Punters don't often get the opportunity to make their own decisions. They get the ball snapped to them, and they punt. But Clemson punter Andy Teasdall made a questionable decision to try and pick up a first down instead of punting, and it may have cost the Tigers dearly.
After a pair of false starts, Clemson faced a 4th-and-15 on their own 30, the type of situation where a coach would almost never call a fake. For whatever reason, Teasdall thought he saw something about UNC's defense that he liked (or saw UNC crashing through on his right) and decided to tuck and run with the ball.
Teasdall was well short of the first down, gaining only four yards before running into a slew of Tar Heels. You can tell it wasn't a designed fake punt: Teasdall's teammates don't block for him, nor do they run passing routes. They take off, expecting to chase down dangerous UNC return man Ryan Switzer.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was absolutely livid, ripping into Teasdall on the sideline:
The Tar Heels used the short field to score and take a 16-14 lead. At halftime, Swinney expressed his disappointment again:
Dabo: "My punter - I don't have an explanation - just decided to do something on his own & put us in a bad spot and it cost us a touchdown."— Howie Lindsey (@howielindsey) December 6, 2015
Luckily for Clemson, UNC would return the favor. In the third quarter, the Tar Heels would fake a punt -- a designed one -- and punter Joey Mangili missed the throw. Clemson would score at touchdown plays later, and the two teams were even.