Wow. What a complete game for Clemson last week against Georgia Tech. It started off a bit slow and it looked like Tech was going to stack the box and make Cade Klubnik beat them with his arm. Well, he did. AND the Tigers were able to run the ball as well.
Here’s to hoping the Tigers can continue their streak of complimentary football for a third week in a row as North Carolina comes to Death Valley for a big-time match-up.
Here is a look at everything you will need to know about the Tiger’s Week 12 Opponent:
North Carolina Tar Heels
School Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Time: 3:30 ESPN
2023 Record – 8-2; (4-2 ACC) Last Game: Win vs. Duke 47-45 2OT
8 Wins against: South Carolina, Appalachian State, Minnesota, Pitt, Syracuse, Miami, Campbell, Duke
2 Losses against: Georgia Tech, Virginia
Head Coach: Mack Brown – 5th Season – 2nd Stint at UNC – 282-146-1 Overall
Coach Brown is a legend. A very successful career that’s spanned 45 years, 34 years as a Head Coach between Appalachian State, North Carolina and Texas. His teams are notorious for playing hard for him. He is a tremendous players coach and leader of men. A good personal friend and mentor to Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney from Brown’s days as an analyst at ESPN and head coach at Texas.
Offensive Coordinator: Chip Lindsey – 1st year at UNC; (Previous: UCF OC, Auburn OC, Troy HC)
Coach Lindsey is a well-traveled coach. He’s had extensive experience at the high school level to the highest level of college football. He is known as one of the most innovative offensive minds, having worked for Gus Malzhan at UCF and Auburn. A coach that is known for putting up a lot of points on offense, and loves to use his QB in designed runs as well as giving them the freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage. He inherited quite the batch of talented offensive players in his first season at UNC.
North Carolina is averaging 39.9 points per game (8th nationally) with 198.7 yards per game rushing (18th nationally) and 321.9 through the air (8th nationally) for an average of 520.6 yards of offense through 10 games, good enough for 3rd nationally in total offense.
Here is a look at the projected starters for the North Carolina Tar Heels as well as their 2023 statistics:
|Quarterback||Drake Maye||Sophomore||#10||93 rush, 276 yds, 8 TDs||231-251 3145 yds, 21 TDs, 6 Ints.|
|Running Back||Omarion Hampton||Sophomore||#28||206 rush, 1236 yds, 13 TDs||24 catches, 204 yds, TD|
|Running Back||British Brooks||Graduate||#24||67 rush, 311 yds, 2 TDs||8 catches, 33 yds|
|Wide Receiver||Devontez Walker (Kent State/NC Central)||Junior||#9||3 rush, 23 yds||35 catches, 600 yds, 6 TDs|
|Wide Receiver||Nate McCollum (Georgia Tech)||Junior||#6||36 catches, 396 yds, TD|
|Wide Receiver||JJ Jones||Junior||#5||33 catches, 536 yds, TD|
|Tight End||Bryson Nesbit||Junior||#18||36 catches, 508 yds, 5 TDs|
|Tight End||John Copenhaver||Junior||#81||24 catches, 204 yds, 3 TDs|
|Left Tackle||William Barnes||Senior||#76|
|Left Guard||Ed Montilus||Graduate||#63|
|Center||Corey Gaynor (Miami)||Graduate||#65|
|Right Guard||Willie Lampkin (Coastal Carolina)||Junior||#53|
|Right Tackle||Spencer Rolland (Harvard)||Graduate||#75|
Defensive Coordinator: Gene Chizik – 2nd Year – (Previous: Auburn HC, Iowa St HC)
Coach Chizik returns to the sidelines as the “Assistant Head Coach for Defense,” after a stint as an ESPN analyst and as Defensive Coordinator before that at UNC. He won a national championship as the Head Coach at Auburn (and beat Clemson early in that season in an unbelievably good game). Chikiz is a defensive guru that has struggled at UNC since his return a season ago. A great defensive mind who runs a 3-3-5 hybrid scheme mostly.
The North Carolina defense has given up an average of 25.5 points through their first ten games (60th nationally). They have given up an average of 154 yards per game on the ground (77th nationally) and 235.5 yards through the air (83rd nationally). Opponents are averaging a total of 389.5 yards per game (80th nationally).
The Tar Heels are +11 in turnover margin through nine games (T-3rd nationally), having thrown 6 interceptions and picking off 12 opposing passes, as well as having caused 7 fumbles and have lost 2 fumbles in the nine games so far.
Here is a look at the projected starters for the Tar Heels on defense along with some stats from the season:
|Defensive End||Desmond Evans||Senior||#10||29 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks,|
|Nose Tackle||Kevin Hester Jr.||Senior||#98||23 tackles|
|Defensive Tackle||Myles Murphy||Senior||#8||19 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, sack|
|Jack||Kaimon Rucker||Senior||#25||46 tackles, 12 TFLs, 8.5 sacks|
|Middle Linebacker||Power Echols||Junior||#23||77 tackles, 5 TFLs, Int.|
|Weakside Linebacker||Cendric Gray||Senior||#33||96 tackles, 10 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, Int, 2 FR|
|Cornerback||Armani Chatman (Virginia Tech)||Graduate||#3||13 tackles, 2 Ints|
|Boundary Safety||Don Chapman||Senior||#2||45 tackles, 3 TFLs, sack, 2 Ints|
|Free Safety||Giovanni Biggers||Graduate||#27||43 tackles, TFL, Int|
|STAR||Alijah Huzzie (East Tennessee State)||Junior||#28||41 tackles, TFL, 3 Ints|
|Cornerback||Marcus Allen||Sophomore||#29||38 tackles, TFL|
Here is a list of the specialists for the Tar Heels along with statistics from the season so far:
|Kicker||Noah Burnette||Junior||#98||18-19, long of 47 yds|
|Punter||Tom Maginness (Monash)||Sophomore||#96||18 punts, 39.6 yd avg. long of 57 yds|
|Punt Returner||Alijah Huzzie||Junior||#28||17.3 yd avg, long of 52 yds, TD|
|Kick Returner||Tychaun Chapman||RS Freshman||#0||22.3 yd avg, long of 52 yds|
These North Carolina Tar Heels are an unbelievable offensive team. Drake Maye is likely a top pick when his time at UNC is done. This will be a huge test for this tremendous Clemson defense.
Conversely, the defense, while better than Georgia Tech statistically, has given up a ton of points the last few weeks. Clemson will need to get a few stops from the vaunted offense and be able to continue to score points against an inferior defense.