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The Magic of Howard's Rock

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by SodaAddict, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. SodaAddict

    SodaAddict Proud Hurt Locker Commish

    Jul 13, 2010
    From Wikipedia:
    In the early 1960s, the rock was given to then head coach Frank Howard by a friend, Samuel Columbus Jones, (Clemson Class of 1919). It was presented to Howard by Jones, saying "Here's a rock from Death Valley, California, to Death Valley, South Carolina." Howard didn't think anything else about the rock and it was used as a door stop in his office for several years. In September 1966, while cleaning out his office, Howard noticed the rock and told IPTAY executive director Gene Willimon, "Take this rock and throw it over the fence or out in the ditch...do something with it, but get it out of my office." Willimon had the rock placed on a pedestal at the top of the east endzone hill that the team ran down to enter the field for games. On September 24, 1966, the first time Clemson players ran by the rock, they beat conference rival Virginia, 40-35. Howard, seizing on the motivational potential of "The Rock", told his players, "Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off of my rock." The team started rubbing the Rock for the first game of 1967, which was a 23-6 waxing of ACC foe Wake Forest.

    Clemson faced off against conference and division rival, Florida State. In last year's contest in Tallahassee, the Tigers came back in the 4th quarter with 17 unanswered points to win as time expired 34-31. The Seminoles have not forgotten that contest and came to Clemson with the intention of righting the wrongs they suffered last year.

    They made that statement loud and clear by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, then jumping out to a 28-7 lead by the late 2nd quarter. Clemson was able to close the gap to 28-14 by halftime and went in to the locker room with the knowledge that they could make it a one touchdown game with the first possession of the second half. So, bucking all tradition, the frustrated Clemson coach arranged for and told his kids to go straight to the buses instead of the usual locker room and interview activities of a normal halftime.

    When they reached the buses, the coaches told their team that no one was to say a word. 5 minutes later the team arrived at Howard's Rock for the second time of the day. The cameras were on and the big screen at Memorial Stadium abruptly switched to the coach standing at Howard's Rock with his team surrounding him. The band was just getting set up for their halftime performance when the coach said his brief speech. Here's what he had to say: "Gentlemen, our program as at a crossroads. We're not going to win the division and we're not competing for a national championship, and I understand that. But you are all Clemson Tigers. Thousands of men just like you have come across this storied Rock and you owe it to them and all of those fans out there to give every ounce of yourself for this and every game. Now, we might win and we might lose today, but I want you to touch this Rock as we head to the field and remember what it means to be a part of Clemson tradition. Add another historic win to the record-books and make this a day to remember!"

    The Clemson players quickly reached the stadium in time to receive the 2nd half kickoff amidst an insane reaction from the fans. Still, many analysts and broadcasters were curious about the team having to come straight to the field from the Rock and not having time to get loose again before the start of the 2nd half. These fears became a reality, as Florida State tacked on 10 more points to bring the score to 38-14 halfway through the 3rd quarter.

    But, Clemson would strike back. Down 24 points, Clemson put together a touchdown drive late in the 3rd quarter to pull within 18, but missed the attempted 2 point conversion which kept the game at three possessions. Still, with the score at 38-20 to start the 4th quarter, things looked bleak for the Tigers. The 4th quarter began with the Tigers in possession of the ball after a missed 54 yard field goal by Florida State. Clemson would then complete a huge pass that began to make believers out of everyone associated with the school, as Parker would toss it to B. Clear for a 47 yard touchdown pass that will easily be a play of the year candidate. Following the extra point, the score became 38-27 in favor of Florida State. On the ensuing drive, Florida State was able to march a drive to midfield before an incomplete pass and back-to-back sacks forced Florida State to punt.

    Clemson took over with 5 minutes left and got in to Seminole territory before Parker was intercepted inside the five yard line off of a long pass first tipped by a Clemson receiver. This appeared to be the nail in the coffin for the Tigers, as Florida State completed two passes for a total of 37 yards, then began to run the clock with two more first downs off of four rushes. Then, fate struck one more time. With 1:45 to go in the game and the ball inside the Clemson 30, Florida State would commit its only turnover of the game on a fumble, leaving the door cracked open for the Tigers.

    Clemson would respond to the opportunity by connecting on several big plays and scoring with a 29 yard touchdown pass with 1:15 to go to pull to a score of 38-33, the attempted 2 point conversion failed.

    Then, the Clemson special teams came out to attempt the onside kick and came away with a magical recovery. Two plays later, Clemson would connect on a HUGE 59 yard touchdown pass with less than 1:00 to play to B. McNeal on a corner route catch and run to give Clemson its first lead of the game 39-38. The Tigers connected on the two point conversion to bring the score to 41-38, which would become the final after Clemson was able to hold off Florida State's own attempt at a last minute comeback.

    Clemson pulled it off for the second year in a row and it just goes to show.. you can't deny the magic of Howard's Rock.
  2. PAgamer07

    PAgamer07 We're the ship without a storm

    Nov 11, 2009
    That was a really good read, and a great game.
  3. BoSoxFan58

    BoSoxFan58 Walk On

    Sep 21, 2009
    Good write-up, I would have been going nuts. Everything had to go just right for you to win at the end and it did.

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