CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - For the first time since perhaps the Louisiana Tech game
way back in the second week of the season, Clemson played the role of
favorite Saturday to near perfection.
The Tigers spotted North Carolina a quick 9-0 lead, then roared back for a
42-12 victory over the Tar Heels Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium. The win
qualifies the Tigers (6-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) for a postseason
appearance, while at the same time foiled UNC's (2-8, 0-6) final opportunity
to win a game on its home field in 2002.
"This one means a lot to the team," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said.
"They work extremely hard, and (it was good) to get a sixth win with two
games left against two real good opponents (Maryland, South Carolina). The
team wanted to win this one real bad...they practiced hard this week and came
to the game prepared really well mentally."
The Tigers put together their most balanced offensive performance of the year
against the Tar Heels' struggling defense.
After going all season without a 100-yard effort from a running back, Clemson
got two such outings Saturday - Bernard Rambert's 106 (19 carries) and Tye
Hill's 105 (14 carries). Each also contributed a rushing touchdown.
Clemson finished with 256 net rushing yards against the ACC's worst defense
stopping the run. It came one week after totaling just 59 yards on 33 carries
"You have to credit our offensive line, tight ends included and fullbacks in
the I-formation" Bowden said.
Meanwhile, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst put together his second straight
strong performance. Whitehurst threw for 274 yards (12-of-20), four touchdown
and no interceptions.
He had two long scoring passes - 83 yards to Airese Currie and 58 to J.J.
McKelvey - to go along with a pair of short TD tosses to fullback Chad Jasmin
In all, the Clemson offense finished with 530 total yards, easily its best
output of the season.
"The running game, we really abused (UNC) a lot. Especially in the second
half," said Whitehurst. "That says a lot for our offensive line and how
they've come along."
The Tigers' defense got in on the act, too.
After giving up 1,320 yards in its last three games (440 per outing), Clemson
held the Tar Heels to just 244 total yards. Most impressive was the run
defense, which held UNC to just 72 yards on 33 carries.
Once North Carolina began to struggle on the ground, Clemson turned its pass
rush loose on quarterback C.J. Stephens (15-of-28, 150 yards, TD, int.) and
his backup, Matt Baker. The Tigers sacked Stephens and Baker a total of six
times - all in the second half - for 62 yards in losses.
It proved to be the final insult on a winless home campaign for UNC head
coach John Bunting.
"It's about as tough as it gets - real, real bad. Real bad feeling," he said.
"I don't know how to describe it any worse than that. I don't know how to
come up with any words other than (it's) the worst that's ever been, than
I've ever felt."
Simply put, it was Clemson's most complete, dominating performance of the
"It was the first time with five minutes to go that I could actually take the
headset off and enjoy an afternoon," Bowden said. "Some people get to do it,
and we've done it here before.
"But we haven't done it in about a year-and-a-half."
UNC 2, Clemson 0
Scoring Play - Whiteurst sacked for safety by Knight (7:43).
UNC 9, Clemson 0
Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 30 yards in 2:42.
Scoring Play: Stephens' 18-yard pass to Blizzard at 5:01.
Key Play: White's 46-yard kickoff return to the CU 30 following safety.
UNC 9, Clemson 7
Scoring Drive: 2 plays, 83 yards in :24.
Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 83-yard pass to Currie at 4:37.
Key Play: Scoring Play.
Clemson 14, UNC 9
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 45 yards in 2:59.
Scoring Play: Rambert's 3-yard run at 13:07.
Key Play: Rambert's 14-yard run to the UNC 7 on second-and-13.
Clemson 21, UNC 9
Scoring Drive: 3 plays, 69 yards in :54.
Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 58-yard pass to McKelvey at :29.
Key Play: Scoring Play.
Clemson 28, UNC 9
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 85 yards in 2:36.
Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 14-yard pass to Jasmin at 12:24.
Key Play: Whitehurst's 31-yard pass to Jasmin. 15-yard roughing QB penalty on
UNC puts ball at UNC 14.
Clemson 28, UNC 12
Scoring Drive: 8 plays, 41 yards in 3:11.
Scoring Play: Orner's 49-yard field goal at 9:13.
Key Play: Stephens' 16-yard pass to Hilton to the Clemson 36.
Clemson 35, UNC 12
Scoring Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards in 6:11.
Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 2-yard pass to Jasmin at (3:02).
Key Play: Whitehurst's 13-yard completion to Youngblood to the UNC 17 on
Clemson 42, UNC 12
Scoring Drive: 4 plays, 20 yards in 2:17.
Scoring Play: Hill's 9-yard run at 5:11.
Key Play: Scoring play.
Clemson 7 14 14 7 42
North Carolina 9 0 3 0 12
CLEMSON NORTH CAROLINA
First downs 25 16
Rushed-yards 50-256 33-72
Passing yards 274 172
Sacked-yards lost 1-6 6-62
Return yards 28 0
Passes 12-20-0 17-32-1
Punts 2-35.5 6-33.3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-55 9-69
Time of possession 30:02 29:58
CLEMSON - Bernard Rambert 19-106, Tye Hill 14-105, Kyle Browning 5-16, Cliff Harrell 3-16, Chad Jasmin 5-14, Charlie Whitehurst 3-0, - Team 1-MINUS 1.
NORTH CAROLINA - Jacque Lewis 9-54, Derrele Mitchell 2-16, Mahlon Carey 8-14, C.J. Stephens 10-9, Jawarski Pollock 1-4, - Team 1-MINUS 1, Matt Baker 2-MINUS 24.
CLEMSON - Charlie Whitehurst 12-20-274- 0.
NORTH CAROLINA - C.J. Stephens 15-28-150- 1, Matt Baker 2-4-22- 0.
CLEMSON - Airese Currie 2-90, JJ McKelvey 2-79, Chad Jasmin 3-47, Kevin Youngblood 2-28, Bernard Rambert 2-27, Tye Hill 1-3.
NORTH CAROLINA-Sam Aiken 8-58, Brandon Russell 2-35, Jacque Lewis 1-24, Alden Blizzard 1-18, Zach Hilton 1-16, Chesley Borders 1-9, Jawarski Pollock 1-7, Derrele Mitchell 1-6, Mahlon Carey 1-MINUS 1.
Attendance - 42,000