Clemson played NC State at NC State on a Thursday night this year. A game that has proven deadly for top 10 temas the past 2 years. NC State knocked off #3 FSU last year and knocked off Clemson two years ago. That was not the case this year. After a shaky start Clemson's talent proved to much for a upset minded NC State.
Taj Boyd finished the night 24/37 for 244 yards 3 TD's 0 INT's. Boyd rushed 13 times for 38 yards 0 TD's. Overall Boyd played well enough to not lose this game but did not look like a Heisman Trophy canidate in this game. NC State was able to generate pressure on passing downs and make sack Boyd several times.
Clemson's overall run attack finished with 40 carries for 171 yards, an average of 4.3 yards per carry.
Roderick McDowell finished the night with 14 rushes for 68 yards. If you take away his longest run of the night of 30 yards he only managed to generate 2.93 yards per carry on his other 13 rushes. NC State was able to make several tackles for a loss in this game and Clemson's rushing attack never was able to get going.
D.J. Howard was able to gain 45 yards on 7 rushes for an average of 6.4 yards per carry with a long of 20 yards.
Clemson is still looking for a #2 reciever to compliment Sammy Watkins. Watkins had a good night with 10 catches for 96 yards. Martavis Bryant finished the night with 6 catches for 73 yards and 2 TD's.
Clemson struggled to move the ball in the first half. There offensive line was not giving Boyd time to throw the ball, and the rushing attack did not appear to be helping Boyd. Overall the offence finished with 77 plays run for 415 yards for 5.39 yards a play. The did not turn the ball over and gained 22 first downs. They finished with 244 passing yards and 171 rushing yards. I missed the third quarter of the game since I had to be at work.
Clemson was able to generate 2 turnovers. They allowed 378 yards on 73 plays for 5.18 yards a play. Clemson lost sight of the TE on one play allowing for a big gain, and the running back was able to slip out of the back field for a big gain on a pitch and catch. NC State had several penalties that killed a few of their drives by putting them into obvious passing downs. Clemson was able to lock up the secondary on a few plays but lost contain on the QB allowing him to scramble for 30 yards on 14 rushes. Clemson gave up several big passes on the night allowing passes of 33, 28, and 32 yards. Overall their is still questions about this defense.
Clemson did what FSU did not do last year they went into Raleigh and beat NC State. They did what they had to do to get a win. It was not pretty but it was still a win. NC State does not have the talent that FSU does on offense, and our defense though untested has more talent top to bottom. I think that NC State's defense does not have the athletes that FSU has on defense. I think that FSU's secondary will have the ability to shut down Clemson's recievers not named Sammy Watkins.
Clemson has been beat by big plays against UGA, and NC State. FSU has the ability to run the ball, and pound it inside with Freeman, Wilder, Green, and now Williams. They have a homerun threat that NC State was missing and can make Clemson have to respect the run, and live off of play action and get the ball into the recievers hands and let them make plays. Winston has yet to show much of a running game. Which I believe is by choice. FSU has the ability to run a very base offense up until the Clemson game, and give them new looks that is not yet on film.
FSU's defense will for all intents will still be untested against a top offense before the Clemson game. The talent is there to lock down recievers, and stop a running game. The secondary will have to make plays and force some turnovers. We need to come out fast and strong and stop the run game that way the play action is not going to be a factor in the game. If FSU can play sound defense, not give up the big play, and pressure Taj Boyd, then I like FSU's chances. Boyd showed that he still gets rattled in the pocket when things are not going his way. The pressure has to get there early and often to rattle him in the pocket. Boyd threw what would have likely been a pick 6 had there not been a timeout called on the field before the snap.
I said all of that to say this, Clemson did what it had to do to get the win. They still have not found a solid #2 recieving, and they are not unbeatable. This is still a team that is coached by Dabo, and they still give up plays. If Winston can come in and make plays, and the defense can not give up the big play FSU wins. Go Noles!!