1982 Orange Bowl UPI
Clemson Claims Orange MIAMI (UPI) - Lucky for .Clemson University a college foot'• ball game lasts just 60 minutes. ., : "I'm very proud and glad," said "-.Clemson Coach Danny Ford after his top-rated Tigers' parlayed an .'opportunistic defense and the iquarterbacking magic of Homer .-Jordan Friday night into a 22-15 . victory over No. 4 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. "But if the game lasted much longer I don't know if we would still be standing up. I thought the heat bothered -them a little more than us but they were a whole lot quicker than I "thought." The 48th Orange Bowl, which drew a crowd of 72,748 that turned the stadium into a sea of orange and red — Clemson and Nebraska's colors — was played in temperatures approaching 80 de" g'rees and the humidity hovering around 80 percent. ' Clemson's victory, which capped aiperfect 12-0 season, coupled with losses by No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama sets the stage for the Tjgers' first national cham- pionship. United Press International will release its final ratings today at 6:30 p.m. EST. : While there have been many doubters to Clemson's claim as the ;,!best team in the nation, Ford thinks that will change. '"Are we No. 1? Are we the best team in the country?" asked Ford. "We're the only team in the nation <to beat the No. 2 team (Georgia), Jthe No. 8 team (North Carolina, actually ranked No. 9), and the No. '4 team (Nebraska). "I don't care what anybody says in the East, Midwest or West. Nobody in the country has done what we've done." Ford's first backer is Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne. "They deserved to win and they deserve to be the national champions," said Osborne, whose Big Eight champions finished the season with a 9-3 record," but it's the most disappointing loss I've ever been associated with. "Clemson is a great football team and I congratulate them," said Osborne. "I thought they were great defensively, the best we've played all year. Offensively, they dominated the line of scrimmage and I didn't think they could do it against us, and Jordan was just great. We tried to contain him and keep him inside, but we couldn't." Jordan, the skinny, sprintout quarterback that makes the Tigers' offense click, was so drained by the heat, he spent an hour recovering from heat exhaustion. But during the game, Jordan kept the Cornhuskers guessing with his rollouts. He ran for 46 yards, including a key 23-yard run for a first down with 2:20 left after Nebraska had narrowed the margin to seven points, and completed ll-of-22 passes for 134 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Perry Tuttie in the third quarter. But before the Tigers' offense began rolling, it was the defense that helped produce 9 first-half points. In fact, Clemson held the nation's second best rushing offense, which averaged 330.5 yards per game, to just 256 total yards. "We wanted to take control in the first five minutes and we finally did in the second ten minutes." said Ford. "I thought we played perfect defense. We made only one mistake — on that touchdown pass in the first half." After Clemson nose guard William Devane recovered Roger Craig's fumble on the third play of the game, Donald Igwebuike gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with a 41-yard field. Clemson took a 12-7 halftime advantage after All America linebacker Jeff Davis recovered a fumble by Phil Bates at the Nebraska 27. Seven plays later, tailback Jeff Austin cruised in for the score on a 2-yard run with 3:56 left in the half. A 2-point conversion failed when Jordan's pass to Tuttie fell incomplete. The Tigers' offense took over in the second half as Jordan connected with Tuttie on a 13-yard TD pass to cap a 75-yard, 12-play drive in the third period to give Clemson a 19-7 lead. Igwebuike added a 36- yard field goal before the period ended. Nebraska scored its final points on Craig's 26-yard run in the fourth quarter and added a 2-point conversion on Craig's 8-yard run. "We had it in our hands. We could nave been national champions," said Craig, shaking his head as he thought about Georgia and Alabama both losing. "But we let it slip away." Tuttie said all the praise should go to the defense. "They played one heckuva game and gave us field position — the defense did it for us," said Tuttie. "In the last two weeks we've been in Florida, I'd say 95 percent of the people didn't believe in us but we're No. 1 now."