Clemson beats North Carolina 39-10 to win ACC Conference Championship

Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik runs with the ball in the first half during the Atlantic...
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik runs with the ball in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)(Jacob Kupferman | AP)
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 9:54 PM EST
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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.