Coming out of halftime, Clemson found themselves unexpectedly tied 14-14, with North Carolina putting together a solid plan on defense to keep Trevor Lawrence and the offense off balance. Meanwhile, the defense was holding their own against North Carolina’s offense, though they had found a modicum of success with Howell managing the game well enough to keep the Tar Heels close.
Unlike previous weeks, the 3rd and 4th quarter reviews will be seperate. Given the amount of coverage needed for the fourth quarter this week, it will have its own devoted article. For now, we start off the third quarter as Clemson receives the second-half kickoff.
(14:25, 3rd) 1st & 10 - Following a 29-yard kickoff return by Joseph Ngata to the CLEM 36, Lawrence completes a 10-yard pass to Amari Rodgers to the CLEM 46.
(12:15, 3rd) 3rd & 9 - Following a false start penalty by guard John Simpson and a gain of six yards by Travis Etienne, Lawrence throws a 14 yard pass to Tee Higgins at the UNC 39, putting together a solid drive that looks as though Clemson might regain its footing.
(10:49, 3rd) 3th and 6 - Following a nine yard run by Etienne and an incomplete pass intended for JC Chalk, Lawrence overthrows an open Justyn Ross, one of several throws where the former just seemed off of his game.
4th & 6 - Clemson turns the ball over on downs following an incomplete pass to Higgins.
(9:16, 3rd) 4th & 8 - UNC had a solid stop on a drive that could’ve drained a lot of momentum, but it is short-lived, as their offense quickly goes three-and-out. Ben Kiernan boots a 63-yard punt for a touchback.
(6:53, 3rd) Like UNC before it, Clemson was unable to muster much offense in its second possession. Like before, a false start penalty from John Simpson on 3rd & 5 puts Clemson behind the chains, and they are unable to convert. A 45-yard punt from Will Spiers puts the ball on the UNC 26.
*One particular play here stands out, in which Clemson ran a subtle bit of misdirection involving Cornell Powell. However, despite receiving a good touch pass from Lawrence on the play fake, Powell trips on a play that would’ve gone for major yards if he keeps his feet. The play, if anything, is indiciative of how the day had gone for the offense.
(4:56, 3rd) - As before, UNC is unable to make headway on offense yet again. Two runs of 11 yards by Michael Carter on first and second down push UNC closer to mid-field, but Howell is unable to hit any of his receivers, and on third down narrowly avoids an interception off the hands of his receiver
The Clemson defense continues to hold after its two busts in the first half. Yet another punt gives the ball back to Clemson, this time on their own 10.
(3:55, 3rd) The offense has no answers here, going three-and-out, with a five-yard run by Lyn-J Dixon being the only positive yards Clemson gains on its possession. Spiers manages to boot a 54-yard punt to the UNC 31.
(2:12, 3rd) 2nd & 7 - Following a 12-yard run by Javonte Williams on first down, coupled with a Howell scramble, the defense comes up big with a sack from Isaiah Simmons. He might as well be Troy Polamalu with all the places he lines up every single game, and plowed over the running back to boot.
(1:20, 3rd) 3rd & 16 - Howell is sacked by Tyler Davis for a loss of four yards, bringing UNC’s drive to an end. A Kiernan punt gives Clemson the ball at their own 30.
(1:12, 3rd) - Clemson’s offense comes up with yet another three-and-out, unable to advance a single yard following two incomplete passes and a tackle for loss on a Justyn Ross reception. A 42-yard Spiers punt would pin UNC at their 29.
(0:20, 3rd) 1st & 10 - A one-yard run from Carter would be the last play of the third, with Clemson and UNC still tied in what would wind up being the most interesting game of the week, with a suprising finish. More to come in the 4th quarter review on STS.