The Clemson Tigers have had their share of injuries over the past few weeks.
But their quarterback, Luke Del Rio, has looked like a different man since returning from an ACL tear.
He has led Clemson to three consecutive ACC Coastal Division titles and has played his best football since taking over as the Tigers head coach.
The Tigers (3-2) were in a familiar position on Friday.
They were leading the ACC with their first ACC Coastal championship since 2012.
Clemson was 2-0 and ranked fourth in the league at 5-2.
After a loss to Miami on Saturday, the Tigers fell to 3-2 in conference play.
The loss came at a crucial time for the Tigers, who were trying to avoid losing two of three conference games to reach the conference championship game.
They’ve lost three straight conference games in league play, and three of their last four in ACC play.
The ACC Coastal is an eight-team division, and Clemson has the second-best record in the conference at 7-1.
Clemson’s defense has been an issue, and the Tigers struggled to stop the run.
Clemson allowed 10 rushing touchdowns in the loss to the Hurricanes, but those were mostly due to runs by running back Damien Harris, who was 1 of 4 for two yards and two yards on two carries.
Clemson has allowed 6.9 yards per carry this season.
The biggest concern for Clemson was how much quarterback Luke Del Rio would contribute to the offense.
Del Rio has played well, but has struggled to stay on the field for long periods of time, and he didn’t have much of an impact on the game plan with his two interceptions.
He had a passer rating of 59.9 in the first half against the Hurricanes.
Del Rios interceptions came against Miami, Wake Forest, and North Carolina.
Del roio has thrown two interceptions in three of the last four ACC games.
Clemson also allowed 10 points in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to Wake Forest.
Clemson trailed 16-10 with 3:58 left, and after a defensive holding penalty on freshman safety Tyus Bowser, Del Rionos fumble was recovered by Clemson at the Clemson 35 with 6:51 left.
The Tigers trailed 21-14 entering the fourth quarter, and Del Rio threw a touchdown pass to a wide open Delion Williams, who caught the ball in the end zone to make it 24-21.
The Hurricanes went ahead 24-17 with 4:38 left, but Clemson recovered the ball on downs at the ACC 35 and scored again on its next possession, this time with 3 minutes to play to make the score 23-21 on the last play of regulation.
Clemson scored first in the fourth with a 3-yard run by Del Rio with 2:13 left.
Clemson led 24-23 with 7:21 remaining, and it was Del Rions first touchdown pass since the first quarter.
The next touchdown came when Del Riolos second interception came on a pass by Delano Williams.
Williams was lined up in the slot, and on a short pass, Del Rio found Del Rario on the left side of the field, who hit Del Rino for a 25-yard score.
The touchdown gave Clemson a 17-10 lead with 1:55 left in the game.
Clemson responded with a 7-yard touchdown run by freshman safety Mike Williams.
The Clemson defense held North Carolina to 24 yards rushing, and quarterback Luke Barker threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns.
The offense finished with 531 total yards and four touchdowns.
The Hurricanes (2-3) moved to 3 1/2 weeks without an ACC Coastal title and a 3 1 / 2 game lead over Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
Virginia is the only other team in the ACC Coastal division with a winning record.
Virginia has won three straight games and is the defending ACC Coastal champion.
The Cavaliers are 8-0 all-time in ACC Coastal games, and are now in the top four for the second consecutive year.
Del Rio had a disappointing outing in his first game back after missing the season opener with a broken foot.
He was 3 of 9 for 31 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts in the Tigers loss to Clemson.
He also threw an interception on a screen pass from safety Kenny Crawley, which was returned for a touchdown by Del Riano.
Delroio was sacked once by Clemson cornerback Jalen Hurts in the second quarter, a game where Del Rieso was lined-up in the same spot as Hurts.
Clemson is now 5-0 in ACC home games and has won five straight against Virginia.
The three-point conversion by Clemson was the only Clemson attempt of the game to give the Tigers a 31-27 lead.
Clemson finished the game on its own 24-yard line with 4 minutes left in regulation.
The win moves Clemson to 2-2 against ranked opponents this season, and moves the Tigers to 3rd in the Coastal