The No. 7 Buckeyes (12-1) and the No. 12 Tigers (10-2) take to the Sun Life Stadium field tonight for the 80th installment of the storied Orange Bowl. Clemson versus Ohio State doesn't exactly scream "rivalry," mainly because the two teams have met just once before. Thing is, that one meeting ended in a way many sports fans will never forget.
As the 1978 Gator Bowl matchup came to a close on a late Clemson interception near the Ohio State sideline, legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes grabbed a Clemson player and punched him in the neck, starting a brawl between both teams.
The coach was swiftly fired the day after the 17-15 Gator Bowl loss and never coached again, making the Gator Bowl his 277th, and final, game. True to form, Hayes refused to apologize.
"I don't apologize for anything," Hayes said. "When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there. I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people."
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Amazingly, the teams have never met since, until tonight's Discover Orange Bowl.
The moment remains one of the most shocking, and bizarre, moments in college football bowl history. A moment that Charlie Bauman, the Clemson player whom Allen punched, wishes would just go away.
"I don't have anything bad to say about Coach Hayes," Bauman says. "He made a mistake. We all make mistakes. I mean, he didn't hurt me or anything. Why can't people just let it rest?"
A great game in Miami between the two teams would certainly help get the bitter taste of that 1978 Gator Bowl out of the mouths of both teams' fans and send both teams off on a positive note looking forward to next season.