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This Day in Georgia History

September 20, 1980

UGA Defeated Clemson

Georgia played Clemson in its third football game of its 1980 national championship season. This was a particularly bitter battle for several reasons - the schools are very near each other geographically, both played hard-nosed defense and emphasized the running game, and Clemson had been the other finalist in the recruitment of Herschel Walker. Clemson came into the game intent on stopping Walker. They were successful to a point in that Walker didn’t score, but he did gain 121 yards. But, it was Georgia defensive back and punt return specialist Scott Woerner who was the hero of the game. Woerner returned the first punt of the game 67 yards for a touchdown. He later returned an interception 98 yards to set up another touchdown. Clemson rallied to within four points of Georgia, but with time running out Georgia linebacker Frank Ros tipped a pass into the air, and free safety Jeff Hipp outfought a Clemson receiver for the ball on the Georgia one-yard line. Clemson still had time to make one final push if they could hold Georgia without a first down - but they didn’t count on Herschel Walker’s speed. The Johnson County running back outran several blitzing Clemson defenders to the corner and sprinted for a twenty-yard gain. The run gave Georgia a first down and time to run out the clock for a hard fought 20-16 victory.