Saturday, December 3, 2022

North Carolina Drops ACC Title Game to Clemson

 CHARLOTTE – Both the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels came into Saturday night’s ACC Championship Game off losses to their rivals and looking for a big win to secure a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Clemson's streak of six straight conference titles was snapped in 2021 and the Tigers were looking to reclaim their spot atop the conference. North Carolina was making its second trip to the conference title game and looking for its first title since 1980. The two schools met in the 2015 championship game with Clemson taking the title, 45-37. The 2022 edition of this matchup would not have the same fireworks with the Clemson Tigers overcoming a slow start to eventually blow away the Tar Heels, 39-10, in front of a raucous crowd of 64,115.

North Carolina opened the game strong, forcing a three-and-out on defense and then marching seventy-eight yards on eleven plays to land on the scoreboard first with a Drake Maye three-yard keeper. The Tar Heels were unable to maintain the early upper hand, though, as the UNC offense could only muster three more points the rest of the evening.

Former Weddington standout RB Will Shipley stretches for the pylon.
Photo Credit: ACC Media Services

Dabo Swinney’s decision to swap quarterbacks paid dividends for the fifteenth-year head coach. After starting sluggishly on offense, Cade Klubnik came into the game on the third drive and the Tigers’ offense began to roar. Completing his first ten passes, including a one-yard touchdown toss to Davis Allen, catching a pass to set up a Phil Mafah rushing touchdown, and taking one in himself for another score, the freshman signal caller paced the Tigers to a three-score halftime lead.

Just when it looked like the Tar Heels were about to get back in the game in the third quarter, Clemson quarterback Nate Wiggins stepped in front of a pass at the two-yard line and raced the ninety-eight yards to the end zone for the spectacular pick-six. At this point, the rout was on and the only enemy of the Tigers was the clock.

Notable North Carolinians

Drake Maye (Myers Park) – the redshirt freshman passed for 268 yards and rushed for the Tar Heels’ lone touchdown

Will Shipley (Weddington) the sophomore running back scored a touchdown in the third quarter.

Trenton Simpson (Mallard Creek) the junior linebacker had eight tackles, including 1.5 for a loss and two quarterback hurries.

Up Next

Clemson (11-2) will represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl while North Carolina (9-4) will learn its bowl assignment on Sunday afternoon.