Over the course of a 20-game winning streak, there are bound to be some close calls. On Saturday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, No. 1 Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) had one of the closest calls of their current 20-game winning streak as the Tigers held on to escape an upset bid by North Carolina (2-3, 1-1 ACC), 21-20. Clemson came up with a stop on a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute of the game and prevented UNC from coming up with an onside kick to grab the win.
North Carolina did a good job of keeping Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence off his mark for most of the night (Lawrence was 18-of-30 for 206 yards and a touchdown), but he delivered a perfect pass to give Clemson its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter with a pass to Tee Higgins.
UNC had an answer, however. Freshman quarterback Sam Howell led the Tar Heels on a 16-play drive and 75 yards to get on the doorstep of the end zone in the final minutes of the game. Javonte Williams pushed the ball in for a touchdown to cut the Clemson lead to one. Head coach Mack Brown didn’t hesitate and was ready to go for two and the win. But Clemson was ready for the play and was all over Howell on the run.
After the win, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney praised the effort by the Tar Heels and admitted to being out-coached by Brown. Swinney also said his team is not entitled to win and still has to go out and earn their wins just like everybody else.
Clemson now continues to extend its winning streak to 20 games, a school record. After getting next week off, the Tigers will host Florida State. North Carolina will visit Georgia Tech next week. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 24-2 loss at Temple.
No. 2 Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC) is starting to have that look again. The Tigers were challenged early against Florida State (4-4, 2-4 ACC) in a scoreless first quarter, but Clemson woke up after that and left no doubt about how good they are. Clemson’s 59-10 victory over Florida State was the biggest margin for victory by the Tigers in the history of the series. It was so lopsided, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had the luxury of inserting backup players in the third quarter.
Trevor Lawrence passed for 314 yards and four touchdowns before getting the entire fourth quarter off. Lawrence had a rough start to the game as it took time for he and the rest of the Clemson offense to get comfortable against a feisty start by the Florida State defense, but once the big plays started coming together, there was no looking back. Tee Higgins caught two touchdown passes inside the red zone to help get the Tigers on their roll, and Amari Rodgers pulled in two touchdown catches to go with his 156 receiving yards.
Clemson’s defense made life difficult for Florida State all afternoon. The Seminoles had a team total of -21 rushing yards and the team combined for 253 yards of offense in the game. Meanwhile, Clemson racked up more than double that with 523 yards, including 404 through the air. Florida State was also penalized 16 times for 140 yards, and two turnovers led to Clemson points when the game was still relatively up for grabs. For as uch progress as Florida State seemed to be making in recent weeks, all of that went out the window against Clemson.
Clemson’s 49-point victory is the largest margin for victory by Clemson in the all-time series against Florida State, and the second-most lopsided victory by either team in the series. Florida State defeated Clemson 57-0 in 1993 and 48-0 in 1998. Florida State also had a 47-point victory over the Tigers in 2000.
Next up for Clemson is a home game against Louisville. The Cardinals have been struggling mightily this season, which seems to suggest there should be another comfortable Clemson win on the horizon. Three of the final four games Clemson plays will come at home, with the only road trip remaining coming up in two weeks at Boston College. The fate of the division could come down to that game.
Florida State plays their next two games on the road, first at NC State next week and then at Notre Dame after that. The margin for error to get to a bowl game is beginning to get razor thin for the Seminoles. Florida State needs two wins in their final four games in order to go bowling. The two home games remaining will be played against Boston College and Florida.
Florida State was already going to have a difficult time competing with Clemson, but penalties and a turnover have only hurt their chances of pulling a big upset in the ACC this afternoon. Clemson is taking a 28-0 lead into the second half in Doak Campbell Stadium, moving the defending ACC champions one half closer to maintaining sole possession of first place in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Florida State’s defense managed to keep things interesting early on by keeping Clemson’s offense out of sync. Trevor Lawrence had a rough start to the game but has kept his poise and managed to throw a pair of touchdowns while Travis Etienne is fighting for every yard he can when given the chance to run.
Clemson ended up taking advantage of a penalty on Florida State’s special teams unit in the second quarter. After the Seminoles were flagged for roughing the kicker on a missed Clemson field goal, the Tigers capitalized on the free first down with Lawrence completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins on 3rd & 5.
Lawrence would connect with Higgins again on Clemson’s next possession to take a 14-0 lead. After Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois was intercepted on a 3rd and 20 pass attempt by Tre Lamar, Clemson added to their lead with a goal-line touchdown run by Christian Wilkins. Clemson would score a fourth touchdown on their fourth straight drive the offense’s next time up late in the half to push the lead to 28-0.
Florida State has been flagged seven times for 59 penalty yards. Further complicating things for Florida State is an apparent injury to Dontavious Jackson, who was helped off the field late in the half. The linebacker’s status was unknown but his potential loss would be a tough blow for Florida State’s defense. Defensive back Stanford Samuels also came off the field on the same drive.
It’s already been one long half for Florida State, and there are still 30 minutes to go in Tallahassee.
There may have been some slight panic attacks for the Clemson football program this weekend after an auto dealer posted an image of wide receiver Tee Higgins in front of a top-of-the-line sports car. Fortunately for Clemson, there may be no real need for the NCAA to come open an investigation after the auto dealer deleted the image from its Facebook page rather quickly.
The photo of Higgins came from True Auto Mart in Piedmont, South Carolina. With Higgins posing in front of a McLaren Spider valued at about $200,000, the message from the dealer thanked Higgins for coming to purchase a vehicle at the dealer. Naturally, with the message attached to a photo of a prominent wide receiver from a college football program, it was easy for many to come to a quick conclusion that Higgins bought the car in the photo.
The dealership went on the record to say Higgins did not purchase the car he posed with in the photo, although he did take a ride in it.
“Mr. Higgins didn’t purchase the car in the picture,” the dealer later clarified, according to a report from FitsNews. “However he did love the McLaren and went for a ride in it. It gave him a lot of inspiration to be even better so he can get one with his signing bonus when he gets drafted to the NFL.”
Higgins also requested the image be taken down from the dealer’s Facebook page. Per FitsNews;
“We took the picture down at the request of Mr. Higgins,” another subsequent post from the dealership added. “We did not want to cause any problems for him even though there has been no wrong doing from him or us. We just wanted to post a picture with him in front of a nice car. We are working on getting him in one of our cars currently. We never said he bought the car he was standing in front of. Our other pictures we have of customers states the car they bought. This picture never stated what car he bought if any. People are always quick to judge and come to a false conclusion. It is a shame that a lot of people just want ridicule instead of saying something nice.”
A quick scan of the dealer’s Facebook page shows a string of photos of customers posing in front of their new purchases. The image with Higgins was clearly a publicity stunt for the dealer with no regard for any potential NCAA issues that may arise.
Helmet sticker to SB Nation.