The Clemson tigers survived a scare in Chapel Hill on Saturday, as UNC showed up in a big way and almost took down the defending National Champions at home. Sam Howell brought the Tar Heels within one play of winning, but came up short.
Clemson Defense Holds On
It came down to a two point conversion try late in the fourth quarter in Chapel Hill, and Clemson’s defense held strong. North Carolina opted to run a Triple Option play out of the shotgun from the 3 yard-line. It was stuffed, and left many people in the college football world wondering about the play call. Some even questioned the necessity of the play to begin with. Most of course saying, “just kick the extra point and take your chances in overtime.” Head Coach Dabo Swinney said postgame “they’re going to go for two if they score here.” So, it seems as if the Tigers were anticipating the call from Brown’s Tar Heels.
“Obviously we made enough mistakes to lose the game.” – Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
It wasn’t pretty for Clemson, as UNC’s Sam Howell went 15-27 for 144 yards and 2 of UNC’s 3 touchdowns, one coming late in the fourth that set up the final play for UNC. Carolina’s Michael Carter had a good day on the ground coming 1 yard shy of 100. On the other side, star QB Trevor Lawrence passed for 206 yards and 1 touchdown, to Tee Higgins, that ended up being the difference maker. Clemson’s Travis Etienne only finished with 67 rushing yards, but did have 1 touchdown.
Coach Swinney was adamant to give credit to UNC’s performance, both by players and coaches. “They probably outplayed us. We made critical mistakes at critical times. We’ll grow from it.” He also stated: “I know we’re supposed to destroy everybody like no one else has scholarships, no one else has coaches. But we’re not perfect.”
Clemson will head for a bye week before welcoming Florida State into Death Valley on the 12th of October. UNC will travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.