Clemson Tigers: Survive And Advance, 21-20 Over North Carolina

College football is unpredictable and anything can happen on a given day. Some days the favorite team to win just dominates and other days there are upsets. Sometimes though the team that’s the favorite to win does just enough to win that game. For the Clemson Tigers on Saturday, September 28th, they did just that when they went on the road to Chapel Hill to face the North Carolina Tarheels. As far as what the Clemson Tigers should do every week this season, they should live by the motto “Survive And Advance”.

The Clemson Tigers escaped Chapel Hill 21-20 over North Carolina holding the Tarheels on a last-minute drive that ended on a failed two-point conversion attempt. The game came down to the last few minutes, but the Clemson Tigers had things happen on offense and defense that can be looked at. Let’s analyze the offense and the defense for the Clemson Tigers in the win over North Carolina.

The Tigers on Offense

The Clemson Tigers offense had a hard time getting going and never played at the full potential on Saturday. Straight out of the gate the Tigers couldn’t convert on third down and short. Then B.T. Potter missed the 40-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. The Tigers went into the second quarter down 7-0 to North Carolina. Early in the second quarter running back Travis Etienne runs it in the endzone for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. Then after a Tarheels punt, the Tigers offense got the ball back and Travis Etienne fumbled on the drive to give North Carolina the ball.

The Clemson Tigers would then be down 14-7 after a touchdown by North Carolina on the Tarheels offensive drive. The following Clemson Tigers drive ended in a punt after quarterback Trevor Lawrence got sacked on third down. After a three and out by North Carolina, the Clemson offense would get it back and try to drive. After multiple big catches by wide receiver Tee Higgins, Trevor Lawrence ran it in on third and goal to tie the game at 14-14 going into halftime that way.

Clemson drove on the first drive of the third quarter with big catches by Tee Higgins, but the drive ended on a failed fourth-down attempt. Clemson would get it back after North Carolina failed to convert on third down and the Tigers tried to drive but failed. The Tigers and Tarheels would pretty much punt it to each other through the third quarter. The two teams were still tied 14-14 going into the fourth quarter.

Almost halfway through the last quarter, the Clemson Tigers drove and scored on Trevor Lawrence’s pass to Tee Higgins to take the lead 21-14. The Clemson Tigers offense had 331 total yards which were made up of 206 passing yards and 125 rushing yards. The offense had one turnover but was able to score in the running game twice and passing game once. The Clemson Tigers defense really helped shut it down at the end of the game for the win.

The Tigers on Defense

The Clemson Tigers defense allowed a beautiful touchdown drive in the first quarter by North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell. After the Clemson offense tied it up, North Carolina scored in the second quarter to take the lead 14-7. The Tigers defense held the Tarheels offense through the third quarter and all the way till the last two minutes. North Carolina’s running back Javonte Williams ran it in to make it 20-21. Then the Tarheels offense went for two points. Sam Howell’s option run to the right got shut down by this Clemson Tigers defense.

The Tigers defense showed a lot of guts late in the game and showed why defense wins the game. North Carolina was held on offense to 290 yards. Out of that total yardage, 144 was passing and 146 were rushing. The Clemson Tigers defense did well on the day holding the Tarheels on third-down conversions and on the two-point conversion. The defense for Clemson showed they could win the game when it mattered most for sure.

The Clemson Tigers go into their bye week 5-0 and escaped that battle in Chapel Hill with North Carolina. The Tigers may have survived 21-20, but they can’t afford to play it close like this again or they will get beat. Clemson has a bye week to prepare for the next game and their normal prep week before the Florida State Seminoles come to town. It should be good because the Seminoles are trending upwards. Look for a close game against Florida State and the Clemson Tigers advanced pasted North Carolina this last weekend.

How do you feel about the Clemson Tigers after the North Carolina game? Leave a comment below.

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