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Saturday, October 22, 2011
1Q: Clemson 10, North Carolina 7

By Heather Dinich

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Take your pick: Sammy Watkins or DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins or Dwayne Allen. Allen or Jaron Brown.

Clemson's options overfloweth this season, and today, it's Hopkins' turn.

Despite all of the attention surrounding Clemson freshman receiver Watkins, he's hardly the only playmaker in this offense. Hopkins already has five catches for 83 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass that gave the Tigers the lead.

It's been a slow start, though, for both offenses. UNC got it started with an interception, but North Carolina responded by holding the Tigers to a field goal. UNC linebacker Zach Brown has sacked Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd twice, and Clemson hasn't been able to run the ball at all. Running back Andre Ellington hurt his foot in the first quarter and "should return," according to a school spokesman, and without starting tailback Giovani Bernard on the field yet (hip injury), UNC's running game has also been stagnant.

Ryan Houston doesn't have the same explosive capabilities, and he's averaging about 3 yards per carry. Defensively, it seems as if Brown's name has been called every other tackle.

It's a good game here so far, and UNC's defense is the key to keeping it that way, especially against an offense that has so many answers.