And it constantly stuck Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler on Saturday, limiting the Heisman Trophy candidate to just 166 yards of total offense in UNC's 38-3 win against the No. 13 Tigers.
"Our ability to contain Dantzler is a tribute to the guys working together," said North Carolina coach John Bunting. "There was no special scheme; we just attacked the blocks with vision on the ball carrier."
Bunting had said earlier that in preparation for Dantzler, UNC's defense would need 13 players and a crystal ball.
Although said in jest, when the defensive unit almost incorporated the impossible player lineup, it backfired.
The Tar Heel defense was penalized for having 12 men on the field in the first quarter. The penalty kept alive Clemson's lone scoring drive, which resulted in a 48-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt and a 7-3 score.
But the extra help to cover Dantzler was not necessary. The same hard-nosed play that helped guide the Tar Heels to four straight wins turned out to be enough.
"We just played North Carolina defense," UNC defensive end Julius Peppers said. "We didn't change anything to try and stop Woody."
Contrary to Peppers, Tigers coach Tommy Bowden said the UNC defense did make some changes not seen in its previous games.
"You expect for a team to put in some new wrinkles, and then you've got to make adjustments," Bowden said. "They came out with something they've never done before. Therefore we were making a lot of checks, and that slowed the tempo of our offense down."