Heading into the season as a contender to win a national title, the Clemson Tigers have not heightened that belief that they can win it all by coming out on top in a fierce matchup with Georgia in week one. Coming off a bye week, the Tigers will need to step up their game since ACC play is set to begin.
On the other side of the field, the North Carolina State Wolfpack are 2-0, just as the Tigers are, with wins against lesser opponents. The game against Clemson at home could make N.C. State’s season if successful and anything is possible once the conference season begins — especially with home-field advantage.
Tajh Boyd leads a solid Clemson offense with 439 yards and three touchdowns through two games. The senior quarterback has put himself in discussions for the Heisman after a solid week one win and will further them with an impressive performance in conference play. Sammy Watkins has nearly 150 yards on nine catches and proves to be Boyd’s most dynamic weapon. Roderick McDowell has filled in nicely for Andre Ellington at running back.
North Carolina State has yet to see a passing touchdown this season with Pete Thomas, who has 449 yards and three interceptions through the first two weeks of the season. The junior quarterback has some scrambling ability, but that doesn’t change the fact that this offense needs a lot of work. Averaging about 31.5 points a game against lesser opponents, the Wolfpack need to improve their ability to get into the endzone as only the running backs have been able to do so.
Defensively, the Wolpack allow about 322 yards per game to go along with 17.5 points. The run defense looks to be a strength on this defense with a solid front seven. Clemson allowed over 500 yards to a potent Georgia attack in week one while shutting down a lowly opponent in week two. This will be a good test for the Tigers.
Clemson will travel to North Carolina State to take on the Wolfpack at 7:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, Sept. 19. The game will be aired on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Clemson 38, N.C. State 23