Clemson, Notre Dame share brief but eventful football history

Irish rallied for 21-17 victory at Death Valley in 1977, Clemson spoiled Notre Dame's Senior Day in 1979

Steve Fuller passes against Notre Dame at Death Valley in 1977. (Clemson SID photo)

Steve Fuller passes against Notre Dame at Death Valley in 1977. (Clemson SID photo)

Notre Dame will play at Clemson for the first time since 1977 when the Irish came to Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015.

The ACC and the University of Notre Dame announced the dates of Notre Dame’s games with ACC schools for the 2014-16 seasons on Friday.

The last time the two schools met at Clemson took place on November 12, 1977 when a pair of top 15 football teams met in Clemson's Death Valley. A fifth-ranked Notre Dame football team led by Joe Montana, rallied from a 17-7 deficit to defeat a 15th-ranked Clemson team led by Steve Fuller, 21-17. Both quarterbacks went on to be on Super Bowl winning teams in the NFL. Thirty-six players in that game went on to play in the NFL.

Notre Dame went on to win the 1977 National Championship. Notre Dame won seven of its last eight games that year by at least 24 points, including a 38-10 win over number-one ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

Clemson came back to win at Notre Dame two years later, 16-10. It was just the second time in the last 40 years (1940-79) that Notre Dame's seniors lost their last home game. Billy Lott scored a touchdown late in the game on a 26-yard run to give Clemson the win and overcome a 10-0 deficit.

Danny Ford led Clemson to that victory as head coach of the Tigers. Thirty-one-years old at the time, Ford is still the second youngest coach and the youngest since 1934, to beat Notre Dame in Notre Dame Stadium.

Schedule Notes

Clemson will be one of six ACC teams Notre Dame plays in 2015. The Irish will also play at Virginia, at Pittsburgh and against Boston College in Fenway Park. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest will travel to South Bend. Notre Dame will play Massachusetts in South Bend the week before it comes to Clemson.

No release yet on when Clemson will play at Notre Dame, but it won’t be in 2016

Notre Dame’s quarterback for the 2015 game at Clemson could be Myrtle Beach, SC native Everett Golson, who will still be eligible for the 2015 season. It would be his only career game in his home state.

Based on the future schedule rotation that has been released by the ACC, Clemson will play Florida State and Notre Dame at home in 2015. Other home games for the Tigers will included Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Clemson’s road schedule that year will be Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, South Carolina and Miami.

Notre Dame won't play any Big Ten opponents in 2015, marking the first time since 1914 the Irish won't play a school now a member of that conference. The Irish will play Michigan and Purdue next season, but won't play Michigan State until 2016 as it ends some of its annual rivalry games.

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Comments » 4

TigerNE writes:

Seems to me that ND's priority for teams to play is BC, Pitt, GT, and then maybe Clemson in terms of history and rivalries. The fact that the first game in rescheduling BC will be in Fenway means both sides want it to be a huge national attention getter.

But the order of preference may not matter so much in future schedules. Getting BC and Pitt on a routine basis is key for their respective teams and regions, but after that it's not such a big deal.

DavidRBurns86 writes:

I was a high school senior from the Chicago area and making my first visit to Clemson as a prospective student. The hype about the game in the Chicago press was strong, although no one up there game the Tigers a chance.

The Clemson home crowd was going nuts at half-time with a ten point lead.

ND Coach Dan Devine clearly made some 'unsporsmanlike' gestures to the Clemson crowd after the game as he was walking off to the visitor's locker room. I recall seeing him showered with cups and other trash from Clemson fans lining the railing.

That definitely set the tone for the game in South Bend in 1979.

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

Great lead photo choice. i like the old archived pics.

tigerrob44 writes:

The biggest story of the 1977 game other than we blew it was that stupid coach for ND calling the ACC commissioner and asking him if he could have Clemson hold down the noise. Or something as silly as that. Could he do something about the Clemson noise. Well, anybody at the game saw what that prompted. The most amazing thing I've ever seen at a football game. They are extremely lucky we didn't play them in '78 because we would have run over them that year. We got 'em up there in '79 in a thriller. We were better than they were those years and the hinny hurting we will put on them in 2015 will be of Biblical proportions.

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