Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney was coaching in his 100th game tonight and with the victory has the only undefeated team in the country out of 127. Coach Swinney couldn’t have been more proud of his team post game and spoke about the expectations heading into this season.
“That was our goal(to make the playoff). 124 days ago we had our first meeting and i put some things up on the board to kind of lay out the vision for the season. So we expected to be here. This was our expectation…. So we expected to be here but it’s awesome. We’re the only undefeated team left. It's a hard thing to do. Like i said, in 1992 we were 13-0 and we were national champions, but that don’t get it done anymore. You’ve got to keep playing, and that's exactly what we're going to do”
The scoreline and the stat line tell two different stories. An eight point victory tells the story of a tight game, but looking at the stats Clemson absolutely dominated. North Carolina was outgained 382 to 608 in total yards and outgained 319 to 142 yards on the ground in dominant offensive fashion. North Carolina had no quit though, as Clemson continued making little mistakes which gave the Tar Heels second chances at points.
Potential Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson of Clemson was as bright as he’s ever been in the ACC Championship, and for his performance was named the game's MVP. Watson outgained the entire Tar Heels team on his own, with 421 total yards. The young true sophomore threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns and added 132 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground to cap off a monster night.
The key drives for Clemson’s offense were also their longest. A 12 play 96 yard drive finished off with a nine yard Watson touchdown run, and a 13 play 97 yard drive at the beginning of the first half which ended with a Wayne Gallman rush touchdown. Gallman also had himself a great night running for 192 yards, and catching four passes for 68 yards and getting a touchdown for his team through both the air and ground. Gallman and Watson alone gained 324 of Clemson’s 329 rushing yards. Talk about a workhorse.
Tar Heels Head Coach Larry Fedora who signed a seven-year extension today with the school,and was very proud of his student-athletes for their performance against a great team but was disappointed with a questionable offsides call on a key onside kick with a little over a minute remaining with his team down by eight.
“I had a chance to look at it(the onside kick) and they missed it(the Refs). They were wrong. That’s all I'm going to say about it. They were wrong”
Looking back at the replay it's hard to see where offsides could have been called and with the way Fedora’s team was moving the ball late, feels like a good chance to tie and possibly win this game was taken from his team.
Clemson is 13 - 0 and awaits the College Football Selection Committee’s final rankings to see the remaining three schools that will join them in the Playoff. There’s no doubt about who’s number one and Clemson proved that tonight and had a terrific season.
The College Football Playoff Final Rankings will be released Sunday at noon and we’ll find out just who the Tigers will play in the one versus four playoff matchup, along with the announcement of all Bowl games and the teams that will be attending those Bowls.
- Darrell Wilkinson TheSkyBoat.com
- Twitter @DarrellW_Sports