fact that we lost and Spiller was the MVP...wow.
09Tiger
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Our win at VT back with Mike Bellamy breaking into the open field to seal the deal was a great one for me. Just punching them in the mouth in Blacksburg.

Losing after being up 28-14 vs. South Carolina in 2006 was the bad one for me. No excuse in losing that game.
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