Everything was going great for Clemson. The Tigers led 14-9 and, sure, they were about to punt. But Clemson’s defense had held North Carolina to three consecutive three-and-outs, traveling minus-seven, zero and minus-two yards in the process.
And then Andy Teasdall took off.
Facing a 4th-and-15 deep in his own territory, Teasdall decided, to the surprise of everyone inside Bank of America Stadium up to and including his own teammates and coaches, to try to run for the first down.
Clemson answered when Watson, with no timeouts remaining, hit Jordan Leggett for a one-yard touchdown toss. Clemson leads 21-16 after a first half that saw five lead changes.
Making his final Heisman Trophy argument on a day when Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey have shined, Watson has completed 19-of-32 throws for 191 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 13 times for a game-high 99 yards and one touchdown.
North Carolina marched 58 yards in nine plays to set up a 30-yard Nick Weiler field goal on its first possession of the game, then notched a 40-yard snatch-and-dash touchdown from Williams to T.J. Logan but, outside of those plays the Clemson defense has had its way with the Heels’ attack.
Williams, a Charlotte native, hit just 3-of-12 passes for 50 yards in the half, and three Carolina rushes combined to rush 15 times for only 37 yards. North Carolina has but seven first downs and sits at 1-of-7 on third down.
Clemson has out-gained North Carolina 309-103 through one half for an even 3-to-1 advantage.
North Carolina will receive to open the second half.