Tigers Romp Tar Heels

James Davis

CLEMSON – Fans sat in traffic a couple of hours to witness a game that took less than 50 minutes for Clemson to determine the victor against North Carolina Saturday afternoon.

It's hard to use a word like obliterated or destroyed when describing a football game, but that's exactly what occurred as the No. 19 Tigers walked to their easiest victory of the year as they won 52-7 win at Memorial Stadium.

"Everybody kept telling us the whole week that we're supposed to let down and lose a game like after a big win against Florida State," said Clemson quarterback Will Proctor, who had an easy day of it. "I think it just says a lot about our guys."

It was such a thrashing that by halftime, which the Tigers led 35-0, Clemson tailback James Davis already had three rushing touchdowns, while as a team the Tigers had amassed 286 yards of total offense.

North Carolina fell 136 yards short of that mark even after four quarters.

By the end of it all, Clemson (3-1, 2-1 ACC) rolled up 504 total yards, compared to just 150 by the Tar Heels (1-3, 0-2 ACC).

The majority of those yards for the Tigers came on the ground, as they churned out 324 yards on 58 carries. It was the first time a Clemson team had more than 300 yards rushing since against Duke in 2001.

Davis finished with four touchdowns, one shy of tying the school record, while rushing for an easy 95 yards on only 15 carries. He spent nearly the entire second half on the sidelines.

"The offensive line did a great job," Davis said. "Those guys' motors ran the whole game. I thank them for that and helping me score four touchdowns."

It was a good response from an offensive line that was challenged by head coach Tommy Bowden during the week after a disappointing performance against Florida State in terms or rushing.

"We played good enough to win against Florida State, but we could have played a lot better," guard Roman Fry said. "We really took that upon ourselves as a challenge. We wanted to go out there and show what we could do and I think we did today."

The run blocking was so dominant that the Clemson averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

"That's a good sign when you can make some statements and they respond," Bowden said. "It shows that they've got some pride."

North Carolina's showing was much worse than that of Florida Atlantic, which lost to Clemson 54-6 in the first week of the season. But at least the Owls actually tried.

The Tar Heels performed about as well as a high school team. Four of their first five possessions ended in a three-and-out.

North Carolina's lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter when all the starters were on the bench.

"It was a great effort by the defense," said Bandit end Gaines Adams, had a sack and three quarterback hits. "It's all credit to the offense. They didn't have us out on the field, and that's what we ask for as a defense."

It didn't take long for the Clemson offense to flex its muscle as it put together its longest drive of the season on its first possession.

The Tigers marched 90 yards on 12 plays, 10 of which were runs, and took a 7-0 lead with 7:55 left in the first quarter. On the drive, Davis had six carries for 49 yards, including the one-yard touchdown run.

Six rushing touchdowns and a field goal later, Clemson had its most complete game of the season.

"There were indications throughout the week that our players were pretty serious," Bowden said. "But you never know until you play."

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