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No. 8 Clemson remains unbeaten, tops UNC by 21

Oct 23, 2011 - 12:44 AM Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Tajh Boyd threw a career-high five touchdown passes and added one on the ground, as the No. 8 Clemson Tigers pulled away in the second half to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels, 59-38.

Boyd was 27-of-46 for 367 yards for the Tigers (8-0, 5-0 ACC), who matched their best start since 2000.

DeAndre Hopkins also set a career-high with 157 yards and a score on nine catches, and Sammy Watkins continued his stellar freshman campaign with 91 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson defensive end Kourtnei Brown had two defensive touchdowns, becoming the first defensive lineman in school history to do so since Walt Larraway against Citadel in 1954.

"If Kourtnei Brown is going to play like this every time he's a captain, I should make him a captain every week. He had a great game," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.

North Carolina (5-3, 1-3) hung in the game early, but six turnovers led to its demise.

"Turnovers kill you," North Carolina head coach Everett Withers said. "They take momentum away from you, they take energy away from you, they take energy out of you, they take emotion out of you. It kills you."

Bryn Renner, who hadn't thrown an interception in his last three games, threw three picks and lost one fumble. He threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-33 passing.

Jheranie Boyd caught three balls for 95 yards and two scores.

Jonathan Meeks intercepted Renner's pass on North Carolina's opening drive and returned the ball 17 yards to the Tar Heels' 38-yard line. North Carolina's defense stood tall and limited Clemson to Chandler Catanzaro's 39-yard field goal.

After a pair of three-and-outs, the Tar Heels took over at their own 37-yard line. Renner hit Boyd for a 33-yard touchdown strike just two plays into the possession as North Carolina took a 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter.

Hopkins finished off a quick five-play drive with a 25-yard touchdown catch to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

Thomas Moore's 32-yard field goal tied the game with 10:18 remaining in the second quarter after Dwight Jones was unable to move the chains on a 3rd- and-7.

Boyd picked up a 3rd-and-11 with a 12-yard scramble to put Clemson into UNC territory for the fourth time in as many possessions. Two plays later, he connected with Martavis Bryant for a 29-yard score to give Clemson a 17-10 lead.

Brown made a fantastic leaping interception at the line of scrimmage as the Tar Heels attempted a screen pass during their next drive. He returned the pick 20 yards for the score to give Clemson a two-touchdown advantage.

Boyd caught his second touchdown pass of the half on UNC's ensuing drive, this time a 58-yard score, as he broke free deep down the middle of the field to make it a 24-17 game.

Erik Highsmith coughed the ball up after a 13-yard catch-and-run and Rashard Hall pounced on the loose pigskin at the 47-yard line to give Clemson an opportunity to put more points on the board. But Catanzaro wasn't able to connect on a 46-yard field goal attempt as the Tigers took a 24-17 halftime lead.

Early in the third quarter, Hopkins made a tremendous leaping catch inside the UNC 15, picking up 39 yards. Boyd, who lined up as a receiver, got the ball on a reverse and fired downfield for the completion. He concluded the five-play, 66-yard march with a one-yard quarterback sneak to make it a 31-17 game.

Charles Brown fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return --- UNC's fourth turnover -- and the Tigers recovered the loose ball at the 12. Boyd connected with Brandon Ford on a back-shoulder fade for a 12-yard score two plays later to give Clemson a 38-17 advantage.

T.J. Thorpe, who came in to replace Brown in the return game, ran the ensuing kickoff 100 yards down the right sideline for the score to make it a 38-24 game.

Jaron Brown answered with a 36-yard return of his own to set up Clemson at the UNC 45. Watkins streaked down the left sideline and hauled in a 42-yard touchdown on a skillfully thrown deep pass by Boyd to give Clemson a 45-24 lead midway through the third.

Boyd threw his fifth touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen for a nine-yard score, and Brown scored his second touchdown of the game with a 26-yard scoop-and-score to make it 59-24 with 14 seconds left in the third.

Ryan Houston added two rushing scores in the fourth to conclude the scoring.

Game Notes

Clemson tied a school record with 35 points in the third quarter. It scored 35 points in the second quarter of an October 31, 1981 game against Wake Forest...The 59 points are the most UNC has allowed since the 69 it surrendered against Louisville in 2005...The Tigers offense put on a show in front of the championship-winning Tiger squad of 1981, who celebrated their 30th anniversary at halftime on Saturday. The 1981 squad defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 22-15 in the 1981 Orange Bowl to capture the national title.