Dabo: Nobody Can Let Go Of The North Carolina Game

Clemson is obliterating the opposition, but some folks are still hung up on the Tigers' narrow win against UNC

Tiki and Tierney
November 25, 2019 - 6:32 pm

On Sept. 28, Clemson came within a two-point conversion of losing to North Carolina, but the Tigers held on to win 21-20.

Since then, Clemson has outscored its opponents 315-58.

What changed after UNC?

“To be honest with you, not much,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said on Tiki & Tierney. “We really have played dominant football all year. . . . We just had one game, on the road, we didn’t play well, we turned it over, they played really well, they had a couple of big plays, we missed some plays and missed a field goal, and the next thing you know, you’re on the road battling. But we won the game. And after that game, it’s kind of the same. We really have had 10 out of 11 games, we’ve played really good football. The rhetoric has changed. That’s really the only thing that’s changed.”

Swinney has a point. Clemson’s first four games of the year: a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech, a 24-10 over Texas A&M, a 41-6 win over Syracuse and a 52-10 win over Charlotte. The Tigers have scored 50+ points in six games this season, including four straight.

“We’re way of head of where we were this time last year offensively,” Swinney said. “It’s not even close.”

Nevertheless, that narrow win against North Carolina (5-6) is the main reason why Clemson (11-0) – which has won 26 games in a row and is the defending national champion – is No. 3 in the polls, as opposed to No. 1 or No. 2.

“Nobody could let go of the North Carolina game,” Swinney said. “We played in a close win, and everybody is trying to talk us out of the playoffs. Some of these other teams lose, and they’re trying to still talk them in. The only thing that’s changed is the rhetoric and the fact that we cleaned up some of the turnovers.”

Trevor Lawrence has been more than steady, having completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 2,575 yards, 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Travis Etienne, meanwhile, has been beastly on the ground, rushing 153 times for 1,335 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“I’ve kind of said the same thing all year long,” Swinney said. “This team has really played good football outside of one game, and a lot of people have missed it.”

Clemson ends the regular season at South Carolina (4-7) this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. The Tigers will play either Virginia (8-3) or Virginia Tech (8-3) in the ACC Championship on Dec. 7.