1981: CLEMSON 10, UNC 8: They had slammed the door on Herschel Walker earlier in the season, so stopping Kelvin Bryant would not be a serious problem. The second-ranked Clemson Tigers did that with a vengeance, invading Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, holding North Carolina's star back to 31 yards on 13 carries and beating the No.
8 Tar Heels 10-8.
"I didn't think they'd get into the end zone against our defense," Clemson coach Danny Ford said after the game, which disappointed a record homecoming crowd of 53,611 and representatives of eight bowls.
Although North Carolina had first downs on the Tigers' 7- and 4-yard lines, all it could manage was two Brooks Barwick field goals to go with two points on a blocked Clemson punt that bounced through the end zone for a safety late in the first half.
Clemson greeted North Carolina's first and goal from the 7 in the second quarter by sacking Rod Elkins for a 7-yard loss, giving up a 22-yard field goal, then marching 81 yards to a touchdown, scored by Jeff McCall on a 7-yard run up the middle. Elkins limped off with a reinjured ankle before halftime.
On their opening series of the second half, the Tigers went 50 yards in 13 plays before settling for a 39-yard field goal by future Buccaneer Donald Igwebuike and a 10-5 lead. "That was the key to the game," Ford said. "Coming out on the first drive and getting three points meant a field goal couldn't beat us."
When the Tar Heels pushed to the Clemson 4, Bryant was thrown for a 5-yard loss, two Scott Stankavage passes fell incomplete and North Carolina got its final three points.
Despite the victory, Ford was disappointed. "We don't deserve No.
1 because we didn't play well today," he said. "We are not ready for No.
1." Less than two months later they were, beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to claim the national championship.
_ BRUCE LOWITT