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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Spoils Clemson's Homecoming

UNC handled Clemson on both sides of the ball for its fifth-straight win, holding Tiger QB Woodrow Dantzler to 116 total yards.

"Is this our homecoming?" Chesley Borders and Derrick Johnson sarcastically asked the Clemson faithful behind the UNC bench as the clock wound down on the Tar Heels' 38-3 triumph over the No. 13 Tigers. "Why are our fans leaving our homecoming?"

"I see about 8,000 fans," Errol Hood hollered at the remaining crowd, much of which had departed at the end of the third quarter of Clemson's homecoming. "I saw about 80,000 at the beginning of the game. What happened?"

What happened was the Tar Heels (5-3 overall, 4-1 in the ACC) dominated the Tigers (4-2, 2-1) in front of 84,000 fans with the school's largest-ever margin of victory against an

AP-ranked team. The previous record came when UNC topped Florida State by 32 points on Sept. 22.

As UNC coach John Bunting made his way off the field, his wife, Dawn, fought through the crowd to make her way to her coach. She leaped into his arms, and Bunting lifted her off the ground with a grizzly hug and planted a quick kiss.

"I'm extremely proud of the team and the staff," Bunting said at the post-game press conference. "We started 0-3 and have won five consecutive games, which I understand is an ACC record."

Bunting understood correctly. Wake Forest had won four straight after an 0-3 start in 1970. That same year, Bunting helped UNC to a 42-7 win at Clemson in his only game there as a player. Saturday, he tied that victory margin, North Carolina's largest at Memorial Stadium. Bunting is now 2-0 in Death Valley.

"This is huge," said center Adam Metts. "This is the biggest game of the season. We took it head on, and it's a great feeling right now."

North Carolina's defense made its biggest worry heading into the game almost disappear on the field.

All week, the team focused on how to contain Tigers quarterback Woodrow Dantzler and the nation's 12th best offense. Dantzler had compiled 935 yards of offense and 10 touchdowns as Clemson scored 92 points in its last two games.

The Tar Heels did more than contain the Tigers. They caged them.

Clemson managed 209 yards (144 passing, 65 rushing) in the game. Dantzler alone came in averaging 343 yards. Aaron Hunt's career-long 48-yard field goal in the first was the only score.

"Jon Tenuta is an aggressive coach. That's why I hired him," Bunting said of his defensive coordinator, who employed spy defenses on six or seven plays. "He is willing to take some chances. A lot of people would not enter a game with that many different personnel groupings on the field because it can be confusing at times."

Backup quarterback Willie Simmons, who led Clemson from behind against UNC last year, entered the game late in the third quarter with hopes of creating a spark. But UNC didn't let up, and Clemson's receivers continued to drop passes. Dantzler and Simmons were a combined 14-for-46 with two picks.

UNC's Ronald Curry and Darian Durant completed 14 passes, also. However, they threw just 18 times, picking up 206 yards and two touchdowns.

Durant made good on all 11 of his attempts, including a 22-yard touchdown to Bosley Allen for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. It was Allen's first touchdown catch of the season but not his last. Curry later connected with him for a 48-yarder, and the Tar Heels took a 21-3 lead into the locker room. Allen caught four passes for 100 yards.

"That was big because early on in the year we were struggling, and (the receivers) got criticized a lot about their play," Durant said. "I'm glad that they've come together as a receiving corps, and that everybody's putting up major numbers."

Curry and Durant contributed on the ground, as well. Durant rushed for two scores, including a five-yard thrust on which he stretched his hand across the goal line, the ball coming loose as he fell.

Curry ran eight times for 82 yards, but his last rush sent him limping badly to the sideline in the middle of the third-quarter drive Durant completed with the touchdown lunge. Curry broke around the right corner and headed for a first down before straining his left hamstring and falling to the ground for a seven-yard gain.

"I was running and I felt it knot up and then pop," Curry said. "I knew what it was. I knew exactly what I did when I did it."

UNC gained more than 200 yards rushing for the second straight week, and Andr

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