Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina State will feature two of the ACC’s best quarterbacks and some of the best wide receiver talent.
The defense that can get a stop in crunch time will be the team that will get the victory.
WHAT: North Carolina State at Clemson
WHERE: Memorial Stadium
WHEN: Saturday, September 27th (3:32 p.m.)
WHY NORTH CAROLINA STATE MIGHT WIN
*JACOBY BRISSETT: The talented redshirt junior and Florida transfer is quarterbacking N.C. State’s high-octane offense that is leading the ACC in just about every offensive category. The Wolfpack is averaging 505.6 yards per game and 40.4 points per game. Brissett has the ability to move the pocket and extend plays with his feet and made several eye-popping plays a week ago at home against top-ranked Florida State. He has thrown 13 touchdowns to just one interception and has attempted 156 passes since his pick in the second quarter of State’s season opener. Can the Tigers do something that Florida State couldn’t and slow down Brissett and the Wolfpack offense?
*THREE-HEADED MONSTER: The Wolfpack have a triple attack at running back in graduate student Tony Creecy, junior Shadrach Thornton and sophomore Matt Dayes. The trio is one of the most experienced groups on the nation’s youngest team. Thornton is averaging 73.6 yards per game while Dayes is averaging over seven yards per carry and has caught 18 passes in the early part of the season. At 5-11 and 213 pounds, Creecy takes snaps in the Wolfpack’s wildcat formation and handles most of the short yardage situations. Those three have only been stopped three times for negative yards; something the Clemson defense prides itself on.
*YOUNG GUNS: Brissett has no problems spreading the ball around and despite having a few upperclassmen on the offensive side of the ball it has been the younger players – freshmen and sophomores – that have really stepped up. 1,187 of the Pack’s 1,372 (87-percent) receiving yards have come from those young receivers. Bo Hines, the true freshmen is the Wolfpack leading receiver with 24 receptions for 312 yards and a score. Marques Valdes-Scantling a sophomore is third on the team with 15 receptions for 177 yards and a score.
WHY CLEMSON MIGHT WIN
*DESHAUN WATSON: It took two games and four series for the Deshaun Watson era at Clemson to begin but the freshman phenom has done nothing but show that he can handle the pressure of being the Tigers’ starting quarterback. In his first start, Watson threw for six touchdowns – breaking a school record and tying the ACC record for most touchdown passes thrown in a game. Watson has shown the ability to make every throw asked of him and evade pressure while keeping his eyes down field to pick up first downs. Will the Clemson coaches get him more involved in the running game this week? Can he prove that the performance in his first start wasn’t just beginner’s luck?
*DEATH VALLEY: Home field advantage is often times understated by the national media but head coach Dabo Swinney never forgets how important the fans are to his program. Swinney challenged Clemson fans to show up early and be loud this weekend for the N.C. State game. This will the Pack’s first ACC road game and outside of a trip to South Florida, the teams first trip into a hostile environment. With so many young players on the Wolfpack’s roster, the crowd noise could be a factor for State’s offense.
*SPECIAL TEAMS: I haven’t said this many times this year but Clemson’s special teams could be a positive factor in this game. Punter Bradley Pinion is averaging over 44 yards per punt this season and has yet to have a punt go for a touchback and he is consistently putting his kickoffs in the endzone. Ammon Lakip’s struggles are well-documented but he has been clutch at home and is perfect on field goal and extra points in the friendly confines of Death Valley.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Clemson and N.C. State fans are in for a real treat in this year’s Textile Bowl. Two quarterbacks that are starting for their prospective schools for the first time and the big play ability by each teams wide receivers should provide plenty of fireworks for the fans in Death Valley Saturday afternoon. Can Deshaun Watson continue his early success? Can Clemson’s defense put together a four-quarter effort like they did against Florida State and stop Brissett and company?
FINAL SCORE: CLEMSON 42, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 28
Post written by Clemson Girl Sports Bloggess Nikki Steele