Topic: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27
Replies: 15   Last Post: Nov 20, 2020, 9:25 AM by: CU1970
This topic has been archived - replies are not allowed.

[ Archives - Tiger Boards Archive ]
Start New Topic
Replies: 15  

On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

emoji_events [9]
Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:09 AM

Columbia, SC

Tigers Rip Gamecocks' Hearts Out with Final TD Affectionately Known to Clemson Fans as "The Catch"

It all started following Clemson’s 7-6 victory over Georgia in Athens. As the Tigers were making the 70-mile hike back to Clemson, Pell asked the bus driver to pull over. Pell wanted to savor the victory considering it was Clemson’s first win at Georgia since 1914.

So as the legend goes, Pell went into a convenience store and bought every player on the team a cigar to commemorate the win. The cigar celebration became a big part of the 1977 season as the Tigers used the Georgia win to jump start a great run.

Pell and the Tigers went on to win seven straight games, and after each victory, they lit up a cigar. Well, sort off. Clemson wide receiver Jerry Butler chose not to smoke his cigars and instead he scribbled the score and the date on each of his. There was just one place left in his collection back at his dorm – the South Carolina game.

But, South Carolina wanted no part of this so-called rite of passage. The Gamecocks were still smarting from the previous year’s loss in Clemson when the Tigers, despite winning just two games prior to it, pounded USC, 28-9, knocking it out of contention for a possible Peach Bowl bid.

The roles were reversed this time around. The Gamecocks were sitting at 5-5 and knew their season was over regardless of the outcome, but Clemson (7-2-1) was in the running for a Gator Bowl invitation and needed a victory over their archrival to secure the bid and go bowling for the first time since 1959.

During the first two-and-half quarters, everything was pretty much going according to plan. The Tigers had a veteran team that was hungry and had a head coach that got them believing in themselves. The Gamecocks were young and unsure of what they could accomplish.

The Tigers jumped out to a 17-0 lead by halftime, thanks to a Warren Ratchford touchdown, a 30-yard field goal by Obed Ariri and a Lester Brown touchdown from the one. When fullback Ken Callicutt rumbled 52 yards midway through the third quarter, Clemson found itself up 24-0 and well on its way to victory.

“Dwight Clark and I did the unpardonable; we started talking about how great we had played,” quarterback Steve Fuller said to The (Columbia) State Newspaper back in November of 2002.

It was about that time when South Carolina’s Spencer Clark raced untouched for a 77-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 24-7. Over the next eight minutes, the Tigers could do nothing right and USC could do no wrong.

On Clemson’s next three possessions, it fumbled the ball, went three-and-out and then shanked a punt 10 yards. USC took advantage of each mistake to crawl back in the game with two Steve Dorsey touchdowns to make the score 24-20.

With 7:02 to play, South Carolina again gained possession of the football and had a chance to take the lead for the first time all night as they moved the ball to the Clemson 40.

“We called a pass route we had not run all day,” South Carolina receiver Phil Logan said years later. “The defensive backpedaled and I curled.”

When Logan curled, quarterback Ron Bass delivered a strike. It was fourth-and-10 at the Clemson 40, and USC seemed desperate to make one last play to at least extend the drive. What Logan did not expect was to be so wide open.

“I expected to be hit, but nobody was there,” he said. “I cut across the field, got some blocks and I was never touched.”

Logan’s 40-yard touchdown gave the Gamecocks a 27-24 lead with one minute and 48 seconds to play. Logan and his teammates were so confident the game was over. Logan was seen lifting his jersey to the crowd revealing a garnet t-shirt underneath with white letters which read “No Cigars Today.”

“That kind of ticked this old boy off,” Butler said.

It appeared to motivate the entire Clemson offense. Facing a third down-and-seven, from the Clemson 36 yard line, Fuller hit Rick Weddington for 26-yards to the South Carolina 38 yard line and a first down. After an incompletion, Fuller found Clark across the middle for 18 yards, setting Clemson up at the 20.

The Tigers quickly rushed to the line to run another play, when Fuller noticed South Carolina’s defense was confused and they had trouble getting players onto the field. The play called for Butler to cut to the corner, but USC got pressure to Fuller and forced him to throw the ball earlier than he would have liked.

“I saw the ball headed toward the middle of the field,” Butler said. “He was dumping the ball out of the end zone, but I jumped and got my hands on the ball, and I knew if I got my hands on the ball, I could catch it.”

Butler made a leaping, twisting catch that no one else could have made in that game, and no one else has made since.

“It was a first down play. We had plenty of time and I threw it where he would catch it or it would be incomplete,” Fuller said. “Nine times out of ten, it would have been incomplete.”

Instead, it’s a play simply known as “The Catch”. The 20-yard pass play gave Clemson the lead and with the extra point Clemson led 31-27, with :49 left. The Tigers held on to defeat the Gamecocks.

