Oct. 20, 2003
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Two teams coming off heart-breaking two-point losses will battle in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon. Clemson lost at NC State 17-15 on October 18, while North Carolina dropped a 33-31 decision to Arizona State in Kenan Stadium last Saturday. Clemson was down two and had the ball at its own 47 with 4:49 left, but could not get a drive going to a winning field goal. Field goal kicker Aaron Hunt was 3-3 on field goals in the game. North Carolina had a more bitter ending as Arizona State scored on a three-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock, to gain the two-point victory in Chapel Hill.
A look to the stats shows us that Clemson and North Carolina are similar in their offensive attacks. That is especially in the passing game. In fact, both teams have completed exactly 162 passes in seven games entering this contest. North Carolina has thrown 265 passes, while Clemson has thrown 262. Clemson averages 267 yards per game through the air, while North Carolina has thrown for 257.6 yards per outing. Clemson averages 383 yards per game in total offense, third best in the ACC, while North Carolina is at 377 per outing, the fourth best average. Clemson has thrown for 12 touchdown passes, while North Carolina has thrown for 13.
The team passing efficiencies are just 0.1 points apart. Clemson is at 131.6 and North Carolina at 131.5. Clemson does hold the upper hand in terms of defensive stats, however. Clemson is allowing just 312 yards per game in total offense, third best in the ACC and 22nd best in the nation, while North Carolina allows 498.6 yards per game, 116th in the nation out of 117 teams.
The road team has had success in recent years in this series. 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.
Clemson then won 42-12 at North Carolina last year . Clemson won at Chapel Hill by 14 points in 2000. Clemson’s 31-20 victory at home in 1999 is the last time the home team won.
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