The Game: North Carolina (1-6, 1-2 ACC) at Clemson (4-3, 2-2 ACC) 12:00 PM
Location: Clemson, South Carolina, Memorial Stadium (81,473)
TV Coverage: Jefferson Pilot
Radio Coverage: 104.9 WCCP FM
Spread: Clemson is favored by 13.5 points over North Carolina.
Coaches: Clemson's Tommy Bowden is 33-23 (51-27 overall) in his fifth season in Tiger Town, while North Carolina's John Bunting is 12-20 through his first two and a half years in Chapel Hill.
* What We are Hearing
* Q&A with John Leake
* 5 Keys to Taming the Tar Heels
* Q&A with Mo Fountain
* Q&A with Charlie Whitehurst
* Q&A with Jamaal Fudge
* Tommy Bowden Press Conference
* Press Conference Player Audio
* ACC Game Previews
* North Carolina - Clemson News & Notes
The Forecast: Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 60's to lower 70's for the noon kickoff in Death Valley with winds out of the east southeast at 6 mph. Skies are expected to be partly cloudy.
The Series: Clemson leads the series overall by a count of 32-18-1. However, the road team has had success in recent years. In fact, the road team has won each of the last three games. The last two games have been large victory margins for the road team. North Carolina won at Clemson in 2001 by a 38-3 score on Clemson's Homecoming, one of just three Clemson losses on that special day since 1971.
Injury Update: For the third consecutive game, injuries will impact the Clemson Tigers in a serious way. LB J.J. Howard is out for the year (knee), WR Airese Currie is questionable (ankle), TE Bobby Williamson is doubtful (back), RB Yusef Kelly is doubtful (back), and LB Eric Sampson is doubtful (ankle).
What to watch: On paper, this looks like an absolute shootout, as North Carolina comes into this contest ranked dead last in the conference in scoring defense, giving up a jaw-dropping 37 points per game. QB Darian Durant leads an explosive offensive with some talented receivers in Jarwarski Pollock (who leads the ACC in receptions per game) and Mike Mason, a true freshman. Durant is also extremely accurate, not throwing an interception in his last 130 passing attempts (4 games).
Defensively, the Tar Heels are having problems. Actually, that might be a bit of an understatement as UNC ranks last scoring defense, last in total defense, and last in defending the run. This could be the perfect opportunity for the Tigers to work on the running game and also improve their league worst 3rd conversion percentage of 31.6. If Clemson gets ahead early, the Tigers could win this game in excess of 24+ points, but if UNC gets some early momentum, this contest has all the makings of a shootout.
Interesting Note #1: UNC quarterback Darian Durant is now the career leader in touchdown passes (43), completetions (430), attempts (790) and passing yards (5,461). Durant, who is orginally from South Carolina, wasn't a bigtime target for the Clemson coaching staff coming out of high school, made the Tigers pay in 2001 by completing 11-of-11 passes in a 38-3 victory in Death Valley.
Interesting Note #2: Clemson's LeRoy Hill leads the nation in tackles per loss per game and is making a strong case for ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Hill has also been aided by the outstanding play of Donnell Washington and John Leake.
Don't forget: The Tiger Pregame Show brought to you by CUTigers.com will be broadcasting live on the Lawn at Littlejohn from 7 to 9 Saturday morning. Come by for free magazines, t-shirts, and everything else under of the sun. Also, make sure to get the stadium as early as possible to avoid potential traffic delays generally involved with a 12 o'clock kickoff.
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