Two teams ranked inside of the Top 10, that don’t much care for one another. It doesn’t get much better than that.
These two teams have been playing one another for a long time and as hard as it is to believe this will be the first time they have met with both ranked inside of the Top 10. In fact, it’s the Wolfpack’s first ever Top 10 matchup.
NC State comes in looking to beat Clemson in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-03. The last time the Wolfpack actually won in Death Valley? That 2003 season.
Add in that the two head coaches don’t seem to care for one another all that much, and you have all kinds of storylines worth following. However, at the end of the day, this is still a football game and the team that plays best will win.
Clemson’s offense proved last week that it is more than capable of carrying the defense when it’s having a bad day. Having said that, don’t expect a repeat performance of what we saw last week in Winston-Salem. There’s just too much talent on that side of the ball for those kind of struggles to continue.
Make no mistake, this NC State team is very good, and they’re very experienced. The front seven of that defense is extremely disciplined and they are very stout when it comes to defending the run. This might be the best group of linebackers in the ACC.
The Tigers are going to need to make some plays in the passing game. The receivers are going to have to play to the level we saw against Wake Forest and the tight ends need to remain a big factor.
The Pack have been prone to giving up a lot of passing yards, and against inferior competition. East Carolina threw for 267 yards and Texas Tech passed for 299 yards.
DJ Uiagalelei has been extremely good with his decision making. He’s thrown just one interception this season and that will need to continue as the Wolfpack lead the ACC with seven interceptions.
Although, this game will be decided in the trenches. Clemson’s offensive line takes another step forward this week. While there likely won’t be much there in the running game, the group will give Uiagalelei the time needed to make some plays through the air.
Let’s be honest, here. Big game environment, playing at home in front of a raucous crowd and with ESPN’s College GameDay in town, the Tigers are at their best in these type of situations, and that trend will continue on Saturday.
Clemson 27 NC State 21
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