TCI Game Day: North Carolina

TCI Game Day: North Carolina


TCI Game Day: North Carolina


It’s Game Day in Kenan Memorial Stadium where No. 1 Clemson battles North Carolina as the Tigers look to earn their 20th win in a row.

Location: Kenan Memorial Stadium

Kickoff:  3:30 p.m.

Television:  ABC

Announcers:  Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill

2019 Record: Clemson  4-0,  North Carolina 2-2

ACC Record: Clemson 2-0

Series History: Clemson leads 37-19-1

Last Meeting:  Clemson won 45-37 on December 5, 2015


After opening the season with three of its first four games of the season at home, top-ranked Clemson will hit the road for the second time this year when it faces the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday, Sept. 28. Kickoff at Kenan Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Clemson enters the contest averaging 524.8 yards per game, the second-best mark in the ACC and just shy of last year’s school-record pace of 527.2 yards per game.  Last week, Clemson posted 466 yards in the midst of
playing a school-record 111 players.

Through four games this season, Clemson has accrued 2,099 yards of offense, the team’s most through the first four games of a season, surpassing the 2,054 posted by the 2017 squad through four weeks. With 493 yards this
week, Clemson can break the 2013 squad’s mark for the most yardage through the first five games of a season during the ACC era.


– Clemson attempting to win its 20th consecutive game, dating to the start of the 2018 season, to extend the longest winning streak in school history and second longest winning streak in ACC history.
– Clemson attempting to improve to 13-2 all-time in games as the AP No. 1-ranked team. Thirteen of Clemson’s 14 games played at No. 1 all-time entering Saturday have come during the Dabo Swinney era.
– Clemson attempting to win a 15th consecutive game by 14 points or more, which would tie the 1945-46 Georgia Bulldogs for the second-longest streak in the AP Poll era (since 1936). The record is 21, held by the 1944-46 Army teams. Clemson would be the first program in 73 years to win at least 15 games by 14 points or more.
– Clemson attempting to improve to 27-8 against ACC Coastal Division opponents, including postseason play, under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson has won 12 of its last 13 games against the Coastal Division
since 2015.
– Clemson attempting to push its streak of consecutive victories in ACC interdivisional matchups to nine games, dating back to the 2016 ACC Championship Game.


1981: One landmark game of the Clemson vs. North Carolina series took place at North Carolina in 1981. The Tigers won that contest 10-8 behind an
outstanding defense led by Jeff Davis and Jeff Bryant.  It was the first meeting of top 10 ACC teams in the history of the conference, as Clemson was undefeated and ranked second in the nation entering the contest,
while the Tar Heels were 7-1 and ranked eighth. Bryant recovered a North Carolina lateral with a minute left to clinch the victory for the Tigers, a key win in Clemson’s National Championship season.
2000: Redshirt freshman Willie Simmons came off the bench in 2000 to throw four touchdown passes in Chapel Hill and lead Clemson to a come-from-behind 38-24 victory. At the time, it was the most touchdown
passes by a non-starter Clemson quarterback, a feat later matched by Trevor Lawrence at Georgia Tech in 2018.
2002: Freshman Charlie Whitehurst threw four touchdown passes in just his second start in a 42-12 Clemson win at North Carolina.
2014: Freshman Deshaun Watson threw six touchdown passes, an all-time Clemson record, in a Clemson victory.


Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has a 27-2 alltime record against all teams from North Carolina.

Swinney’s only losses to teams from North Carolina were at North Carolina in 2010 (21-16) and at NC State in 2011 (37-13). Including four ACC Championship Game wins in Charlotte, Swinney is 12-2 in games played
inside the state limits of North Carolina with 10 wins in a row.


Saturday’s contest will mark Clemson’s 11th all-time game against a team led by North Carolina Head Coach Mack Brown, though it will represent the Clemson’s first meeting with Brown since 1997, when Dabo Swinney was still a 27-year-old tight ends coach at Alabama.

One team has entered ranked in eight of the 10 alltime meetings between Clemson and squads led by Brown. The Tigers are 4-0 against Brown all-time when ranked in the AP Top 25.


This season, Clemson is trying to record its ninth consecutive 10-win season under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, which would tie Mack Brown’s 2001-09 Texas Longhorns teams for the third-longest streak in FBS history.

The similarities in leadership styles and all-time success may not be a coincidence. Upon Swinney’s transition from interim head coach to full-time head coach in December 2008, Swinney sought counsel from some of the sport’s top leaders at the time. Last year, during Cotton Bowl Media Day, Swinney expounded upon a cold call to Brown in early 2009 that helped
launch an era at Clemson:

“I reached out to several coaches to try to go visit just, really, prominent head coaches that I didn’t know but I felt like they did things the right way and I just wanted to go and pick their brain. And Mack was the only one that said OK.

“I didn’t really know Mack, but I just remember calling him up and left a message. He called me back.  And he was just very congratulatory. He said,

‘Man, I’m really happy for you. I actually kept up with you,’ which I thought was kind of cool that Mack Brown was paying attention to what the interim guy was doing at Clemson. He said, ‘Heck, yeah, come on out.’ And so I
did, brought the whole staff.

“And it was awesome. It was great. Their staff was very gracious. And I was just hoping to get a little bit of time with him, and he spent several hours with me.  I’ll always be so grateful for that. I mean, here’s a guy that has ‘been there, done that’ numerous times. And I just had a lot of specific things that I wanted to pick his brain on and took pages of notes and just had great conversation, and came away with some confirmation and came away with maybe some different thoughts as well. So it was just an incredibly meaningful meeting for me as we came back and really kind of kicked our
new program off going into that first spring.

“The biggest takeaway? Probably just be who I am.  And just time management, that had been a real challenge. Going from the interim, as you can imagine, and just trying to figure out where I needed to put my time, because there’s a lot of plates spinning. So he was just… he was great in all aspects. That was probably two of the biggest things right there, was just kind of managing my time a little better, being able to say no, just kind of talking to him about how he managed some certain things and requests. It can be a little overwhelming. And then just being who I am.”

TCI Predictions 

Robert – Clemson 52, North Carolina 20

Will – Clemson 45, North Carolina 17

Bart – Clemson 38, North Carolina 10

Gavine — Clemson 42, North Carolina 17

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