CLEMSON, S.C. — The North Carolina football team trails Clemson, 22-7, after the first half of its ACC opener at Death Valley.
After UNC’s record-setting 70-41 loss to East Carolina last week, during which the Tar Heels allowed a program record in points (70) and total yards of offense (789), Clemson took advantage of the struggling UNC defense, fast and early.
On Clemson’s first drive, true freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson — making his first career start — connected with wide receiver Germone Hopper on a 74-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead just two plays and 35 seconds into their offense’s night.
Watson found Hopper again, this time on a 50-yard touchdown pass, early in the second quarter to increase Clemson’s lead to 17-0 after a field goal on its previous drive. With the touchdown, Watson broke a 39-year school record for touchdown passes thrown by a true freshman. Watson now has six touchdown passes, breaking the previous record set in 1975 of five. With his catch on the play, Hopper — a redshirt sophomore — set a career high for receiving yards.
It took a while for UNC’s offense to get going. The Tar Heels had just 34 yards of total offense before a 10-play, 75-yard sixth drive of the night, which ended in a 17-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Marquise Williams to sophomore wide receiver Mack Hollins.