No. 8 North Carolina 17, Clemson 10
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ Quarterback Chris Keldorf and receiver L.C. Stevens perked up No. 8 North Carolina’s offense just enough to get by Clemson 17-10 on Saturday and revive the Tar Heels’ Bowl Alliance hopes.
North Carolina (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost a perfect season and starting quarterback Oscar Davenport to injury last week against Florida State.
Keldorf hit Stevens on three long plays to set the Heels’ three scores, as North Carolina overcame four turnovers and two blocked kicks to win at Death Valley.
A 44-yard bomb to Stevens set up Na Brown’s 5-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, the Heels first TD in two weeks. Steven’s 67-yard catch to Clemson’s 1 led to Jason McGee’s 19-yard field goal. And with the score tied at 10-all in the third quarter, Keldorf sent a 58-yard pass to Stevens inside the Tigers’ 5.
Jonathan Linton blasted through for the score on the next play and the Tar Heels held on. A victory next week against last-place Duke could send North Carolina to an alliance bowl.
Since Clemson (6-4, 4-4) has one win against Division I-AA Appalachian State, the Tigers must beat traditional rival South Carolina for a postseason shot.
When DoMarco Fox blocked a punt with 1:22 left, Clemson had one last chance. But backup Brandon Streeter was intercepted in the end zone by Dre’ Bly.
But that’s the way it was most of the game against North Carolina’s defense, even when the Heels’ offense coughed up the ball.
With Clemson ahead 7-0, Brown fumbled a punt return at North Carolina’s 44. The Tigers didn’t gain a yard.
In the third quarter, Linton fumbled at his 31, but a sack by Greg Ellis and Reggie Love’s interception kept Clemson off the board.
The next series, Fox intercepted Keldorf and Greene drove Clemson to the 6. But North Carolina held again before David Richardson tied it 10-all with a 24-yard field goal.
Clemson was held to 132 yards. Star tailback Raymond Priester, who missed last week’s win over Duke, gained 38 yards and limped badly at times.
Keldorf looked shaky in his first start since Oct. 11, missing five of first 10 throws. Linton gained 74 yards on 26 tries.
North Carolina had several chances of its own. The Heels blocked a punt at Clemson’s 18, but Josh McGee’s 32-yard field goal try clanged off the right goalpost.
Up 17-10, they recovered a fumble inside Clemson’s 10, but Antwan Edwards blocked McGee’s field-goal attempt.
The Tar Heels got the ball back with 30 seconds before halftime, but instead of sitting on it, went for points. Keldorf lobbed a 67-yard completion to Stevens to Clemson’s 1, but North Carolina was held to McGee’s 19-yard field goal and a 10-7 halftime lead.