Tag: North Carolina Tar Heels
Preview: North Carolina at Michigan
Fifth-ranked Michigan looks to stay unbeaten when it hosts No. 13 North Carolina in one of the marquee matchups of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday. The Wolverines have shot up the national rankings on the strength of their defense, holding five of their six opponents to 55 or fewer points, including then-No. 8 Villanova in a 73-46 road win on Nov. 14, and hope to cement their place in the Top 5 by shutting down a prolific Tar Heels’ offense which averages 96.6 points per game.
Michigan has won 15 consecutive non-conference home games and hopes to extend their streak while avenging an 86-71 road loss to North Carolina in the conference challenge last season. North Carolina bounced back from its first loss of the campaign with a 94-78 victory over UCLA in the consolation game of the Las Vegas Invitational. The Tar Heels, who opened the tournament with a 92-89 loss to No. 17 Texas before matching their season high with 11 3-pointers en route to a comfortable win over the Bruins, hope to notch their first signature win of the season by knocking off the Wolverines for the third consecutive time. “Michigan may be playing better basketball than anybody,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams told reporters. “Michigan is the number one defensive team in America.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (6-1): Coby White was named to the Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament team after averaging 26 points, including a team-high 19 in the win against UCLA. Luke Maye added 16 points and eight assists while Kenny Williams scored a season-high 15 points, as five players finished in double figures for the Tar Heels. White was also named the ACC Freshman of the Week after averaging 22.6 points and four assists against Saint Francis, Texas and UCLA while point guard Seventh Woods is set to return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a concussion.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (6-0): Canadian forward Ignas Brazdeikis continued the impressive start to his college career, scoring a team-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds in an 83-55 win over Chattanooga on Friday. “I think he’s very coachable and he wants to be a great player,” Michigan coach John Beilein told reporters. “He is going to have a doozy of a matchup with Luke Maye that’s for sure as Maye just killed us last time.” Jordan Poole added 14 points and six rebounds while Isaiah Livers tallied 12 points in a reserve role as the Wolverines held the Mocs to 36.1 percent shooting from the floor.
1. Michigan leads the nation in scoring defense (48.3).
2. North Carolina is ranked third in offensive efficiency.
3. The Tar Heels are 10-5 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge under Williams.
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N’Kosi Perry and the Hurricanes open ACC play at home against the Tar Heels
The Miami Hurricanes will begin ACC play on a short week on Thursday night as they will host the North Carolina Tar Heels on national TV.
Last week, the Hurricanes were able to beat the FIU Panthers 31-17. The Tar Heels got their first win of the season by defeating fellow Coastal Division foe Pitt in a 38-35 thriller in Chapel Hill.
Thursday will be the 20th meeting all-time between North Carolina and Miami as the Hurricanes hold a slight 10-9 advantage in the series.
North Carolina at Miami
Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET
Spread: Miami -18.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Hurricanes’ starting quarterback
If Mark Richt knows who’s going to start against the Tar Heels on Thursday, he certainly isn’t telling the public.
Malik Rosier has started all four games for the Hurricanes. But on the third series of last weekend’s game against FIU, Richt put N’Kosi Perry in, which was the plan all along, and the redshirt freshman delivered.
Perry completed 17 of 25 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns as he helped lead the Hurricanes to a 31-17 victory. After starting the game, Rosier never got back in under center.
During Monday’s practice leading up to the game, Perry received first-team reps, which probably doesn’t bode well for Rosier on a short week.
2. Nathan Elliott
Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora announced on Monday that Elliott would get the start against the Hurricanes on the short week even though Chazz Surratt was eligible to return after serving a suspension for selling school-issued Nikes earlier this year. While Surratt was expected to complete with Elliott for the starting job prior to the suspension, Elliott deserves another opportunity after his strong performance last week.
In the win over Pittsburgh, Elliott completed 22 of 31 of his passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns. This week, Elliott will be tested against a tough Hurricanes defense.
