Fans of NC State know the recipe all too well: a lackluster NC State team hosts a nationally ranked team at home and somehow pulls off the upset. It’s happened plenty of times before, and it almost happened on Saturday, but the wheels fell off and Clemson escaped with the win.
This game started off at breakneck pace with four scores in the first four drives. What’s more, each team had an extra point blocked and the score was 13-13. The first drive without a score came when Brissett fumbled on a sack. Clemson was held to a field goal in a nice goal line stand by the Wolfpack. NC State was forced to punt on the next drive, but again were kept to a field goal. It looked like the game was getting away, but a risky play gave the Wolfpack a 20-19 lead. On a 3rd and 1, Brissett found Samuels on the pass for a 40yd touchdown.
After finally getting a stop on defense, the team looked to improve on their lead. The Wolfpack marched all the way down the field, but missed a field goal. Flashes of the Troy game came back to fans as Clemson threw a hail mary and scored just seconds before the half, giving Clemson a 26-20 lead. While in the locker room, it was announced that Matt Dayes would not return for the second half.
Each team came out of the half and scored pretty quickly. Clemson scored again, and again, and again. The NC State defense fell apart in the second half, and could never slow down Clemson’s offense enough. The absence of Dayes really hurt as the Wolfpack’s running game fell flat. Clemson’s offense exploded for 30 points in the second half, while NC State was left with just 21.
Wolfpack fans complaining about this loss need to take a step back. Clemson is one of about a dozen teams still undefeated and for good reason. They are a solid team and have a very legitimate shot at a national title. The fact that NC State hung 41 points on them is a big deal and shouldn’t go unnoticed, especially since Miami was shut out a week ago.
The defense was unimpressive, which is interesting because they’ve been a strong point all season. Again, I’m willing to attribute some of this to Clemson being one of the best offenses in the nation. Still, some of these two play drives looked really bad. Hopefully the defense can turn it around next week when they go to one of the ACC’s worst offenses, Boston College
It was a good effort and perhaps with Matt Dayes playing the whole game, this would be a different story. Either way, you can’t be mad about this loss, but you can’t be very happy about it either.