Clemson and Ohio State meet for just the second time ever in Friday's Discover Orange Bowl. But the two programs will be forever linked in history because of a punch thrown 35 years ago in another Florida bowl game.
That punch ended the career of legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes. That punch brought Charlie Bauman unwanted celebrity. That punch overshadowed everything about the 1978 Gator Bowl, including a breakthrough win for Clemson. And that punch was the first thing participants in the first game thought about when this year's Orange Bowl pairing was announced.
"Not very many people remember much about the football game itself," said Steve Fuller, who was Clemson's quarterback in the 1978 game. "It was an important game for us to establish ourselves as a national program.
"But at the end of day, that's not what people remember. It was the Woody Bowl."
‘It was the era’
Wayne Woodrow Hayes saw combat duty in the Pacific during World War II and coached football like he was MacArthur storming the islands.
"Everybody who played for Ohio State probably got slugged in the stomach or slapped by Coach Hayes," Jim Savoca said. "It was the era. We would joke about it and say, 'Circle right to get away from that left hook.'"
"I think if you spent four years at Ohio State and Woody didn't hit you, you felt cheated," said Glen Mason, who was Hayes' first-year offensive line coach in 1978. "Most times, he was hitting guys in the shoulder pads with his bare hands. He probably hurt himself more than anything."
Yet the Buckeyes still couldn't quite believe what they saw that Dec. 29 night in Jacksonville against Clemson.
"He didn't hurt Charlie," Cousineau said. "It was like a mosquito. But it was the intent. You couldn't cross that line. It's different when you kick a sideline marker or push a cameraman. We expected him to be that animated with us, but never with the opponent."
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