Miami enter this game second in the country in total defense at 223.8 yards per game. While three of the Hurricanes’ games have been against an FCS team (Savannah State), Toledo from the MAC, and last week’s win over Conference USA member FIU, don’t forget that they opened the season against LSU. The Tigers are currently ranked fifth in the AP poll. Miami also has done a good job of limiting opponents on the scoreboard, holding them to 18.5 points per game (29th).
3. Gerald Willis III
In just four games, Willis has been a force at defensive tackle for the Hurricanes. He is tied for the national lead in tackles for a loss with 10 and he also has a pair of sacks to pace Miami’s defense in the early going.
After Chad Thomas, Kendrick Norton and R.J. McIntosh left the program, there was a void up front. So far, Willis has been a pleasant surprise as he has anchored the Hurricanes’ defensive line and arguably been their best player on that side of the ball. Miami enters this game first among ACC teams in total, rushing and passing defense. We’ll see if these trends continue as the Hurricanes play their first conference game.
Despite their win over Pittsburgh last week, North Carolina is still a team in transition. Sure, the offense was plenty productive last week with Nathan Elliott leading the way, but the defense still gave up 35 points and more than 400 yards. That probably will not get the job done against the Hurricanes, who are statistically superior to the Panthers on that side of the ball, especially in terms of yards and points per game.
N’Kosi Perry gave Miami’s offense instant energy once he entered the game at quarterback and he will likely be under center when for the Hurricanes’ first possession. If the Hurricanes can get wide receivers Jeff Thomas (left last week’s game early due to dehydration) and Ahmmon Richards (missed game because of knee injury) back this week that will only help the redshirt freshman signal-caller. North Carolina simply doesn’t have as many playmakers, on either side of the ball, as Miami.
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The Final Four is over and done with for another year, and the championship game is nearly upon us.
It may not have been as frantic as some of the Elite Eight games we had earlier this week, but Syracuse was a scrappy team that gave it their all. Some may have thought the Orange had a shot at an upset, but #1 North Carolina entered March Madness as a top seed for a reason.
UNC is the 24th preseason #1 team to reach the title game. 14 of the previous 23 teams have gone on to win the March Madness championship.
A late run had Syracuse within single digits, but ultimately the Tar Heels proved to be too much down low. NC shot 4-of-17 for three, but 31-for-48 from the field.
At one point, NC superstar forward Brice Johnson was on the bench after a second foul, but that didn’t slow down the boys in blue. UNC went on to outscore Syracuse by a score of 32-12 over that nine minute span and stretch their lead from two to 11.
Sryacuse’s Trevor Cooney lead all scorers with 22 points, while every North Carolina starter other than guard Joel Berry scored in double-digits. Johnson and Justin Jackson had 16 points each, with Johnson adding nine rebounds to boot.
March Madness Final Four preview
Syracuse Orange vs North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels are the only top seed in the nation standing in the Final Four and are heading into this record breaking 19th time to the last 4 of the NCAA tournament. They will face their ACC Conference rivals Syracuse Orange for the 3rd time this season, a team that are in a cinderellas story of a NCAA tournament at the NRG stadium in Houston. FanPicks is proud to bring you this March Madness Final Four preview. Come enjoy our March Madness Fantasy contests at Fanpicks with over 5 MILLION dollars in prizes for the NCAA TOURNAMENT.
The Tar Heels seniors Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige lead their team that is averaging 89.3 pts per game in the tournament and winning on average by margins of 16 pts. They’re on a 9 game winning streak now and are currently playing the best basketball full of confidence and looking like champions. On another hand, their opponents had lost 5 of 6 gamens entering the NCAA Tournament but really are playing their best basketball at the moment and are only one victory away from the final. They seem to stick together and believe in themselves.
