Dabo Swinney brings his Tigers into Saturday’s contest with the 20th Ranked Mac Brown coached North Carolina Tarheels seeking a home win in the Tigers last appearance in “Death Valley” for the 2023 Season. The Tigers 6-4 overall and 3-4 in the ACC face an 8-2(4-2) Tarheels squad led by quarterback Drake Maye. Maye who is considered the top QB in the upcoming draft has had a great season and looks to continue his success inside Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Heels also bring with them the ACC’s top rusher in Omarion Hampton who is averaging over 120 yards per contest. Clemson will have to play its best game of the season defensively as this is the most potent attack the Tiger will have faced in 2023.
If there is a match up to watch here it will be Clemson’s mix of veteran young defensive backs as they match up downfield with a wide receiver corps that can gash any defense in the nation. Maye and the Heels are averaging over 500 yards per game offensively… But have yet to face a defense this season ranked any higher than 45th. Clemson ranks currently 5th overall nationally in defense, only relinquishing a mere 271 yards a game total. The game inside the game will definitely be between this talented UNC offense and a stingy Tigers defense. As of late forcing turnovers and limiting offensive possessions has been Wes Goodwin’s forte and will need a team that plays with its “eyes” on Saturday as to keep Drake Maye and company contained.
Now when it comes to UNC and defense… so far 2023 has been an up and down affair. if you look at the 25 points a game they average giving up you think that is relatively solid number, not great but not bad..But inside those numbers were two games that allowed teams to rack up yardage and points. As recent as last week’s defeat of Duke where they gave up 42 and go back the last ACC contest that also saw the Heels give up 46 to Georgia Tech, a team Clemson handled with relative ease. Gene Chizik’s defense is talented with players that were recruited by the Tigers. But the scheme yet again has not justified the talent on the field and teams have found luck against this defense on both ground and through the air. As of today’s contest the Heels give up almost 400 yards a game. Garrett Riley’s Clemson offense has seemed to find itself a little each week of the season overcoming injuries all over the unit. And last week showed the “balance” in the run and pass they have searched for all season. This UNC defense has susceptible to the run and with the Tigers run game hitting its peak lately along with Cade Klubnik’s ability to manage the offense and make a few plays when he’s been forced out of the pocket… Look for the Tigers to build on recent successes and have the ability to drive the field and score while keeping the Tarheels limited in snaps as they control time of possession with the run game.
We see a game where Maye will rack up yardage and will find open wideouts from time to time. But, the Tigers defense will pressure the Heels QB into a mistake or two… limiting the North Carolina offense to snaps as the Tigers on offense will find the ability to implement the balance needed inside their gameplan to score and keep the ball and manipulate the clock. Clemson will find that 7th win of the season and send the home town fans away from Tigertown with the winning feeling as they prepare for “Hate Week”..
Clemson 37 UNC 24