Since 2011, Clemson is 4-1 over NC State and has won those games by an average margin of 20.5 points per game. Clemson’s last loss to N.C State came in 2011 by a a score of 37-13.
The Wolfpack is averaging 34 points per game and has a very balanced offensive attack that should feel confident entering this game after their 10-3 home win over Notre Dame last week. On the season, the offense is averaging 197 rushing yards per game and is passing for 245 yards through the air.
Quarterback Ryan Finley (transfer from Boise State) has looked very comfortable in the system and has not thrown an interception this season. Entering this game, Finley has completed 69% of his passes for 1,041 yards with 9 touchdowns and no interceptions. Finley has had great pocket presence and has made solid decisions in his reads in the passing game. He will need to be patient this weekend against an attacking defense that will look to bring pressure off of the edge.
Running back Matt Dayes leads the team with 563 rushing yards averaging 5.7 yards per carry with 3 touchdowns. Dayes is tough inside runner that has deceptive speed and has the ability to put pressure on Clemson’s defense this coming weekend.
Tight end Jaylen Samuels could be the X-Factor for the game this weekend. Samuels is a dual threat player that is utilized on fly sweeps on the perimeter. On the year, Samuels has rushed for 102 yards with 3 touchdowns. He has caught 21 passes for 191 yards with 4 touchdowns and can be used on seam routes against the Clemson secondary.
Wide receiver Stephen Louis leads the team with 328 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Wolfpack is allowing 17 points per game and has been very good in run support giving up 91 yards per game to opposing offenses. N.C State is very good at playing man to man coverage and is giving up 188 passing yards per game.
The Wolfpack must get pressure on Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson on Saturday to force him into quick throws underneath coverage. The unit is doing an excellent job of forcing three and outs for opposing offenses. The Wolfpack are holding opponents to 28% conversions on their third down attempts. N.C State must force Clemson to work down the field on ball control drives and cannot give up big plays over the top of their secondary.
N.C State has recorded 16 sacks through the first five games and is +2 in turnover margin.
The Tigers are starting to hit stride after back to back wins against Louisville and Boston College. Clemson has recorded back to back 500 total yards performances and two straight games with 200 rushing yards.
The offense is averaging 38 points per game and is rushing for 178 yards per game along with passing for 292 yards per game through the air. The offensive line is doing an excellent job of protecting quarterback DeSahun Watson and has allowed only 5 sacks through the first six games.
Watson has completed 60% of his passes for 1,572 yards with 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Watson has not been as lethal running the football and has rushed for 244 yards on the ground with no rushing touchdowns. In comparison to last year, Watson rushed for 1,104 yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry with 12 rushing touchdowns. This year, Watson is averaging 4.1 yards per rushing attempt.
Running back Wayne Gallman leads the team with 575 rushing yards with 5 touchdowns.
The strength of the offense is the wide receiver corps. Mike Williams, Ray-Ray McCloud and Deon Cain have combined for 66 receptions for 960 yards and 11 touchdowns. This group has been lethal in red zone opportunities and is not afraid to work over the middle of the field.
Defensively, the Tigers defense is starting to get stronger each and every week. Entering this game, the defense is allowing 15 points per game and is giving up 133 rushing yards to opposing offenses.
The secondary is playing very well and will be challenged this weekend by Ryan Finley. The Tigers are giving up 149 passing yards per game and have recorded 9 interceptions through the first six games.
Clemson has recorded 21 sacks on the season and is +2 in turnover margin. More importantly, has been the Tigers to hold opponents on third downs. Clemson is holding opposing offenses to 26% on their attempts.
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