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Tale of the Tape: ACC Championship

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#10 North Carolina vs #1 Clemson by the numbers

When UNC has the ball

UNC(Offense) Clemson(Defense)
Points per game 41.3 18.8
Yards per game 495.7 288.5
Yards per play 7.46 4.59
Passing yards 266.0 160.8
Passing YPA 9.4 5.8
Rushing Yards 229.67 127.7
Rushing YPA 6.0 4.9
Turnovers 15 21
3rd Down Conv. 48.18% 24.0%
4th Down Conv. 60.00% 44.4%
Red Zone Conv. 90.00% 82.8%


When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) Clemson(Offense)
Points per game 20.8 37.9
Yards per game 394.9 502.5
Yards per play 5.21 6.46
Passing yards 186.7 288.4
Passing YPA 6.0 8.5
Rushing Yards 208.3 214.1
Rushing YPA 4.67 4.9
Turnovers 24 24
3rd Down Conv. 42.33% 47.5%
4th Down Conv. 65.52% 60.0%
Red Zone Conv. 79.55% 90.5%


Two of the best offenses in college football face off in what could very well be a shootout. UNC comes in averaging over 41 ppg while Clemson is a tick below 38 ppg. Both teams hover at the 500 yards per game mark though UNC is more efficient with 7.46 yards per play, a full yard more than Clemson's average.

One issue Clemson's offense has struggled with this season is turnovers. The Tigers have 24 giveaways on offense which is tied for 105th nationally. Clemson has mitigated some of that with 21 takeaways but if UNC can take care of the football and force Clemson into miscues it might give the Tar Heels a much needed edge. While UNC's much improved over last season, the Tar Heels will still be susceptible to Clemson's array of offensive weapons and a highly effective run game. Forcing turnovers might be the best way to get Clemson off track.

Statistically speaking, Clemson clearly has the better defense. The Tigers are 10th in yards per play allowed and holding teams to 18.8 ppg. Then again, this isn't the first "really good defense" UNC has faced this season that ultimately couldn't stop the Tar Heel offense as noted by Jones Angell.

With the exception of Pitt and Virginia Tech, UNC laid waste to those defenses. So far this season UNC's offense has been out of this world good when the Tar Heels take care of the football. If UNC can do that, there is evidence this season Clemson can be had. NC State scored 41 points on the Tigers and South Carolina, despite the Gamecock troubles put up 32, 25 of those with the game in question. The Tiger defense has been very good but the diversity of UNC's offense makes them tough to defend.

In short, this is probably going to be a shootout and possible a whoever has the ball last kind of game.