Syracuse come into this game having won their only NCAA Tournament in 2003. Their squad is full of talented young players mixed with a few veterans but their Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim is a big reason why they’re there. Their senior Michael Gbinije leads the team in scoring with 17.6 pts and has 91 3-pointers this season. His consistency has helped the team a lot as he records double figures in points 37 straight games at least 20 pts in 4 of the last 6 games. Their freshman Malachi Richardson stepped up his level too and had a season high of 23 pts 68-61 in the Elite 8 over Virginia. Their teammate Tyler Lydon, which averages 10.2 pts per game is a huge threat. g a season high-matching 23 points in the 68-62 Elite Eight victory over Virginia, and fellow freshman Tyler Lydon (10.2 points overall) is also a threat.
The Tar Heels’ Hall of Fame coach, Roy Williams began their winning streak with a 75-70 win over Syracuse on Feb. 29. Brice Johnson, North Carolina’s main weapon averages 21 pts, 9.8 rebounds and shot an incredible 63% from the field in the first 4 rounds. The 6’10” All American has the school record for 23 double doubles this season and is the first Tar Heel to have 20 pts and 10 boards in 3 consecutives NCAA Tournament games.
March Madness – North Carolina became the only #1 seed to survive the regional final after beating the Fighting Irish. The Tar Heels reach the Final Four of March Madness for the 19th time in school history, a fourth time with Head Coach Roy Williams and first time since winning the National Championship in 2009.
NC forward Brice Johnson was the fantasy basketball star of the day. Johnson scored 24 points by going 10-of-15 from the field, plus 15 rebounds. It was his third consecutive game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Everybody knows how good the Tar Heels offensive rebounding was coming in, but in a tournament style format that no doubt includes some desperation shots, it becomes even more valuable. They out-rebounded ND by a wide margin 31-14.
- Box Score
March Madness continues on April 2, 2016 when North Carolina will face #10 Syracuse in the Final Four.
March Madness Results
The Elite 8 is now history for 2016, as only four teams remain in the battle to be named March Madness champion.
The quarter-final round began on Saturday, March 26, when Buddy Hield led #2 Oklahoma to a 80-68 win over top ranked Oregon.
Later that day another #2 seed, Villanova had a strong start and held on to beat the top ranked and heavily favorited Jay Hawks. # 1 Kansas exits the tournament two rounds earlier than they would’ve liked to.
The round concluded on Sunday night with an expected result, as #1 North Carolina got their dabb on and defeated #6 Notre-Dame by a fair 88-74 margin. The game was close in the first half, but the Tar Heels grinded it out for the entire 40 minutes and held off any hopes of an ND comeback.
Sunday started with a pretty big upset when the highest remaining seed #10 Syracuse topped #1 Virginia 68-62.
They are the heavy favorite over Syracuse heading into the Final 4, with a projected winning percentage of 80%, while the other two candidates (Villanova, Oklahoma) equally have a 50%-50% chance of advancing to the championship round.
All teams are off until April 2, when the Final 4 tip-off.
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March Madness Elite 8 Fantasy Preview
Notre Dame vs North Carolina
Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center will be the host of the East Region’s Finals when the top seeded North Carolina Tar Heels and their ACC rival, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. FanPicks is proud to bring you this March Madness Elite 8 Fantasy preview. Come enjoy daily NCAA Fantasy Basketball at Fanpicks and enter our March Madness contests with millions of dollars to win even with your busted brackets.
North Carolina Tar Heels are currently peaking at the moment and their ACC rival Notre Dame are the only ones standing in front of them and the Final Four. The Tar Heels are on a 8 game winning streak with the last 3 in the NCAA Tournament by a combined 50 points. In that run, they’ve also embarrassed the same 6th seed Notre Dame in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s semifinals 78-47.
They come in having shot 51.6% from field in their route of Indiana Friday 101-86. This Tar Heels team is so dangerous and has offensive weapons unlike their opponents. Brice Johnson has recorded 22 double-doubles and tied for the single-season team record. He needs 13 more rebounds to beat the record for the most in one single season of their program history. Marcus Paige, who’s struggled a bit with his shooting is a force that may help them unlock their 6th NCAA Tournament title after making 11 of his 21 shots from beyond the arc.
