Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson made his case for the Heisman trophy with a stellar performance on the national stage in Clemson’s 45-37 win over North Carolina in the ACC Championship game Saturday night.
Watson accounted for 420 yards and five touchdowns and believes he made a strong case to win the Heisman trophy.
“Of course I’m going to say that I should be the Heisman winner, but we’ll just see what happens,” Watson said. “If I get invited I’ll enjoy the ride, enjoy the process and just have fun with it.”
Watson had statistically the best first half of any player in ACC Championship game history against the Tar Heels.
He accounted for 290 yards and three total touchdowns while leading Clemson to a 21-16 halftime lead.
The 290 total yards are the most in the first half in the ACC Championship, and the sixth-most for an entire game.
His second half wasn’t bad either as he added 130 total yards and two more touchdowns, helping Clemson to a 13-0 record.
Watson’s also set a first half record with a run of 33 yards, marking the longest by a quarterback in ACC Championship game history.
“If you really sit down and watch our games he’s the best player in the country and there’s no doubt about it,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Watson. “This guy beats you not just with his legs, he beats you with his arm, his mind, his heart, his guts, his toughness. This is a great champion of a player.”
SPECIAL TEAMS BLUNDERS
Clemson punter Andy Teasdall tried an ill-advised fake punt on fourth-and-15 from Clemson’s 30 during the second quarter. He was stopped well short of the first down and faced an unhappy coach as Dabo Swinney was waiting for him on the sideline.
North Carolina scored on the ensuing drive to take a 16-14 lead.
Tigers kicker Greg Huegel missed a 47-yard field goal on Clemson’s first drive. It was his first field goal miss of the season against an ACC team.
Clemson also lost starting free safety T.J. Green on a punt in the second quarter when he was ejected from the game for targeting.
UNC backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky set up North Carolina’s first-quarter field goal by finding wide receiver Mack Hollins for a 16-yard gain on third-and-8 from the Clemson 40.
He was in the game after starting quarterback Marquise Williams had his helmet knocked off on the previous play and had to miss a play.
CLUTCH CATCH FOR GALLMAN
Clemson running back Wayne Gallman picked a good time for his first receiving touchdown of the year. He scored on a 16-yard pass from Watson to give Clemson a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter.
Prior to Gallman’s catch Clemson was trailing for the first time in four games.
With both schools easily within driving distance, upper deck tickets for Saturday’s game were being sold for around $200 outside the stadium.