Clemson beats North Carolina 39-10 to win ACC Conference Championship
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - No. 9 Clemson dominated No. 23 North Carolina 39-10 to win the ACC Conference Championship. This marks the program’s 21st ACC Conference Championship.
The game started off slow for the Tigers. With quarterback DJ Uiagalelei starting, Clemson’s offense registered back-to-back three-and-outs. Meanwhile, UNC pieced together an 11-play, 78-yard drive that ended in a 7-0 lead for the Tar Heels.
After the slow start on offense, Dabo Swinney made a switch at quarterback. Uiagalelei went to the bench after completing only 2/5 passes for 10 yards. In came true freshmen Cade Klubnik. The change made an immediate difference.
On his first drive, Klubnik completed 5/5 passes for 50 yards and capped off the possession with a 1-yard touchdown to tight end Davis Allen.
Clemson’s defense forced a turnover to get the ball back to the Tigers near the red zone.
Running back Phil Mafah completed a pass to his quarterback Klubnik for a 19-yard gain. On the next play, Mafah ran in a four-yard touchdown. Clemson took their first lead up 14-7.
UNC missed a field goal on their ensuing drive, giving the ball back to a red hot Clemson offense. Klubnik uncorked a 68-yard beauty that was caught by fellow freshmen receiver Cole Turner. The completion was the longest passing play of the season for the Tigers.
Turner finished the day with 3 catches for 101 receiving yards. It was the first time all season that Clemson had a receiver cross the century mark with receiving yardage in a single game.
The play brought Clemson down to the goal line. Klubnik was able to run in the one-yard touchdown on the next play.
BT Potter added a 52-yard field goal to give Clemson a 24-10 lead at the half.
In the beginning of the second half, it was the Tigers defense that started to flex its muscles. Cornerback Nate Wiggins stepped in front of a pass, intercepted it and took it 98-yards the other direction for a pick-six. It’s the longest interception returned for a touchdown in ACC Conference Championship game history.
Will Shipley, a native of Weddington, North Carolina, ran in a touchdown later on to bring the final score to 39-10.
In his first sustained action playing, Klubnik had a special day. The true freshmen completed 20/24 passes for 279 yards and a passing touchdown. Klubnik also tallied 7 carries for 30 rushing yards and a rushing score.
Clemson (11-2, 9-0 ACC) awaits their bowl selection. Most projections say the Tigers will play in the Orange Bowl. Stay tuned to Fox Carolina as those details are learned on Sunday.
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