Notre Dame has won 6 games combined in consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the 1st time in its history and reached for the first time in its history and reached the Elite Eight for the second straight year after losing to Kentucky in 2015. Their star forward V.J Beachem has been a major factor in their NCAA Tournament success averaging a huge 17.3 pts in 3 games, 5 above his usual season average. Their leader, Demetrius Jackson leads the team in scoring and will be the focus of the Tar Heels’ defense. North Carolina will also have their hands full with forward Zach Auguste who has 22 double-doubles all year. The Irish have won their 3 NCAA Tournament matchups with by a combined 13 pts and will go after their first Final Four appearance since 1978.
March Madness Fantasy Preview
Indiana Hoosiers VS North Carolina Tar Heels
It’s that time of the year where 2 of the best College Basketball programs square off for the Sweet 16 ahead of schedule. Philadelphia’s Well Fargo Arena will host the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional semi finals between the Indiana Hoosiers and North Carolina Tar Heels. FanPicks is proud to bring you this NCAA Tournament Fantasy Preview. Come enjoy our March Madness Fantasy contests at Fanpicks with over 5 MILLION dollars in prizes for the NCAA TOURNAMENT.
The 5th seeded Indiana Hoosiers are going into this game counting on their scoring leader Yogi Ferrell to pick up the team to greatness facing the top seeded Tar Heels. Ferrell has 38 pts and 14 assists with only 3 turnovers in his last 2 games.
His supporting cast of center Thomas Bryant and forward Troy Williams were also instrumental in their win against the powerful Kentucky squad. The Hoosiers’ depth is still questionable since their guard Robert Johnson and forward Juwan Morgan are still questionable for the game. This will be the 3rd time only that Indiana square off against North Carolina in the NCAA tournament with the Hoosiers having won the past 2 contests. Indiana also has a winning record in March Madness tournaments against # 1 seeds, having won 5 times out of 8 matchups and never lost in Philadelphia.
The top seeded Tar Heels on their hand have rolled over teams the past 2 rounds after winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles. Their star forward Brice Johnson will be leading their deep balanced roster. Johnson is only 8 boards away from becoming the 8th Tar Heel to reach 1000 rebounds in his career and averages a double double 16.8 pts per game with 10.5 rebounds.
Tar Heels will need to execute more from beyond the arc against the Hoosier, especially if their senior PG Marcus Paige heats up.. They will also need to watch out for turnovers are the Hoosiers are very dangerous in that department. Tar Heels’ coach Roy Williams know the threat the Hoosiers pose for his team as they’ve been considerably improving as the season went along.
With the Hoosiers shooting 50.5 % from the field, the Tar Heels will need to keep their 27 games streak of limiting opponents to less than 45% shooting to win this game, or else, it will really go down to the wire.
ACC Tournament Final Fantasy Basketball Preview
Virginia Cavaliers (4) vs North Carolina Tar Heels (7)
A day after 4 games were decided in overtime, the ACC tournament winds down to its top 2 seeds, the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Cavaliers battling at the Verizon Center Saturday night. FanPicks is proud to bring you this exciting ACC Tournament final fantasy basketball preview ahead of the big NCAA tournament.
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This will be the Tar Heels 2nd straight ACC tournament final game and 5th in the last 6 seasons. They’re in tremendous form right now after their convincing Thursday victory over Pittsburgh 88 to 71 followed by their route of Notre Dame, the ACC defending champions by the largest margin ever in an ACC semi final 78 to 47. They lead the ACC in pts per game but their offense will be under extreme pressure from the best defense in the conference.
North Carolina will count as usual on their big man Marcus Paige to step up and get out of his slump as well as their forward Brice Johnson. Johnson leads the Tar Heels in scoring and rebounds averaging a staggering 16.7 pts per game and 10.6 boards. His streak of double doubles ended Friday because of the fouls despite a great 12 pts performance. UNC is also on an 8 year ACC title drought.
