Clemson vs. UNC Prediction: One more time in Death Valley this season
Clemson takes on North Carolina at 3:30 pm Saturday.

Clemson vs. UNC Prediction: One more time in Death Valley this season

by - Senior Writer -

One more game in Death Valley this season. One more chance to see Tiger Walk, to cheer on your Tigers from your favorite seats, hear the cannons after a score, and see the scoreboard light up before the start of the fourth quarter.

One more shot to see the Tigers play at home in 2023.

Clemson will play its 2023 home finale when the Tigers host the No. 20-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Kickoff for Senior Day at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

CLEMSON (6-4, 3-4 ACC) vs. 22/20 NORTH CAROLINA (8-2, 4-2 ACC)

WHEN: SATURDAY, NOV. 18, 3:30 p.m. ET

TELEVISION: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Robert Griffin III, Kris Budden)
RADIO: Clemson Athletic Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)
RADIO: Gridiron Radio Network (Noah Britt, Jon Reynolds, Patrick Johnson)
SATELLITE RADIO: SiriusXM 137 or 193


OVERALL: Clemson leads, 39-19-1
HOME: Clemson leads, 19-7
ROAD: Clemson leads, 16-11-1
NEUTRAL: Clemson leads, 4-1
LAST MEETING: Dec. 3, 2022


*Clemson is attempting to post a perfect homestand of three or more games for the 12th time in program history (1974, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2020). Note: Clemson also had undefeated homestands in 1982, 1983 and 1991 that included ties; in 1987 and 2008, Clemson had homestands longer than three games in which the Tigers won at least three games in a row but did not win every game. –

*Clemson is attempting to improve to 30-12 against AP Top 25 teams in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014). Clemson would become only the fourth program to win 30 games against AP-ranked opponents in that span (Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia).

*Clemson is attempting to improve to 15-3 at home against AP Top 25 teams since 2011.


This is the best offense Clemson has faced to date. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 3 nationally in total offense, and Drake Maye leads North Carolina with 3,145 passing yards (314.5 ypg) on 231-of-351 passing with 21 touchdowns compared to six interceptions this season. He also adds 276 rushing yards (27.6 ypg) on 93 carries while scoring eight touchdowns on the ground.

Omarion Hampton's team-high 1,236 rushing yards (123.6 per game) have come on 206 carries, with 13 touchdowns this year. He's also tacked on 24 catches for 204 yards (20.4 per game) and one touchdown.

On the receiving end, J.J. Jones has hauled in 33 passes for 536 yards (53.6 yards per game) and one touchdown this year, while tight end Bryson Nesbit's 36 grabs have turned into 508 yards (50.8 ypg) and five touchdowns.

In other words, it’s hard to say you’ll just take away the run, because they can throw it all over the yard. Take away the pass? They can run it, too. But the Heels offensive line has allowed a lot of pressure on Maye and he’s been sacked 23 times. Where other teams have failed, however, is in after they get pressure on Maye….they see him run and defenders leave their men and Maye throws it to an open man for a big play. Or he runs for big yards. This is what Brent Venables would call an “eyes” game. This is the best defense UNC has faced this season – they’ve only faced one defense above 45th (yards allowed per game) – and Clemson made the Heels drive the field last season in the ACC Championship, and at some point, UNC made a mistake that killed the drive.

That formula should work again, but UNC will still score points.


North Carolina’s defense gives away yards on an equal opportunity basis – the Heels are 84th against the pass and 79th against the run. The defense started strong but, over the last four conference games, has given up 482, 436, 635, and 379 yards. A lot of that damage has occurred in the second half of games.

Cade Klubnik leads Clemson with 2,261 passing yards (226.1 yards per game) and has a 63.3% completion percentage this year (224-of-354) while throwing 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Phil Mafah has 126 carries for a team-high 721 rushing yards (72.1 per game) and eight touchdowns.

So far this year Will Shipley has rushed for 592 yards on 123 carries (59.2 ypg), with four rushing touchdowns.

