No. 1 Clemson assuredly got a scare, and it survived. Barely.
The top-ranked Tigers, boasting a 19-game acceptable streak, marched into Chapel Hill to booty on North Carolina and faced a abundant tougher claiming than best expected. North Carolina had a adventitious to booty the advance with a two-point about-face with 1:14 to play, but the Tar Heels were blimp and the Tigers able with a 21-20 victory.
The bold was angry at 14-14 entering the fourth quarter, and the Tar Heels were active into Clemson territory. But Clemson’s aegis would footfall up, accepting a stop on fourth-and-short abreast midfield.
The Tigers’ breach again capitalized on the acceptable acreage position aback Trevor Lawrence begin Tee Higgins for a ambitious 38-yard touchdown catch. That account accepted to be the game-winner, alike afterwards UNC apprentice quarterback Sam Howell took his aggregation the breadth of the acreage in the final minutes. Javonte Williams’ one-yard attempt cut the Clemson advance to 21-20, and Mack Brown autonomous to go for two and the lead.
The Tar Heels dialed up an advantage play, and Howell was smothered by an arrangement of Clemson defenders. The angle somehow fabricated its way to a UNC back, but Clemson was there to get the stop.
From there, UNC approved an onside kick, but Clemson recovered it and took a knee to assuredly breathe a blow of relief.
As adamantine as North Carolina played, it acquainted like Clemson was affectionate of activity through the motions for best of the aboriginal bisected — abnormally on offense. UNC marched appropriate bottomward the acreage and denticulate on its aboriginal drive, so Clemson was arena from abaft all afternoon. But the Tigers still seemed to accept a abridgement of coercion alike afterwards attached the account at 7-7 aboriginal in the additional quarter.
The bold was angry 14-14 at halftime, and Lawrence had connected burden in his face throughout the third quarter. By the time that anatomy ended, Clemson had aloof 42 yards of breach with a about-face on downs and three punts. It was ugly. Lawrence wasn’t after accountability either. Yes, he was beneath pressure, but he absent some throws he usually converts in yet addition archetype of Lawrence not actuality absolutely as aciculate as he was during Clemson’s CFP run a year ago.
But Lawrence fabricated the big bandy aback it mattered. His game-winning affiliation with Higgins came on third-and-6, and it was arguably his best canyon of the afternoon.
The Tigers are advantageous to leave Chapel Hill with the victory, and now Dabo Swinney will accept affluence of actual to get his team’s absorption affective forward. And if contempo years are any adumbration — Clemson almost exhausted Syracuse in Anniversary 5 aftermost year — the Tigers will be aloof fine.
Clemson is now 5-0 entering a bye anniversary with amateur adjoin Florida State and Louisville on the horizon.
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