CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A legendary college football coach clashes with one of this generation's most successful when top-ranked Clemson visits North Carolina for an ACC matchup on Saturday. Dabo Swinney's Tigers will try to nail down their 20th consecutive victory when they face the Tar Heels and the renowned Mack Brown, whose 246 career wins are the most among active coaches.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Clemson -26.5
Clemson hardly has been tested thus far - it's closest game was a relatively stress-free 24-10 victory over Texas A&M - and is coming off a 52-10 rout of Charlotte. The Tigers' offense is moving the ball at a nearly record-setting pace with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne leading the prolific attack, which will try to carve up a North Carolina defense that was gashed in a stunning 34-31 loss to Appalachian State last week. The Tar Heels' season got off to a stirring start with close wins over South Carolina and Miami, but back-to-back losses to Wake Forest and the Mountaineers have torpedoed the optimism surrounding Brown's return. North Carolina will try to keep it close as long as possible and hopes to continue its stellar play in the fourth quarter, where it has outscored opponents 45-9.
ABOUT CLEMSON (4-0, 2-0 ACC)
The Tigers' offense has some serious big-play potential and already has scored six touchdowns of 50 yards or longer. Etienne has rolled up 395 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and Lawrence will have one of his favorite receivers back with Justyn Ross returning after missing the game against Charlotte with a sore hip flexor. The defense has been just as dominant, holding each opponent under 300 total yards and racking up 16 sacks.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (2-2, 1-0)
The Tar Heels have played well enough on offense as freshman quarterback Sam Howell has been solid, passing for 256 yards per game with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Javonte Williams has averaged a team-high 74.8 rushing yards per game, but the Tar Heels have run for only one touchdown, resulting in too many field goals from the red zone. The defense played well against South Carolina but has struggled in the last three games, especially against the run, so it could be a long day against Clemson's dynamic attack.
1. Clemson has won 14 consecutive games by 14 points or more, one shy of tying the 1945 Georgia team for the second-longest streak since 1936.
2. The Tigers have scored at least 24 points in a school-record 19 straight contests.
3. North Carolina's first four games have been decided by six points or fewer for the first time since 1978, when its first five contests featured those margins.
PREDICTION: Clemson 41, North Carolina 13