The last time the Clemson football program was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, things did not go so well for the Tigers.
Clemson lost the game 21-16, a game in which they dominated on the stat sheet but lost on the field. Penalties hurt the Tigers that afternoon. They were penalized nine times for 81 yards, killing potential scoring drives and leading to two North Carolina touchdowns.
Quarterback Kyle Parker threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown with 5:31 to play to pull the Tigers within five points, but the Clemson defense could not get off the field and just 13 seconds remained when they finally got the ball back.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was very distraught after the game and even on Tuesday, nearly nine years since his first and only trip to Keenan Stadium, he still said that was the worst game he has ever coached.
“I’m excited about this trip,” Swinney said. “It is crazy, this is my seventeenth year and I have been there one time. It was a miserable night back in 2010. Probably one of the worst coaching jobs I have ever done to this point.
“So, I am looking forward to this opportunity and hopefully playing our best game and building some confidence and momentum.”
Swinney said the thing he learned the most from that game was that he did not have his team ready to play.
“I did a terrible job,” he said. “We weren’t ready. We turned the ball over. We missed kicks. I just did not have them ready. It was as simple as that.”
After the game that afternoon in Chapel Hill, Swinney vowed he would fix it.
“I just thought what a bad job I did getting them ready that week. It was nobody’s fault but mine,” he said.
Swinney hopes to make amends this Saturday when No. 1 Clemson visits Keenan Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kick. The game will be televised by ABC.
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