Clemson at North Carolina prediction


by - Senior Writer -
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Will the Clemson defense be able to put four quarters together on the road against UNC?

Clemson at North Carolina is a game without a lot of fanfare. Both teams are 2-2 and looking for their first ACC win, and both teams already have a conference loss, so an 0-2 start by the loser will be a hard hole to climb out of.

Both teams have their issues on defense – Clemson has been giving up big plays for touchdowns, while the Tar Heels have battled suspensions – and each squad will be looking to help their offenses gather that all important first conference win.

North Carolina is still missing 10 players due to the on-going NCAA investigation, including four defensive starters (DT Marvin Austin, CB Charles Brown, CB Kendric Burney, DE Robert Quinn) and one offensive starter (Greg Little).

Last week, we predicted that Clemson would need a big game from a wide receiver in order to beat the Canes and that never happened. This week is no different – Clemson will have to find a passing threat other than Dwayne Allen or Jamie Harper in order to be successful.

The big question is – can they do it, and do it on the road?

Clemson at North Carolina

When Clemson Has the Ball

The Tigers have the ACC’s leading rusher in Andre Ellington, and will once again lean heavily on the Berkeley High School product. Clemson has been rushing the ball effectively at over 200 yards per game, but will need Jamie Harper to stop dancing at the line and once again hit the hole with abandon. The good news for the Tigers is that the Heels rank in the bottom half of the conference in rushing defense, giving up over 170 yards per game on the ground. UNC senior safety Duenta Williams will be back for the first time this season, while safety Da’Norris Searcy was back for his first game a week ago and he had a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown. Those two will be looking to shut down the Clemson passing game, which had its problems against the Hurricanes. The Tigers will give true freshman wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins the start at wide receiver, and if he and his fellow wideouts can have even a modicum of success, it opens up the running lanes even further. North Carolina ranks 21st nationally in pass defense.

ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON

When North Carolina Has the Ball

Much of the talk about the Tar Heel offense in the preseason was how soon senior quarterback T.J. Yates would be unseated by freshman Bryn Renner, but the Atlanta native has completed 86 of 126 passes for 1006 yards for seven touchdowns and one interception and is completing 68% of his passes. The Heels rank 80th in the nation in rushing offense, at just over 130 yards per game, but have been better the last three weeks, averaging 165 yards per game. Clemson has struggled at times against the run, but it has been the big plays in the passing game that have caused the most damage. All three of Miami’s touchdowns a week ago came on busted coverages. Yates will be looking at speedy Jheranie Boyd, who has 10 receptions for 283 yards and two touchdowns, and Dwight Jones to make plays in the passing game. North Carolina’s line is solid, and if Clemson has to dial up blitz packages to get pressure on Yates, it could leave the secondary vulnerable to, yep, the big play.

ADVANTAGE – NORTH CAROLINA

Special Teams

UNC is fourth in the ACC in kickoff returns and seventh in punt returns, while Clemson’s Marcus Gilchrist is in the top three in the ACC in punt and kickoff returns. Punter Dawson Zimmerman leads the ACC in punting at 46.5 yards per punt. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro is still an unknown – he has made 2-of-3 field goals, but was not called on to kick a field goal late last week against Miami. I picked Clemson even in special teams against Miami a week ago, much to the derision of some folks, but coach Andre Powell has turned Clemson’s special units into a solid group. Heel kicker Casey Barth has made 47 consecutive extra points, and is 3-of-4 on field goals this season. The difference maker in this matchup could be in the fact that Clemson’s coverage teams are better.

.ADVANTAGE – SLIGHT TO CLEMSON

Coaching

With all of the turmoil that has enveloped the North Carolina program since the beginning of the season, you have to take your hat off to North Carolina head coach Butch Davis and his staff. The Heels opened with losses to LSU and Georgia Tech, but have rebounded with wins over Rutgers and East Carolina. A win over Clemson puts them at 3-2, which might have been unthinkable four weeks ago. Clemson’s coaching staff is trying to deal with how to eliminate mistakes and let talent take over. So far, that hasn’t happened, and a loss at UNC on Saturday would drop head coach Dabo Swinney’s record at Clemson to 15-11 – not what Clemson fans expect or hope for.

ADVANTAGE –RIGHT NOW, UNC

BOTTOM LINE


The Tigers are faced with an almost must-win situation if they want to keep hopes of an ACC Championship alive. A loss on Saturday would force Clemson into a situation where they most likely would have to win the remainder of their conference games in order to have a shot. Getting on top of North Carolina early would seem to be the best route – the Heels have allowed a paltry six points in the fourth quarter this season. Quarterback Kyle Parker will have to shake off last week’s ineffective start and hit some plays with the wide receivers early in order to help protect the Tiger running game. The Clemson defense will have to limit big plays, but until that happens, especially on the road.....

THE PICK

NORTH CAROLINA 26, CLEMSON 23




David's previous picks - Actual score

CLEMSON 56, PRESBYTERIAN 6 - CLEMSON 58, PRESBYTERIAN 21

CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10 - CLEMSON 35, NORTH TEXAS 10

CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 24 - CLEMSON 24, AUBURN 27

CLEMSON 27, MIAMI 23 - CLEMSON 21, MIAMI 30

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Subject (Replies: 40) Author
Clemson at North Carolina prediction
B-Meist®
Wow - even I picked them to win...
deleted
Not me, he picked us to beat Auburn and Miami.***
6317forever®
someone predicting us to lose worries you?
york_tiger
A little melodramatic there. He knows his stuff and picked
deleted
I would argue the "knows his stuff"....
york_tiger
Man you are being picky today - all predictions are just
deleted
"His predictions are guesswork". Yes. By definition.***
Razzmatazz
Re: I would argue the "knows his stuff"....
allorangeallthetime52®
he hasnt picked a meaningful game correctly yet this year
poppasback
Not me cause Hood is clueless.***
deleted
Where do you find fault in his assessment of the game?***
joeyb®
First Clemson doesn't have the advantage on offense also
deleted
you are wrong***
york_tiger
We will see.***
deleted
Re: you are wrong*** ///// As wrong, as wrong can get !!!***
allorangeallthetime52®
Yeah - gotta give the coaching edge to Davis (Hood even
joeyb®
you are right
york_tiger
Yep - KP was missing open receivers against Miami. The fact
joeyb®
Re: Yep - KP was missing open receivers against Miami.
icebucket
heck, we moved the ball against Miami...
camcgee®
Clemson is the better team even with their starters in...
camcgee®
They're only missing 5 now, not 10.***
deleted
No need to Worry...Hood is Clueless
Pawsitive Force
Based on your season results so far, just flip a coin.***
clemson_tiger29678
Re: Based on your season results so far, just flip a coin.***
clemson80tiger
c80t, you 'ol tater, i'm glad to see you are still
Rowdy28
Re: c80t, you 'ol tater, i'm glad to see you are still
allorangeallthetime52®
YES!!! He picked UNC, so we will win now for sure.***
deleted
Infidel! Repent or ride in the rearmost tractorcade...
RevDodd®
lol Rev!***
CUfan75®
Face the wrath that cometh ye way***
MackDaddy®
He got it wrong again. Here's my worthless prediction.
Razzmatazz
when was the last time somebody threw for a lot of yards?
camcgee®
Wow! I was realy wrong. Our coaches ARE bad enough to lose
Razzmatazz
This is a good omen!!!!!!!***
Cdixon11
i agree 100%
dago44
Re: i agree 100%
allorangeallthetime52®
oh cootboy
dago44
CLEM-23...UNC-16***
Prime T. Tiger
Looks like David was right on this one.***
TigerSig

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