Oct. 19, 2011
Clemson vs. North Carolina Complete Game Notes
Clemson vs. North Carolina Series Clemson holds a 34-19-1 lead in the series with North Carolina that dates to 1897, the second year of Clemson football. The 1897 game was just the sixth game in Clemson football history and the Tar Heels won that game 28-0. It was the first game for the Tigers against a team that is now in the ACC Clemson has won five of the last seven meetings dating to the 1999 season, Tommy Bowden’s first year. This will be the second game for the Tigers against the Tar Heels since Dabo Swinney became head coach. Last year North Carolina won 21-16 in Chapel Hill, Clemson’s only appearance in Chapel Hill between 2003 and 2014.
Clemson has scored at least 31 points in each of the five wins against North Carolina, since 1999, but just 19 points combined in the two losses. Clemson scored 31 points in a 31-20 win at Death Valley in 1999 against a Tar Heel team coached by Carl Torbush. The Tigers won the 2000 game 38-24 behind four touchdown passes by backup quarterback Willie Simmons, who was on for an injured Woody Dantzler. It is the only game in Clemson history that a non-starter has thrown four touchdown passes.
Clemson was ranked 13th in the nation entering the 2001 meeting with the Tar Heels and Woody Dantzler was coming off the best back-to-back performances in Clemson history by a Tiger signal caller. He had 418 yards total offense in an overtime win against Georgia Tech and 517 in a win at NC State. Over 84,000 Clemson fans attended that Homecoming game in 2001, but Julius Peppers and the North Carolina defense had a plan to stop Dantzler and held him to a season low 127 total yards rushing and passing in a 38-3 North Carolina win. That Tar Heel team went on to defeat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Freshman Charlie Whitehurst threw four touchdown passes in just his second start in a 42-12 Clemson win at North Carolina in 2002. Tye Hill had the only 100-yard rushing day of his career in that victory. The next year Hill moved to defense and became a first round draft choice.
The Tigers won the 2003 meeting at Clemson by a 36-28 score, then Clemson won in 2006 at Clemson, 52-7. Clemson celebrated the 25-year anniversary of its National Championship at that game and the Tigers looked like champions that day, gaining 504 yards of total offense and 30 first downs. Now five years later Clemson will again celebrate its national championship, this time with the 30-year anniversary.
Clemson has won 18 of the last 25 meetings in the series. The Tigers have a 17-7 lead in games played at Clemson and Death Valley, and a 15-11-1 advantage in games in Chapel Hill, including a 14-10-1 lead in games at Keenan Stadium.
The landmark game of the series took place at North Carolina in 1981. The Tigers won that contest 10-8 behind an outstanding defense led by Jeff Davis and Jeff Bryant. It was the first meeting of top 10 ACC teams in the history of the conference, as Clemson was undefeated and ranked second in the nation entering the contest, while the Tar Heels were 7-1 and ranked eighth.. Jeff Bryant recovered a North Carolina lateral with a minute left to clinch the victory for the Tigers, a key win in Clemson’s National Championship season.
Clemson’s number-eight AP ranking entering today’s game is the highest for the program entering a game with North Carolina since 2000 when Clemson was ranked fifth.
Notes on the Clemson Offense in 2011: Clemson ranks 15th in the nation in total offense, averaging 487 yards per game, and 21st in scoring, averaging 38 points per game. Both figures are at a Clemson record pace. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is 13th in the nation in passing efficiency and 13th in total offense. Boyd has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game and set a school record for wins by a starting quarterback at the beginning of a career as the starter. Boyd has 19 touchdown passes in seven games, already the fifth most for a season in school history. Sammy Watkins is 10th in the nation in all-purpose running and 18 in receiving yards per game. He is tied for third in touchdown receptions with eight. Watkins was National Player of the Week, National Freshman of the Week and ACC Player of the Week for his 345-yard all-purpose running performance against Maryland. He broke C.J. Spiller’s single game record of 312 yards against Florida State in 2009. Watkins has already set or tied nine Clemson freshman records. Clemson offense has outscored the opposition 68-23 in the fourth quarter this year. Clemson has scored at least 35 points in six of the seven games, and gained at least 440 yards of total offense in six of the seven games. An example of Clemson’s balance, Tigers have at least one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown in all seven games so far this year. Clemson also has one of the top 25 rushers in the nation (Andre Ellington, 24th) and receivers (Sammy Watkins, 18th in yardage). Clemson has scored in 19 consecutive quarters, just one from the all-time Clemson record of 20 straight in 1983.
Tigers from the Tar Heel State Clemson has 12 natives of the Tar Heel state on its roster. The list includes two current starters, tight end Dwayne Allen and starting tackle Landon Walker.
Allen is one of the top tight ends in the nation and has 27 receptions for 381 yards and four touchdowns so far. He is a candidate for the John Mackey Award. Walker is in his fourth year as a starting offensive tackle and will make his 43rd career start on Saturday. His dad, Gary Walker, was a member of Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team, a team that will be honored this Saturday.
Clemson has had solid players from the Tar Heel state in recent years. Two starters from last year’s team who came to Clemson from North Carolina are now starting in the NFL, Marcus Gilchrist with the San Diego Chargers and Chris Hairston with the Buffalo Bills.
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