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ACC & Big 12 Week 5 Roundup: Undefeated Clemson survives scare in Chapel Hill

Defending CFP champion Clemson held off North Carolina Saturday, stopping a two-point conversion with 1:17 to play to preserve a 21-20 victory at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The win extended Clemson’s FBS-leading winning streak to 20 games and marked the first Tigers victory at North Carolina since 2002.

“I know we are supposed to show up and beat everybody and destroy everybody like nobody else has scholarship players or good coaches,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “But this is college football, and we are a new team. [I’m] incredibly proud of our guys.”

The Tar Heels got on the board first Saturday, as quarterback Sam Howell completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dyami Brown just two minutes into the game. The true freshman quarterback finished the day 15-for-27 for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Other notable performances from the Tar Heels came from running back Michael Carter, who had 99 yards on 16 carries, and defensive tackle Jason Strowbridge, who had a fumble recovery in the loss.

“If we play this hard, we’re pretty good, and that’s what we’ve got to do, and I think like [Chazz] Surratt, Sam [Howell] will grow every week,” North Carolina head coach Mack Brown said. “That’s a pretty tough night for a true freshman quarterback against the No. 1 team in the country. I thought he did some really good things.”

Most of the game was a back-and-forth battle as the Tigers and the Tar Heels went touchdown-for-touchdown until the fourth quarter, when wide receiver Tee Higgins caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to put the Tigers up 21-14.

The Tar Heels then responded with a 16-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Javonte Williams. North Carolina then went for two and the lead, but the Tigers brought Howell down just short of the end zone on an option, and Clemson clinched its fifth win of the season.

“This shows us what we can be,” Brown said. “I told the guys we had the best Sunday practice, the best Tuesday practice, Wednesday practice, Thursday practice — Friday, they were so locked in. It was a fun week to coach. Much more fun than the two previous weeks.

“I also told them that if you do that every week, we have a chance to win the rest of the games,” Brown continued. “Because this is who you are, but you’ve got to be that every game.”

Now let’s check out a few more highlights from an exciting Week 5 in the ACC and Big 12:

No. 10 Notre Dame 35, No. 18 Virginia 20: Julian Okwara registered three of Notre Dame’s eight total sacks and caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to lead the Fighting Irish past Virginia. Notre Dame has now held 18 consecutive opponents under 30 points and limited the Cavaliers to just four rushing yards on the day, the fourth-lowest total by a Notre Dame opponent since 1996.

Baylor 23, Iowa State 21: Redshirt freshman John Mayers kicked his first career field goal — a 38-yarder with 21 seconds remaining in the game — to lift Baylor to victory in its first Big 12 game of the year. Baylor held Iowa State scoreless until the fourth quarter, marking the first time since 2014 that the Bears held an opponent scoreless through three quarters.

Wake Forest 27, Boston College 24: Quarterback Jamie Newman led the Demon Deacons in both passing (243 yards, two touchdowns) and rushing (23 carries, 102 yards) as Wake Forest converted 17 of 24 third-down chances to beat the Eagles in Chestnut Hill. Wake Forest is now 5-0 for the first time since 2006.

Oklahoma State 26, No. 24 Kansas State 13: Cowboys running back Chuba Hubbard had 25 carries for 296 yards and a touchdown to help shut down the Wildcats for the sixth consecutive time at Boone Pickens Stadium. Hubbard is now the first Oklahoma State player to ever to rush for 200 or more yards three times in the first five games of a season.

Florida State 31, North Carolina State 13: Graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook made his first start for Florida State and threw for a career-high 316 yards and three touchdowns as the Seminoles beat the Wolfpack. Florida State has now scored at least 24 points in each of its first five games for the first time since the Noles’ 2013 National Championship season.