2021 orange level memberbadge-donor-10yr.jpg

Best Is The Standard


Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:23 AM

I remember watching that game on TV. I was a Gamecock fan at the time. I had already decided to go to Clemson, but had not transitioned my allegiance to Clemson in sports. That game went a long way in changing my mind. All it took was one visit to Clemson for orientation, and I was forever a Tiger.

Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch'

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:40 AM

This is the first Clemson - Carolina game I remember. I didn't know about either one of them but since my brother was pulling for Clemson I pulled for Carolina. Fortunately The Catch was made and I watched Clemson play in the Gator Bowl on tv. Even though Pitt won Clemson was on. In 1978 I was ready and followed Clemson all the way through a great 11-1 season and have been a Clemson fan ever since. Things didn't work out so great for my brother, he became a USC fan and now his little brother has a big advantage!

Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:57 AM

IMO this is the true, genuine "The Catch" in Clemson football history.(Especially in DIFFICULTY with the game on the line in an important game.)
To add to the significance, the story that accompanies it(" no cigar today") gets my adrenaline flowing!

Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 10:01 AM

I must have a picture of "the catch" autographed by both Fuller and Butler with an addendum of "no cigar today my ###" Lol!
Go Tigers

LOL thats great!***

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 10:04 AM

2021 orange level memberbadge-donor-10yr.jpg

Best Is The Standard

One of my prized possessions is

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:57 PM

the photograph of "The Catch" with an autograph and a personal inscription to me from Jerry Butler.

Re: One of my prized possessions is

Posted: Nov 20, 2020, 8:58 AM

Heck Yeah!

Rubber Duck over the Top! Lester Brown was a pretty runner.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 10:08 AM

And, of course, Fuller to Butler was the epitome of the Clemson / South Carolina football series. Meaning, Clemson would give the Cawks some hope, and then snuff it out like a candle. :)

2021 orange level memberbadge-donor-05yr.jpg

Lol! Clemson fans affectionately call it "The Catch".

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 10:12 AM

I imagine that South Carolina fans affectionately call it "Oh, No, dayumit, NO!"

2021 orange level memberbadge-donor-05yr.jpg

i remeber jimphillips call on the radio for that game man o

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 1:35 PM

man there were some long faced coot fans that day.

I was there in the end zone opposite of the catch. Got an

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:39 PM

eyeful of the "No Cigar Today" tee shirts under the SC players' jerseys after they went ahead. Also, the Clemson students got the double barrel middle fingers from Ron Bass after their go ahead TD. USCjr has always exuded class.

I've only been in Willy B twice, first time was this game as

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 9:44 PM

a soph CU student and the second was Paul McCartney in 1993. Highly recommend both.

2021 white level memberbadge-donor-10yr.jpg

I'm just trying to keep Anna Lee company.

It was the only CU-usuc game at usuc I have attended.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020, 10:40 PM

I took my future wife...she went in as a coot fan(her brother was in the coot band) and came out as a Tiger fan!

2021 white level memberbadge-donor-05yr.jpg

Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

Posted: Nov 20, 2020, 6:46 AM

I was sitting around the 10 yard line and pretty close to the field in the coot student section. That catch was right in front of me. There were 3 of us together. Great experience.
The gamecock fan guy next to us was yelling and cussing most of the game throwing around the F bomb and complaining about the refs. Then UofSC came back and got the lead and he came over and apologized to us for the foul language. After Butler made "The Catch" the same guy who apologized to us a few minutes earlier began a rant that would embarrass any sailor.

Re: On This Date: 1977 'The Catch' (15)Clemson- 31 SCAR- 27

Posted: Nov 20, 2020, 9:25 AM

After graduating from Clemson (I hate to admit it) I was attending USux for a graduate degree. I camped out at the coliseum to pick up student tickets. We sat on the 40 but had to stand the entire game because the seats were so low and we were behind the the USux bench. Obviously deep in karolina fan territory. My wife even had her Tiger Rag stolen by a coot acquaintance. Had to listen to some abuse until the game got out of hand and the coots shut up. Then the comeback started and so did the mouths. The coot next to my wife started elbowing her in the side with comments of How you like that. She responded We will come back. She is a tall woman and he was short. When The Catch occurred, excitedly and with some force, she returned the favor with an elbow to his shoulder and How do you like That. Standing, short and slightly drunk, he went head over heels backwards in the stands. Next thing she knew he was gone. The game ranks up there as one of our greatest wins and so glad we were there to see and enjoy their misery.

Replies: 15  


FB GAME: Season Tickets
FOR SALE: 4 season tickets north stands lower deck about the 30 yd line make offer

Buy or Sell CU Tickets and More in Tiger Tickets!

[ Archives - Tiger Boards Archive ]
Start New Topic
1477 people have read this post