The Birth Of Orange Pants In 1980
(Photo Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
Today’s photos are from the 1980 season and the finale against the Gamecocks inside of Death Valley.
Clemson entered the South Carolina game with a 5-5 record after being blasted the week before at Maryland 34-7. The Tigers had lost four of their last five games and there were rumors that if Clemson did not beat Jim Carlen’s 8-2 Gamecocks, head coach Danny Ford was sure to be fired.
With his team down on itself after the loss to Maryland, Ford knew he needed to do something to inspire his football team. Taking a key from his former coach, Alabama’s Bear Bryant, Ford reached deep into his bag of motivational tricks and pulled out a pair of orange pants.
When Ford played at Alabama, Bryant would allow his team to where crimson pants with the crimson jerseys against rival Auburn when he felt his team deserved to play in them or if they needed an emotional lift.
“We warmed up in the white pants, but we all knew we were going to change into the orange pants when we got back to the locker room so all throughout warm-ups we were pumped up and ready to go,” Clemson All-American linebacker Jeff Davis said. “We knew how excited the fans would get when they first saw us come to the top of the Hill wearing nothing but orange.”
Late in the game, South Carolina’s Gary Harper threw the ball into the flat and Willie Underwood made a break for the ball and took the pass back for a 37-yard touchdown and a 20-6 Tigers lead. Clemson later added a 15-yard Jeff McCall touchdown to seal the 27-6 victory.
The win over South Carolina did more than just secure a winning season and save Ford’s job, it also was a springboard for Clemson’s national championship run a year later.
Here is a Youtube video of the 1980 game:
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