The Cavaliers are one of the most efficient teams at both ends in the nation. They not only easily lead the ACC in many departments but are feared nationwide for their defense who ranks 2nd in the NCAA allowing only 59.6 pts per game. They also rank in the top 10 nationally in FG percentage and 3 point shooting. ACC player of the year, Malcom Brogdon averages 18.8 pts per game and shoots 47.8 % from the field. The Cavaliers have been shooting over 50% in their last 3 games.
Virginia has won 3 of their last 4 games against the Tar Heels including the latest home victory 2 weeks ago at home by the score of 79 to 74. Brogdon scored 26 pts in the game with 19 of them coming in the first half.
They will have to convert the turnovers they create into points as they did in the previous game to run away with the title.
NCAA College Fantasy Basketball
North Carolina VS Duke
# 8 North Carolina Tar Heels will be visiting the Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday to battle the Duke Blue Devils in their last game of regular season and hope to clinch its 1st ACC title since the 2011-12 season. FanPicks is proud to bring you this NCAA College Fantasy Basketball matchup preview. Come enjoy daily NCAA Fantasy Basketball at Fanpicks ahead of this upcoming March Madness 2016.
Both teams will be looking forward to this electrifying classic game in which the Tar Heels will try to seek their revenge from their heartbreaking defeat mid February by 1 point, a game in which they actually controlled and dominated but Duke stole it in the end.
Duke, currently ranked 5th in the ACC and 21st in the nation, will enter this game having lost 2 on the road of their last 4 games since their nailbiter against the Tar Heels last month. Their latest victory against Wake Forest on Tuesday may give them a boost of confidence with a dominant performance once more by their sophomore star Grayson Allen, netting 30 pts. Allen has scored in double digits each game since the holiday break. With most of the pressure on Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard will most likely step up and make those shots from beyond the arc. Marshall Plumlee should play his typical double-double game but if he gets in foul trouble, Duke may be in trouble. The Blue Devils have won the last 4 contests against their biggest ACC rivals.
The Tar Heels are stepping into their last game of this brilliant season not only avenge last month’s final seconds loss to the Blue Devils but to outright clinch their first ACC title in 4 years. Since their last matchup, North Carolina has won 3 of their last 4 contests. With seniors’ night over, the Tar Heels will hope that Marcus Paige step up and have a big game. He’s been struggling lately, shooting barely 28% over the last 5 games but their other senior, Brice Johnson has been enormous, shooting 50% from floor in his last 7 games and recently added got his 18th double-double of the season in Tuesday’s win against Syracuse. They will need to step up their 3-point range shooting to top the Blue Devils as they went 1 of 13 in their first matchup.
College Football Fantasy Draft News 12-29-2015
LSU Tigers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders College Football Real Money Fantasy Preview 12-29-2015
The Texas Bowl will feature the Texas Tech Red Raiders to meet the LSU Tigers. College football draft managers can tune to ESPN TV on Tuesday December 29th to follow the results of their one day real money fantasy picks.
LSU has been a one dimensional team on the year and it costs the team when they stepped up in competition. The team is 9-3 and suffered three straight losses down the stretch to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss. They picked up a 19-7 victory against Texas A&M to close out the regular season but the 19 points were the most they scored in their final four games of the regular season. The Tigers get the luck of the draw as they face one of the worst defenses in the bowls in the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Red Raiders are 126th against the run and a layup for a much maligned LSU offense to look good.
Texas Tech is the top passing team from college football passing for 389 yards per game. They should have success in this game moving the football on the Tigers who rank 50th from college football in defending the pass.
College Football Daily Fantasy League Pick
The best player on the field in this game and the top NFL prospect is LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He has rushed for 1741 yards on the campaign with 18 touchdowns on the ground. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and should have a field day running on the bad Texas Tech defense. This game will be a showcase game for Fournette to get the Tigers fans fired up for the 2016 campaign as they get at least another year from their sophomore running back.
