Preview and Prediction: Clemson and North Carolina

Clemson will play its 2023 home finale on Saturday, Nov. 18, when the Tigers host the North Carolina Tar Heels. Kickoff for Senior Day at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Following a 31-23 win against No. 12 Notre Dame on Nov. 4, Head Coach Dabo Swinney issued another memorable postgame salvo in a career full of them when he told a national ABC audience, “I know we’re down and everybody’s throwing dirt on us, but if Clemson is a stock, you better buy all you can freakin’ buy right now.” Investors got a peek at reasons for Swinney’s bullish outlook a week later as Clemson opened Q4 of the regular season by trouncing Georgia Tech, 42-21.

Clemson has fielded a relatively young roster in 2023, particularly on offense, where the Tigers have only one starter confirmed to move on after this season (center Will Putnam). Clemson’s freshmen took center stage last week in the win against the Yellow Jackets, accounting for three of Clemson’s six touchdowns (Tyler Brown, Josh Sapp and Shelton Lewis) and all four of Clemson’s season-high four interceptions (Khalil Barnes, Avieon Terrell, Kylon Griffin and Lewis). According to Stats Perform, it was the first time since at least 2000 that an FBS team had four different freshmen record an interception in a single game.

“That’s why we recruited them,” Swinney said. “Those guys have been working and preparing. It’s fun to see them growing their confidence.”


  • Clemson attempting to improve to 40-19-1 against North Carolina all-time. North Carolina would become the sixth program to be defeated by Clemson 40 times (South Carolina, 72, Wake Forest, 71; NC State, 60; Furman, 44; Virginia, 40).
  • Clemson attempting to earn a sixth consecutive victory against North Carolina, starting with a 59-38 victory in 2011. It would be Clemson’s third winning streak of at least six games in series history (six from 1958-63 and seven from 1986-92).
  • Clemson attempting to improve to 10-3 all-time against Mack Brown. A win would improve Dabo Swinney to 3-0 against Brown.
  • Swinney attempting to improve to 37-5 all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina.
  • Clemson attempting to finish 6-1 at home this season to extend its streak of winning at least six games at Memorial Stadium to 13 years. The next longest streak of six-plus home wins in the country entering 2023 was three years (Coastal Carolina).


Zach: Clemson has found themselves the past two weeks, both offensively and defensively–with a. bevy of young players having played a significant role. If this game was four weeks ago, I would have an entirely different outlook. But these Tigers, playing their best football, on senior day–that got ruined last year–give me the Tigers to take the win.

Clemson 31, UNC 21

Jason: What a difference a couple of weeks makes. This Clemson football team has really started to find its footing in wins over Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Now they just have to keep that momentum going. But they will have to do it against a very solid North Carolina football team. The Heels are explosive offensively. Drake Maye is that guy and he has a plethora of weapons to work with. However, I fully believe Wes Goodwin’s defense is up to the task. With each passing week they continue to get better and better. It will be competitive, but the Tigers will win it in the fourth quarter.

Clemson 28, UNC 20

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