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Tigers vs Tar Heels a border Battle review

On Saturday, the North Carolina Tar Heels clashed with the Clemson Tigers in an ACC rivalry to jockey for positioning for a post-season bowl game. Entering the game, the Tar Heels, entered 8-2 with a 4-2 record in conference led by quarterback Drake Maye and running back Omarion Hampton. The Tigers on the other hand have had their struggles, entered the game 6-4 and 3-4 in conference. Who emerged victorious? Could Clemson re-establish their winning ways in their conference finale? Let's take a look and review what happened in this border battle.

For the Tar Heels, Maye had his ups and downs, finishing the game with 209 yards going 16 for 36. He also had a touchdown and interception while adding 67 yards on the ground. Clemson's Cade Klubnik, who has had his ups and downs this season, had a good performance finishing with 219 yards and a touchdown on 21 for 32 attempts. Klubnik showed a better ability to push the ball downfield averaging just under seven yards per completion. Klubnik also added 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the game. Both quarterbacks did well distributing the ball to their receivers with Maye having the lone turnover between the two.

In a battle of running backs, Hampton of the Tar Heels and Will Shipley of the Tigers were major factors in their team's offenses. Hampton led the charge for the Tar Heels, running for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. He displayed the patience to wait for openings, the power to break tackles, and the speed to separate from would-be tacklers. Meanwhile, Shipley finished with 126 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries while also adding 58 receiving yards. Shipley continues to impress when he gets his hands on the ball and is fun to watch during his time at Clemson. The downside came in the turnovers with Hampton losing two fumbles and Shipley losing one.

Defensively, the Tigers took control of the game led by Jeremiah Trotter Jr who sought out the ball carrier finishing with 11 tackles and a sack on the day. Helping Trotter were usual running mates, Nate Wiggins, who had the game's lone interception and finished with seven tackles, and Andrew Mukuba who finished with four tackles and two breakups on the day. While Cedric Gray and Power Echols tormented the Tigers' offense with 14 tackles between them, it was Don Chapman who was a heat seeker, leading the team in tackles with nine. While both teams did force fumbles with each team recording two fumble recoveries, the Tar Heels struggled to apply pressure on Klubnik (no sacks) or cause pass breakups on the day (finished with two).

With the 31-20 win, the Tigers moved to 7-4 and more importantly ended ACC play with a win and improved to 4-4 in the conference. With a date with in-state rival South Carolina on the horizon to end the regular season, this was a momentum-building win for the team. The Tar Heels' loss drops them to 8-3 and 4-3 in the conference. In a season that had them expected to contend for the ACC title, there has been disappointment in Chapel Hill. The team closes out the regular season with in-state rival NC State before finding out their bowl game.


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