Play Leonard Fournette
LSU Tigers RB
Texas Tech sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes improved greatly from his freshman campaign. He completed 65% of his throws for 4283 yards with 32 touchdowns and 14 picks. He is also rewards fantasy football general managers with his running ability as he rushed for 484 yards and ten touchdowns on the campaign. Mahomes has passed for three touchdowns or greater in three of his past four games. The Red Raiders signal caller has also thrown for over 300 yards in seven of his past nine games.
Play Patrick Mahomes
Texas Tech Red Raiders QB
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Baylor Bears College Football Fantasy Preview 12-29-2015
The Russell Athletic Bowl features the Baylor Bears against the North Carolina Tar Heels. DFS draft GM’s can tune to ESPN TV at 5:30PM Eastern Time on Tuesday December 29th to track the scoring results of their college football fantasy daily picks.
The Baylor Bears had much higher aspirations than the Russell Athletic Bowl. This team has a single goal and that is to make the playoffs and it was another year of disappointment. Their offense has struggled as they have been hit with several injuries to their quarterback position that saw the team have to play a fourth stringer.
North Carolina had a very successful season at 11-2. They were tenth in the nation in scoring offense by averaging nearly 41 points per game. They are competing against the 76th ranked pass defensive team that gives up 232 yards per game.
College Football Daily Cash Fantasy League Pick
Big play wide receiver Mack Hollins led the Tar Heels with 28 catches for 711 yards with eight touchdowns. He faced off against several good defensive teams in the ACC but will find the pass coverage much softer in this spot. Hollins caught five balls for 165 yards against a defensively challenged Duke Blue Devils team and had three touchdown catches against Wake Forest.
Play Mack Hollins
North Carolina Tar Heels WR
Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Preview
Russell Athletic Bowl
North Carolina vs. Baylor
Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy sports site is proud to provide our preview of the Russell Athletic Bowl which feature North Carolina and Baylor. We predict that North Carolina will have an easy time over Baylor taking the game with a score 41-28. Play your fantasy college football contests at Fanpicks.com
North Carolina goes after its school-record 12th victory of the season when it takes on injury-plagued Baylor at the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla. The No. 10 Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina and won 11 consecutive games before dropping the ACC Championship game 45-37 against No. 1 Clemson. North Carolina has won 11 contests for the fourth time (also 1972, 1980 and 1997) and faces the No. 17 Bears, who lost three of the last four games.
Four different quarterbacks have been under center this season for Baylor and freshman Jarrett Stidham (broken ankle) is not expected to be ready, which will hand the start to Chris Johnson. The sophomore won’t be able to look in the direction of Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman (74 receptions, 1,363 yards and a nation-leading 20 touchdowns), who has been ruled out due to a sports hernia. Coach Art Briles also announced that running back Shock Linwood (1,329 yards rushing, 10 TDs) would not play against North Carolina due to a broken foot.
There’s no doubt who will be at the helm for North Carolina as senior quarterback Marquise Williams attempts to end his final campaign with another strong performance. Williams is one of five ACC players in history to accumulate more than 10,000 yards of offense and threw 12 of his 21 touchdown passes this season in the last six games while suffering only two interceptions in that span. The 6-2, 225-pound Williams has also rushed for 867 yards and 11 scores in 2015, and has been responsible for a school-record 94 touchdowns in his career.
NORTH CAROLINA Season Overview (11-2, 8-0 ACC): Sophomore running back Elijah Hood is one of the biggest reasons the Tar Heels are having one of their best years, rushing for 1,345 yards and 17 touchdowns. With All-American guard Landon Turner leading the way, Hood and Williams have averaged more than six yards per carry while senior Quinshad Davis is one reception away from 200 in his career. North Carolina is averaging 40.9 points with a school-record 532 and its defense (22.6 against) is much improved from 2014, when it allowed 39 points and almost 500 yards per contest.
