|1982 Orange Bowl|
|48th Orange Bowl|
|Date||January 1, 1982|
|MVP||Homer Jordan (Clemson QB)|
Jeff Davis (Clemson LB)
|Favorite||Nebraska by 3½-4½ points|
|Referee||Robert Aillet (SEC)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Don Criqui and John Brodie|
The 1982 Orange Bowl was the 48th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on Friday, January 1. Part of the 1981–82 bowl game season, it matched the top-ranked and undefeated Clemson Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the #4 Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Eight Conference. Underdog Clemson won, 22–15, and gained their first national championship.
Main article: 1981 NCAA Division I-A football season
Main article: 1981 Clemson Tigers football team
Led by head coach Danny Ford, the Tigers began the season unranked, won all eleven games in the regular season, and moved up to first in the rankings in late November. Their notable wins were over Georgia and North Carolina. Clemson was attempting to win its first national championship. The Tigers were making their third appearance in the Orange Bowl, but the first in a quarter century.
Main article: 1981 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team
The Huskers had two early losses, at Iowa and to Penn State, then won eight consecutive games to improve to fourth in the polls. Nebraska was making its eighth appearance in the Orange Bowl, the first in three years.
Earlier in the day, third-ranked Alabama lost the Cotton Bowl to #6 Texas. In the Sugar Bowl, now played at the same time as the Orange, second-ranked Georgia was defeated by #8 Pittsburgh, which opened the door for the Orange Bowl victor to claim the national title; Nebraska was favored by 3½ to 4½ points.
Clemson scored first on a 41-yard field goal by Donald Igwebuike to take a 3–0 lead. Nebraska then succeeded with a trick play, as running back Mike Rozier threw a 25-yard halfback pass to Anthony Steels for a touchdown and a 7–3 lead. Igwebuike kicked a 37-yard field goal to pull Clemson to 7–6. Following a Nebraska fumble, Cliff Austin scored on a two-yard touchdown run and Clemson led 12–7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Clemson quarterback Homer Jordan threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Perry Tuttle and Igwebuike added another field goal, this time a 36-yarder, and the Tigers extended their lead to fifteen points at 22–7.
In the fourth quarter, halfback Roger Craig scored for the Huskers on a 26-yard run. Following a Nebraska penalty on the first two-point conversion attempt, Craig then ran it in from the eight, which closed the margin to 22–15 with over nine minutes remaining. The Huskers got the ball back, but penalties ultimately killed the drive and forced them to punt the ball back to Clemson; the Tigers maintained possession for the bulk of the last six minutes and secured their first national championship in college football.
|Time of possession||32:22||27:38|
Clemson remained atop both final polls, while Nebraska dropped to eleventh (AP) and ninth (UPI).
Nebraska played in the Orange Bowl in the next two seasons; Clemson returned thirty years later.