No. 22 North Carolina, Clemson had hoped for an ACC title rematch, instead playing for better bowls

No. 22 North Carolina (8-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference; No. 20 CFP) at Clemson (6-4, 3-4), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST (ESPN).

Line: Clemson by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Clemson leads 39-19-1


A bit more pride for both sides. These teams played last December in the ACC title game with Clemson pulling away for a 39-10 victory behind backup QB Cade Klubnik. The game gave both teams hopes of a rematch for the crown this year, but both are out of contention for the championship game. North Carolina started 6-0 and made the top 10 of the national rankings. But surprises losses to Virginia and Georgia Tech in back-to-back weeks took the Tar Heels out of the chase. Clemson, too, expected to win its eighth ACC crown in nine seasons. But four defeats by the end of October ruined those chances.


North Carolina QB Drake Maye vs. Clemson's pass defense. Maye, a likely high NFL first-rounder, has been everything advertised as the reigning ACC player of the year. He's passed for 3,145 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Clemson is tied for second in the ACC with 12 interceptions, four of them coming in a 42-21 victory over Georgia Tech last week.


North Carolina: WR Devontez Walker has become the team's top receive r since getting cleared by the NCAA as a Kent State transfer to play for the Tar Heels. Walker has 35 catches for 600 yards and six touchdowns. His ability to stretch the field could give the Tigers fits.

Clemson: LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is on a tear the past few games and has a history of thwarting the Tar Heels. Trotter had three sacks in the Tigers' ACC title game victory over North Carolina last December. He trying to record a sack in three straight games since November 2022 when he did it against Miami, South Carolina and the Tar Heels.


Clemson is playing its final home game and will honor its departing seniors and those likely not return. On the list is junior tailback Will Shipley, who is considered one of the strongest running backs who could potentially enter the NFL draft. ... North Carolina has lost its last five games against Clemson, including twice in ACC title games (2015, 2022). ... The Tar Heels haven't beaten Clemson since 2010 and haven't won at Death Valley since 2001. ... North Carolina leads the ACC in scoring at 39.9 points a game. It's 10th in conference in points allowed, at more than 25 per game. ... Shipley has 30 career rushing touchdowns, two shy of his current running backs coach C.J. Spiller in sixth place all-time.


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