BAYLOR Season Overview (9-3, 6-3 Big 12): The Bears lead the nation in scoring (48.0) and total offense (604.6 yards) despite losing starting quarterback Seth Russell (2,104 yards, 29 TD passes) in the seventh game with a neck injury. Stidham completed 68.8 percent of his passes (12 scores, two interceptions) and Johnson has thrown only 38 times while KD Cannon (46 catches, 828 yards, six TDs) and Jay Lee (36, 726, eight) still give the Bears two top targets without Coleman. Johnny Jefferson, who rushed for 158 yards in the regular-season finale against Texas and has 701 overall, will lead the running attack with Linwood out.
Clemson takes ACC title with win over North Carolina
Fanpicks.com decidedly the best destination for fantasy college football play is proud to bring you the ACC Championship game highlights
Heisman Trophy nominee and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson connected for three touchdown passes and ran in for another two scored to lead the unbeaten Tigers to the ACC Championship with a 45-37 win against the 10th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Watson showed superb form setting an ACC Championship record with a total of 420 yards and five touchdowns ensuring the 13-0 Tigers a spot in the college football playoffs. Watson said in a postgame interview “I wanted to prove that we were one of the best teams in the country and that we deserved to be in the top four.”
The win was mired in controversy as the Tar Heels appeared to recover the onside kick, but were called for being offside; although replays clearly did not show any offside. The kick was redone, but North Carolina’s attempted for another onside kick was undone by Clemson as they recovered and ran out the clock. Coach Larry Fedora said “I had a chance to look at it and they missed it. They were wrong. That’s all I’m going to say about it. They were wrong” adding more fuel to the controversial win
Moreover, Fedora’s onside kick strategy could have led North Carolina to score with a chance at a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime. “It isn’t going to change,” Fedora said. “It doesn’t matter one way or the other, so I’m going to have to swallow it like a man and just take it.”
Sunday’s game will answer the only football pairing mystery left… whether Clemson or No. 2 Alabama is in the top spot. Winning Clemson Tigers coach Dabo Swinney boasted “We’ve got three top 10 wins. Anybody else got that? And we’re 13-0.”
This championship game saw Clemson chalk up a conference record 608 yards catapulting over the previous 500 yard indicator. We were amazed at both Wayne Gallman’s accomplishment, running for 185 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns coupled with Artavis Scott’s feat of seven receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Fedora was quick to point out, “They stretch you with their receivers, horizontally, and created seams in the defense, and if you don’t fit exactly where you’re supposed to or you miss a tackle, they’re going to have a big play, and that’s what happened.”
For the Tar Heels, Marquise Williams had an excellent aerial attack wiht 224 yards and three touchdowns while running for 81 yards and a score for the Tar Heels (11-2, No. 8 AP). Williams said he was proud of how his team played, “A lot of people thought we were going to come out here and just lay an egg, but we didn’t.
The Tigers outplayed the Tar Heels 309-103 in the first half, but benefited from a touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Leggett with two seconds left in the second quarter to take a 21-16 lead into the locker room. Clemson’s lead might have been bigger had it not been for a curious decision by Tigers punter Andy Teasdall, to take matters into his own hands and take off running on fourth-and-15 at his own 30. His attempt led him to up just 4 yards before being dragged down receiving an earful from coaches when he returned to the sideline.
The Tar Heels took advantage of this play to quickly move 34 yards in four plays with Williams finding Switzer in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass to give the Tar Heels a 16-14 lead. Swinney mentioned of Teasdall’s play, “There was no fake punt, that was just him losing his mind, he went Superman on me. I have no answer.”
However, Watson put the Tigers back in front with two seconds left in the first half on a 1-yard jump pass to tight end Jordan Leggett. Watson was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player while continuing to build his case to become the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history.
He struck the Heisman pose after the game saying, “I feel like I’m one of the best in the country because of the players I have (on the team) with me and the coaches on this staff.”
“If you sit down and watch our 13 games, he’s the best player in the country — and there is no doubt about it,” Swinney said. “This guy beats you not just with his legs, but his arm, his mind, his heart, his guts and his toughness. He’s a great champion.”