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The Daily Tar Heel

Clemson Crushes Lackluster UNC

Another penalty, another shoddy defensive performance and another loss for the Tar Heel football team.

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, whose team became bowl eligible for the fourth time in four years with Saturday's 42-12 win against UNC, also removed his headset during the course of the game.

But his wires came off in a much more relaxed fashion, when he realized he could just sit back and enjoy the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

"It was the first time with five minutes to go that I could actually take the headset off and enjoy an afternoon," Bowden said.

Bowden's Tigers sucked any enjoyment out of the afternoon for the Tar Heels, who went 0-6 at home for the first time in half a century.

Bunting might have had some choice words for the referees in the first quarter, but he had trouble explaining his disappointment after the game.

"Real, real bad. Real bad feeling. I don't know how to describe it any worse than that," Bunting said. "If you guys can come up with some other words, I'll use those. I don't know how to come up with any other words worse than (it's) the worse that it's ever been -- I've ever felt."

It wasn't the Tar Heels worst performance so far this season, but just the culmination of so many botched plays and frustrating losses -- and the realization that a win at home would not come to fruition for the 11 seniors on the roster -- made the post-game interview area in the Kenan Football Center a sea of downtrodden faces.

"I can't really explain the feeling," senior cornerback Kevin Knight said. "I'm hurting bad right now."

Clemson's 533 yards of offense wasn't the most North Carolina's allowed this year, but becoming the fourth opponent to rack up 500-plus on the Tar Heels speaks volumes.

UNC has allowed opponent's running backs to rack up 100-yard performances before, but the Tigers had two players torch the Tar Heel defense for triple-digit compilations.

Tailbacks Bernard Rambert and Tye Hill ran for 106 and 105 yards, respectively. Neither had ever surpassed 60 yards in a game before Saturday.

Similar to last week's 59-7 loss to Maryland, North Carolina started off strong before losing its footing.

Knight opened the game's scoring by sacking Tiger quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who started in his second collegiate game Saturday, in the endzone for a safety. Tar Heel quarterback C.J. Stephens connected with tight end Bobby Blizzard to put North Carolina ahead 9-0 on the very next drive.

"We're almost a very good team," Stephens said. "We almost put together that perfect drive. We almost score a lot of points. But unfortunately, almost doesn't count."

That became painfully clear to the Tar Heels as the game continued. Clemson waited less than three minutes to answer with a Whitehurst-Airese Currie connection, an 83-yard touchdown pass -- the longest ever thrown in Kenan Stadium history.

To start the second quarter, Clemson did what so many other teams have done to the Tar Heels and abused them on the ground.

Rambert scooted into the endzone to give the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

Yet another good start for North Carolina went to waste. The Tar Heels sputtered and then practically died, managing only 80 yards in the second half, while Stephens took a beating, getting sacked six times.

North Carolina has allowed an ACC-worst 39 sacks this season.

"We felt great about the start," UNC offensive tackle Jeb Terry said. "We got some momentum going. But then, it was the same old ... story. Penalties crept up on us, and ... you saw the end result."

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