Clemson vs. UNC Quotes & Notes

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Position: Head Coach

Clemson Head Coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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Overall thoughts:
“It was a great week. This was a great opportunity for us to respond and inspire other people to bounce back.

“We actually played better last week and lost. We weren’t very good offensively in the first half but the defense played outstanding. We still have a lot to improve on.

“There were some real positives on special teams. (Ammon) Lakip had a lot of pressure on him and he did really well. I’m really proud of him. Special teams as a whole had a real impact on the game tonight.

“Our young guys played great. Six touchdowns by freshmen and sophomores is very encouraging.

“(Deshaun) Watson played well but he had some things to work on. He will learn from this game.

“We did what we had to do to win. It was great to be back at home. The crowd was awesome. We have another big week coming up and we’re going to have to play well against NC State.

North Carolina Head Coach Larry Fedora
Overall thoughts:
“We had a bunch of guys who played hard. We gave up too many big plays defensively. We played much better against the run, which was really good and gave us a chance. Offensively, we didn’t make enough big plays to win a football game.”

On the issues on offense:
“We have a lot of issues. We’re still working on a young offensive line as part of a unit that’s still a work in progress. We have a long way to go. They’re not the only problem though…we have a lot of problems. We’ve got to see much more consistency. I thought Marquise (Williams) did a nice job under a lot of pressure. I thought he made a lot of plays when we needed him to.”

On the play of quarterback Marquise Williams in the second half:
“The thing was, we tried to run the ball and we weren’t successful in the first half. When we started to throw the ball, we were able to run, which started to help him out because he wasn’t seeing quite as much pressure.”

On the play of the defense:
“We made mistakes in the back end. We were letting people free and that’s just a mistake. We just didn’t execute.”

On the defensive gameplan:
“We wanted to stop the run and I thought our guys did a really good job of that. We tried to make (Deshaun) Watson beat us with his arm and I didn’t foresee that we would just turn people loose. He did a nice job taking advantage of that. The kid’s a good player. He’s going to be really good.”

WR Artavis Scott
On recovering from Florida State:
“On offense, we had to come out fast. We knew we had to recover from last week. Deshaun (Watson) just did what he usually does, which was to come out calm and do what the coaches have asked him to do.”

On Watson’s performance:
“As soon as I heard coach (Swinney) say he set the record, I was like ‘Dang, how in the world did he do that as a young freshman?’ He just stays so calm in these situations and we’re happy for him.”

WR Germone Hopper
On getting involved early:
“Coach (Swinney) told me before the game that I would be a big part of the offense early, so I was just ready to play.”

On first touchdown catch:
“The safeties came rushing down and I became wide open and I knew that he (Watson) would be looking my way.”

DE Vic Beasley
On team performance:
“We played a great game. We played well as a defense in the first half but gave up a lot of points in the second half. As a team, we put it together and finished the job this week.”

On sack record:
“I came back and wanted to break that record, and I look forward to doing so.”

On getting back on track:
“We’ve been battle tested in games like Georgia and Florida State, so we know what it takes to win the big games, so we are definitely back on track now.”

CB Garry Peters
On returning to Death Valley:
“Coming off last week, I felt like we had a sorry taste in our mouth, so everybody was ready to play. It’s best playing in front of the best fans in the world, so I couldn’t wait to play. It’s big to get a win, especially after that loss last week.”

On defending UNC receivers:
“We face great receivers in practice every day, so when it comes to the game, it’s a lot easier. They’ve got some great, tall receivers, and I’m sure a lot of them will play on the next level, but we face great receivers in practice every day, so it’s nothing new.”

QB Deshaun Watson
Initial thoughts:
“I was expecting to go out there an execute, so it wasn’t really a surprise”

On expecting this from his first start:
“Not really. I was expecting to go out and execute, and that’s what we did. It just happened that my O-line was big and my receivers made great catches. And I’m happy with the records."

On knowing he’d start entering the game:”
“I always go out there competing and ready to go. I love to go out there and have fun."

Clemson vs. North Carolina Notes
Memorial Stadium – Clemson, S.C.
September 27, 2014

Team Notes
* Clemson is now 36-19-1 all-time against North Carolina, including a 19-7 record at Clemson. The Tigers have won five of the last six in the series. Clemson has scored at least 50 points in each the last three meetings played at Clemson in the series.

* The Tigers have scored at least 50 points in each of their last four homes games, dating to last season. They have outscored their opponents 230-79 in those four games.

* Clemson improved to 74-0-1 all-time when totaling at least 500 yards of total offense.

* Clemson won for just the fifth time in 17 tries when starting a true-freshman quarterback. Watson is the first true-freshman quarterback to record a win in his first career start.

* The Tigers held their opponent to less than 100 rushing yards for the third straight game. Clemson has surrendered a total of 104 rushing yards in its last three contests.

* Clemson had two 100-yard receivers in tonight’s game with Germone Hopper (139) and Mike Williams (122) each passing the century mark. It is the first time since last season against Georgia Tech that Clemson had a pair of receivers record 100 receiving yards. Martavis Bryant totaled 176 receiving yards in that contest, while Sammy Watkins added 104.

* Clemson and North Carolina combined for 85 points. That is the third-most combined points in a game by the Tigers and Tar Heels in series history. The last matchup between the two, in 2011, produced a combined 97 points, the most in the history of the series.

* The Tigers have now won their last six games against teams from the state of North Carolina and 10 of their last 11 against Tar Heel State teams overall. Clemson will have an opportunity to extend the streak next week when it hosts NC State.

* Clemson scored exactly 50 points in a game for the first time in school history.

Individual Notes
* Deshaun Watson threw for six touchdowns in his first career start. Watson is the first quarterback in Clemson history to throw six touchdowns passes in a game. He is also the first freshman quarterback in ACC history to throw for six touchdowns.

*Watson also tied the ACC single-game record for touchdown passes. He is just the fifth player in ACC history, regardless of class, to throw six touchdown passes in a game. Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage last did it against Duke in 2013.

* Watson threw for a freshman-record 435 yards in the game. The total ranks second in Clemson history for single-game passing yards, regardless of class, to only Tajh Boyd, who threw for 455 yards at Syracuse last season. Additionally, it is the second-most passing yards in a quarterback’s first start in ACC history. Duke’s Dave Brown, who threw for 444 yards against Wake Forest in 1989, is the only player in ACC history to throw for more yards in a starting debut.

* Watson earned a win in his first career start tonight. Six of the last seven Clemson quarterbacks have earned a win in their first career starts.

* Watson has now thrown for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, both season bests by a true freshman. The previous records were 750 passing yards and five touchdowns by Willie Jordan in 1975.

* Watson’s first pass of the game, caught by Hopper, went for 74 yards and a touchdown. It is Clemson’s longest play of the season.

* Vic Beasley recorded two sacks to give him 27 for his career. He moves in to sole possession of third place in Clemson history for career sacks. He is just one shy of the Clemson career record of 28, set by Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams.

* Germone Hopper recorded a career-high 139 receiving yards on three catches, with two going for touchdowns. It was the second time in Hopper’s career that he caught two touchdowns in a game, also doing so against SC State in 2013.

* Mike Williams also passed the century mark with a career-high 122 receiving yards on a career-high six receptions and two touchdowns, his first two of the season. It was the first time in his career that he had more than one touchdown reception in a game.

* Robert Smith recorded his first interception of the season and the third of his career in the fourth quarter. The safety was also credited with five tackles in the game.

* Artavis Scott recorded a career-high eight receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown.

* Jayron Kearse led the Tigers with 10 tackles. A different Tiger defender has led the team in tackles in all four games this season.

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