When No. 1 Clemson heads to Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers expect a fight from North Carolina.
That is just the way it is for Clemson these days. As the defending national champions, and as the top-ranked team in both major polls, everyone wants to knock them out of the top spot.
“We expect people to bring their best all the time,” starting right tackle Tremayne Anchrum said. “We just know that they have a circle on their calendar and hearing them say ‘We want Clemson’ all over social media, we understand that they are going to be really juiced up to play us.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game and we are preparing for it.”
UNC officials have already announced the 3:30 p.m. kickoff as a sellout, as baby blue is expected to be powder all over Keenan Stadium.
“Combine that with their enthusiasm as a young team, with Coach (Mack) Brown and how they get after it, we know it is going to be a tough game and we will prepare for it.”
Anchrum has a lot of respect for Brown, who is in his first year at UNC. He has noticed the way the team plays hard for him and how they don’t give up, even when they’re behind.
“I like the way he challenges some of us older guys by playing some of the younger guys in front of him,” the senior said. “The spirit of competition is at the heart of football. He always knows how to put together really good teams that are passionate and are fighting … just really good competitive depth. That is something I have always admired about coaches, making the players compete.
“So, we are ready for a good fight.”
The Tar Heels (2-2, 1-0 ACC) will fight on defense, too. Though statistically they rank closer to the bottom in most defensive categories, they still are aggressive up front. They have recorded 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks thus far through the first four games, way ahead of their pace in both categories from last year.
In case you are wondering, Clemson’s offensive line leads a unit that is averaging 247.0 yards per game on the ground and 524.8 overall. The Tigers lead the ACC in yards per play at 7.4 and yards per carry at 6.6 and in points at 42.3 points per game.
When it comes to sacks and tackles for loss allowed, Clemson ranks second in the league in both categories. The Tigers also rank second in the conference in total yards and in running the football.
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