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A closer look at Clemson's victory over UNC

By the numbers

4: Number of touchdown receptions (among nine catches) for North Carolina's Jheranie Boyd this season.

5: Number of receivers who caught quarterback Tajh Boyd's five TD passes.

22: Consecutive quarters in which Clemson has scored, a school record.

54: Receptions this season for Clemson freshman Sammy Watkins, a school freshman record.

Brown's redshirt year

Clemson's Kourtnei Brown, a former star at Victory Christian High in Charlotte, took an uncommon path two years ago, redshirting in his third college season.

The Tigers were loaded at defensive end and coach Dabo Swinney approached Brown to see if he was receptive the summer before the 2009 season. Swinney was surprised and delighted that Brown had the very same thought and was fine with the redshirt season.

"I was ready physically but not mentally," Brown said. "It sure paid off," to redshirt.

Brown studied film, played for the scout team and worked his way back into the rotation. Then Saturday he scored two touchdowns, on an interception and a fumble recovery.

"Really the perfect day," Brown said. "Playing against the team from my state, I'm a captain (for the game) and then all that."

Some nits to pick

Swinney couldn't call this a complete game because the Tigers fell short on special teams and the reserves were spotty in fourth-quarter mop-up.

The Tigers gave up a 100-yard kickoff return to North Carolina freshman T.J. Ford in the third quarter. But it was the reserves that particularly frustrated Swinney.

"When you get the opportunity to play, you've got to hold up the standard," said Swinney after the Tigers failed to score in the fourth quarter. That broke a streak of 22 straight quarters in which Clemson scored, a school record.

Going the distance

Despite not starting as the North Carolina kick returner due to a fumble last week, Thorpe broke loose for a 100-yard touchdown return in the third quarter against the Tigers.

Thorpe, who joined Tyrell Godwin (1998) as the only North Carolina players to return a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, said he learned at midweek that he wouldn't be the Tar Heels' starting return man.

"The reason was I fumbled last week," Thorpe said. "You've got to take care of the ball. That's your main priority. We all understand why I was not out there so I had to make the best of my opportunities."

Head coach Everett Withers got his message across.

"We hope everybody responds in that fashion when they get pulled," Withers said. "If there's competition and you don't respond, I believe there's an issue. Evidently, he responded. Hopefully, he'll be a returner for it in the future."

Three and out

Beyond the turnover issues that scuttled UNC on Saturday, they converted just two of 12 third-down opportunities. Clemson, however, converted eight of 18 third down chances.

"When you fumble the ball or turn it over, a lot of times you don't even get to third down," Withers said. "(Clemson) is a very good pass rushing team so if you get behind and you have to catch up by throwing it, they are going to rush the passer well."