Beaux Collins has hauled in 38 receptions for 510 yards, best on his team, and three touchdowns. He averages 51.0 receiving yards per game. Tyler Brown has hauled in 39 catches for 445 yards (44.5 yards per game) and four touchdowns. Tight end Jake Briningstool has 384 receiving yards on 37 receptions, with four touchdowns, averaging 38.4 yards per game.

I like what the offense has done over the last few weeks – the offensive line is zone blocking, and many of the pulls and counters have disappeared. That’s allowed the Tigers to finally run the football with success while still finding passing lanes. The deep ball has disappeared over the last few weeks, but I think we see it reappear against the Heels. A few deep shots, run the ball, and not turning it over is a recipe for success.


Emotions will be high – the Heels are the team with the ranking and the better record and are the underdog. It’s Senior Day for the Tigers, and many fan favorites will run down the hill for the last time. But once the emotions settle, it’s just football. Clemson has played better of late, and I don’t think Maye has seen a pass rush like he will see Saturday afternoon. UNC will score points, but it won’t be enough as the Tigers continue to find their way.


TigerNet picks

David Hood - TigerNet senior writer - 35-22 Clemson
Mickey Plyler - The Roar 105.5 morning show host - 34-24 Clemson
Nikki Hood - Staff writer - 42-28 Clemson
Brandon Rink - Associate editor - 34-26 Clemson
Tony Crumpton - Associate editor - 31-24 Clemson
Pigskin Prophet - 34-27 Clemson
Ryan Kantor - Contributing Writer - 35-28 Clemson
Ariana Pensy - TigerNet Intern - 38-35 Clemson
Merrell Mann - Photographer - 35-31 Clemson

Game Actual David Hood Plyler Nikki Hood Rink Crumpton Prophet Kantor Pensy Mann
Duke 28-7 DU 38-20 CU 31-17 CU 45-17 CU 31-16 CU 34-20 CU 37-17 CU 41-17 CU 35-10 CU 35-13 CU -
CSU 66-17 CU 56-3 CU 56-0 CU 42-10 CU 52-3 CU 45-6 CU 60-13 CU 41-10 CU 21-14 CU 45-3 CU -
FAU 48-14 CU 38-10 CU 49-14 CU 49-17 CU 42-17 CU 42-10 CU 44-3 CU 41-10 CU 45-14 CU 42-14 CU -
FSU 31-24 FSU OT 30-24 FSU 31-30 CU 28-20 FSU 30-28 FSU 28-27 CU 30-27 CU 31-28 FSU 37-34 FSU 29-28 CU -
SU 31-14 CU 30-20 CU 34-17 CU 35-17 CU 28-23 CU 31-21 CU 34-23 CU 28-17 CU 35-31 CU 28-24 CU -
WF 17-12 CU 37-13 CU 47-17 CU 38-10 CU 38-16 CU 42-13 CU 45-9 CU 35-10 CU 35-14 CU 38-17 CU -
MIA 28-20 MIA 2OT 31-20 CU 31-21 CU 30-17 CU 24-20 CU 28-20 CU 27-17 CU 24-17 CU 28-24 CU 31-17 CU -
NCSU 24-17 NCSU 28-13 CU 31-13 CU 28-17 CU 26-16 CU 27-17 CU 38-10 CU 24-14 CU 28-24 CU 24-14 CU -
ND 31-23 CU 27-17 ND 20-17 ND 28-24 CU 23-16 ND 24-21 ND 27-24 ND 28-14 ND 31-24 ND 24-21 CU -
GT 42-21 CU 34-24 CU 31-21 CU 40-24 CU 34-21 CU 34-20 CU 44-27 CU 28-21 CU 27-21 CU 35-14 CU -
Points - 8 9 11 6 5 7 10 8 6

* Points: 3 pts for best correct prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 2 pts for picking score exactly, 1 pt for picking the correct winner

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