UNC Football: Keys to Victory vs Clemson


Both Clemson and UNC are coming off tough losses in games they could have won. The Tigers went so far as to coin a twitter hashtag with their horrible self-destruction, “#Clemsoning”, and Chapel Hill allowed 70 points to unranked ECU. Both teams are coming in with a chip on their shoulder pads. It’s imperative the Tar Heels cover their bases against an angry Tiger team in the following keys to victory.

1) Shut down quarterback Deshaun Watson
The 6’3” freshman went 19-28 against the #1 team in the nation. Suspended FSU Heisman winner Jameis Winston didn’t affect the defense’s aggressiveness and prowess. Especially knowing that their offensive leader wasn’t going to suit up, the defense understood they had to be on their A game. The freshman went against the number one team in the nation and completed 68% of his passes.
He gained in-game experience on a nationally-televised stage, played well, and went against the defending national champs. It’s imperative UNC slow him down in his progression reads by putting grass stains on his jersey early and often. This is how UNC evens the playing field after giving up 70 points to East Carolina a week before.

2) Even the ground game stats ASAP
Control the rushing yards, control the clock. Control the clock, control the game. This is advice UNC needs to heed this simple advice going forward. There is no changing this fact. Chapel Hill has to even out the stat book on the rushing yards side of things to consistently win. East Carolina put up 343 ground yards to UNC’s measly 145 yards. That can’t consistently happen if the Tar Heels hope to get things back on track after losing to the Pirates.

3) Marquise Williams has to have a big game
The 6’2” quarterback only went 14 for 25 and 127 yards. He averaged five yards per throw with a long of 29 yards, an interception, a sack, and no touchdowns. That doesn’t get it done against a team that your defense is going to allow 70 points on. Williams’ performance left the Junior with a 90.7 QB rating for the game against a 128.3 QB rating for the season.
This means Marquise has to be open to run the ball when Clemson corners have UNC’s locked up. He must use his legs to gain first downs for Chapel Hill. Whatever it takes for the Tar Heels to move the chains, Mr. Williams must handle business.

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4) What’s the deal with our 121st ranked defense?
Chapel Hill gives up an average of 42 points per game. UNC only puts up 42. 7 a game. That means UNC only has less than one point advantage going into kickoff. Besides East Carolina, Chapel Hill has only played Liberty and San Diego State. It’s a mind blowing fact that they’re only .7 advantages going into their fourth game. It shows what a shellacking they took against ECU.
Tar Heels know they have to pick up the defensive prowess against the strong Clemson team. The idea that they can give up a 42 point outing on a consistent basis just flat out doesn’t get it done against a team that nearly beat a defending champ. It doesn’t matter that the Tigers lost. If anything, it means they’re going to come out more focused. Chapel Hill defense must be better.

5) A belief that they are supposed to win
The fact that the UNC Football lost to ECU killed Tar Heel fans is no secret. The same feelings were surely felt by the football team itself. They have to shake off those feelings and recover for this week. It’s got to be an internal belief with UNC. They must bounce back and believe on Saturday that they can win the game. Sometimes in football, that belief is the difference between a win and a loss.