Instant halftime analysis: Clemson 22, North Carolina 7

by - Senior Writer -
Garry Peters during first half action for Clemson's defense

CLEMSON – Freshman quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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earned most of the cheers during first half action Saturday in Death Valley, but Clemson’s defense also deserves to take a bow as the Tigers lead North Carolina 22-7 at halftime.

Watson threw two long touchdown passes and Clemson’s defense held UNC to 136 total yards and forced a safety late in the first half as the Tigers raced out to the lead.

Player of the half: Germone HopperGermone Hopper
RS So. Wide Receiver
#5 6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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– he has two long touchdown receptions for a career-high 124 yards.

Stat of the half:Watson is 9-for-12 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Another interesting stat is that North Carolina has held the ball for 15:16 of the first half, while the Tigers have had it for 14:44. The Tigers will receive the opening kickoff in the second half.

What’s working for the Tigers:The passing game with Watson, who hit Hopper for a long touchdown on the game’s second play and then hit Hopper for a 50-yarder early in the second quarter.

Clemson’s defense – except for one drive – has held North Carolina’s fast-paced offense in check. The Heels ran 44 plays, but have just 136 total yards.

Field goal kicker Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Jr. Kicker
#36 5-10, 200
Alpharetta, GA

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– who has struggled on the road – has hit two field goals (27 and 45) in the first half.

What’s not working for the Tigers:The blocking on the offensive line has been anemic at times, especially on the left side of the line. The running game is not flourishing as a result, and Clemson’s leading rusher is D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Sr. Running Back
#22 6-0, 205
Lincoln, AL

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, who has seven rushes for a paltry 14 yards. Overall, Clemson has 19 rushing attempts for 25 yards.

Once the Heels went with quicker passes in an effort to offset Clemson’s pass rush, UNC was able to move down the field for their first touchdown.

What the Tigers need to do to win:Execute better offensively. The offensive line has been a train wreck at times in the first half, and Watson has had to rush throws and the running backs simply don’t have holes to run through. Could there be changes on the line in the second half?

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