You have to look really hard to find anything that didn't go perfectly for the Clemson offense. The only thing was the overthrows and interception by quarterback Will Proctor. He didn't look quite as sharp as he did against Florida State, but he didn't have to, with the running game clicking on all cylinders. After Furman compiled over 500 yards of total offense last week against the Tar Heels, anything short of that by Clemson would have been a disappointment. However, the Tigers didn't disappoint as they, too, had gaudy numbers.
North Carolina came into the game with the third-best offensive numbers in the ACC. It no doubt took a major hit to those numbers as the Tigers completely shut them down. Four of North Carolina's first five possessions ended in three-and-outs. To put things in perspective, Clemson had more rushes (58) than the Tar Heels had rushing yards (54). The Tar Heels also completed less than a third of their pass attempts. North Carolina coach John Bunting said earlier in the week that he wouldn't want to live in Clemson. If I took a beating like he did, I wouldn't want to live there, either.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
The kicking woes seem to have been resolved, but there still looked to be some breakdowns in the blocking with the kicking team. A few times a Tar Heel came close to getting his hand on the ball. Kicker Jad Dean also had four touchbacks, making him look like the same player he was last year. Clemson's punt return was nothing to write home about as the Tigers had a measly six return yards on four attempts. The Tigers' lone kickoff return netted just 11 yards. However, Clemson's kickoff coverage kept UNC pinned behind the 20 on several occasions. Overall, it was about an average performance.
Head coach Tommy Bowden and his staff did a masterful job of getting the Tigers prepared to play at the top of their game. There were no letdowns here, as Clemson was sharp offensively and defensively. Saturday's type of game is what is expected from teams that consider themselves title contenders. Clemson definitely falls into that category.
From top to bottom, Clemson played its best game of the season. There's still room for some improvement, but overall, it doesn't get much better. Yes, North Carolina isn't any good, but the Tigers didn't play down to the other team's level as they have been known to do. It was indeed a statement game in the sense that they let the rest of the conference know that when they play well, beating them is going to be a very unlikely.
Grades: Tigers Romp Heels
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