Skip to main content

CHARLOTTE -- You never know who is going to step up and make a play in a championship game.

On Saturday night, it was Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins. The sophomore was making play after play in No. 9 Clemson's 39-10 victory over No. 23 North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium. 

Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone that prevented Tar Heel touchdowns, blocked a field goal and then intercepted a Drake Maye pass at his own 2-yard line and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown.

"I knew one of these days I was going to get a pick," Wiggins said after the game.

The Clemson cornerback dropped several interceptions throughout the season, including a couple he could have returned for touchdowns.

"He has had some opportunities to have some pick six's," Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said. "Go back to the Georgia Tech game, and there was another game that I can't remember off the top of my head. But the challenges of being a young corner and just growing up this year and the rollercoaster year, I could not be more excited and proud to see him have that opportunity tonight." 

Wiggins was not going to drop this one, though. Maye threw the ball right to him.

"I was surprised he threw it," Wiggins said. "I did not have to break on it or anything. It just came right to me. I had to make him pay."

And he did.

Scroll to Continue


Chase Hunter

Hunter’s last-second heroics lifts Clemson past Seminoles

Clemson's Chase Hunter surprised everyone, including Florida State when he blew past the Seminoles’ defense for a layup and a drawn foul with four seconds to play.


Clemson Aims for 10th ACC Win in Visit to FSU

The Clemson Tigers are already off to their best ACC start in program history, and they'll look to build on today at 5 p.m at Florida State.


Kiper Puts One Former Clemson Tiger in Latest Mock Draft

ESPN's NFL draft analyst has Myles Murphy going inside the top-10 to a team not far from Clemson.

Wiggins' 98-yard interception return, which gave the Tigers a 32-10 lead with 5:05 to play in the third quarter, was the longest touchdown and longest play in ACC Championship Game history. It also sealed Clemson's seventh ACC Championship in the last eight years.

The interception was not the only play Wiggins made. In all, he prevented 18 UNC points and scored six on his own.

He broke up two second-quarter passes that prevented UNC from scoring. Both breakups came on third down and both came in the end zone. After one of the breakups, he lined up and blocked Noah Burnette's 31-yard field goal attempt.

"I woke up this morning thinking I was going to have a great day today," Wiggins said. "That was my mindset all day."

Wiggins wasn't the only part of the Clemson defense that played well. The Tigers sacked Maye, the ACC Player of Year, four times. They also intercepted him twice and he lost a fumble.

The North Carolina quarterback finished his night 26-of-42 for 268 yards. It was a much better performance than the one they had last week when South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns.

"I feel like the mentality this week was to try and redeem ourselves," linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "We had a tough loss last week, but we had to shake that off and try to get our mindset right so we could prepare for this week.

"I feel like we really did that throughout the week and it really showed today."

But the story of the night on the defensive side of the ball was Wiggins, whose big night was just what the doctored order and helped the Tigers win another ACC Championship.

Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw, recruiting analyst Jason Priester and staff writer Will Vandervort on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!
Get your Tiger tickets from SI Tickets HERE
Do us a HUGE favor and like, subscribe and follow us on social media:
►LIKE us on Facebook:
►FOLLOW All Clemson on Twitter:
More on All Clemson: