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Clemson Tigers vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack: Preview and Pick
Clemson Tigers vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack: Preview and Pick
The Clemson Tigers are a highly ranked team and have every reason to be excited about the upcoming season. The North Carolina State WolfPack is the next team to stand in their way as they meet on the Thursday night college football game of the week.
Clemson Tigers vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack Odds
The college football odds for this game opened up with the Tigers as (-14) point favorites which comes as no surprise. Clemson is obviously the better team in this matchup and although the Tigers will be on the road this has not stopped this line from moving. The line is up to -14.5 at several top rated online sportsbooks and that push is due to the fact that over 85 percent of the betting public is on Clemson.
Tajh Boyd the athletic Clemson quarterback is the player to watch in this game as he continues his Heisman campaign. Boyd is a multi-talented passer and runner that have everything that a team could ask for in a quarterback. The Wolfpack know that he will be their target.
Senior cornerback Dontae Johnson said the Wolfpack is focused on this shot at the Tigers, now No. 3 in the country at Carter-Finley Stadium in front of a national television audience. The home crowd will help but the Wolfpack will have to get out to a quick start. First-year coach Dave Doeren has led the Pack off to a 2-0 start to the season but they needed a comeback against the Richmond Spiders in the last outing. They may have been looking ahead to this big battle with Clemson.
The latest college football betting trends have good angles for both teams. The Tigers are 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last 4 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games against a team with a winning home record.
The Wolfpack are 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 home games against a team with a winning road record, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a bye week.
Clemson Tigers vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack Pick
With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.
After opening their season with a huge win over the Georgia Bulldogs, the Clemson Tigers are in great position to compete for a national championship, as they currently rank third in the polls. But while games later in the season against the Florida State Seminoles and South Carolina Gamecocks appear to be the only true tests remaining on their schedule, the Tigers can’t overlook Thursday’s game with the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Last year, Florida State was in a similar position to the one Clemson is in now, with a legitimate chance to compete for a national title, but they were derailed by a road game against N.C. State. The Seminoles took N.C. State lightly and it cost them, and Clemson needs to be wary of doing the same this season. Dabo Swinney has done a lot to get the program to this point, and they can’t let that opportunity slip away against an opponent they should beat.
The Wolfpack haven’t been impressive this season, beating Richmond by just two points in their last game, but they’ll be ready to host a top-5 team. Moreover, N.C. State beat Clemson 37-13 the last time the Tigers visited Carter-Finley Stadium, and the players still around will remember that victory and be inspired to replicate it. After a close call against Richmond with a big-name opponent coming to town, the Wolfpack should be focused to play Clemson, especially with a few extra days to prepare for the Tigers.
The key to the game will be N.C. State quarterback Pete Thomas, who has had time to settle in after taking over for the injured Brandon Mitchell in the season opener. Thomas is an accurate thrower, and if he can avoid turnovers, he has the receivers and running backs around him that can move the ball down the field and keep Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense off the field.
Like any other potential upset, the Wolfpack will need to keep the game close for as long as possible in order to keep their crowd in the game. N.C. State will also have to keep the Tigers from making big plays that can swing momentum. If the Wolfpack can do that, Clemson will be in for a much bigger fight than they’d like.
N.C. State doesn’t seem like the best candidate to upset the Tigers, but the Wolfpack have pulled off upsets in the past while the Tigers have lost games they should have won in the past. With the extra preparation and a great home-field advantage, they have a real chance to surprise Clemson, and the Tigers should view them as a threat to spoil such a promising season
Clemson began the season with an impressive win over a top 5 team, had no issues dispatching an FCS opponent a week later and now is hoping a little rest didn't slow its high-octane offense heading into its ACC opener.
Considering what happened the last time the third-ranked Tigers faced North Carolina State, that shouldn't be a problem.
Tajh Boyd set a conference record with eight total touchdowns in a wild offensive showcase when he faced the Wolfpack 10 months ago, a dazzling display new N.C. State coach Dave Doeren doesn't want to see again Thursday night in Raleigh.
Boyd totaled 312 yards of offense and five TDs in Clemson's 38-35 win over then-No. 5 Georgia on Aug. 31, then was only needed for a half in a 52-13 rout of South Carolina State on Sept. 7.
The Heisman hype for the senior quarterback may have kicked up after his performance against the Bulldogs, but it was set up in the second half of last season. Boyd threw five touchdowns passes three times in four weeks, including his video game-like numbers against N.C. State on Nov. 17.
All of those TD passes came after Clemson (2-0) trailed 24-13 in the second quarter. Boyd helped the Tigers rattle off the next 42 points, finishing with 426 passing yards while totaling a career-high 103 yards and three scores on the ground in a 62-48 victory.
Clemson had 10 plays of 20 or more yards in the final three quarters, something Doeren - who was in the midst of leading Northern Illinois to its second straight MAC title at the time - is set on preventing.
"First thing you've got to do is not give up big plays," Doeren said. "You have to contend routes and tackle well in space. We've got to shed blocks and get more people to the ball. But they are going to make plays. ... To win the football game, they can't be explosive plays that lead to points."
From Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's standpoint, there are areas of concern even against a team his offense torched for 754 yards - two off a school record - when they last met. Boyd threw two interceptions without a touchdown and the Tigers were held to 34 yards on 28 rushing attempts when they last visited Raleigh in a 37-13 loss Nov. 19, 2011.
The last time the No. 3 team in the nation played at Carter-Finley Stadium also went poorly for the visitor. N.C. State (2-0) pulled a 17-16 upset of Florida State on Oct. 6 after trailing by 13 after three quarters.
"It's a very difficult place to play," Swinney said. "Our last experience up there was not good. We played one of our worst games of the year that year, and we won the league. It was a very disappointing night.
Two of Clemson's four turnovers came inside its own 20.
"That's a recipe for disaster," Swinney said.
The Tigers are hoping they don't have to say the same about the loss of one of their biggest weapons. Junior wide receiver Charone Peake, the starter opposite All-American Sammy Watkins, suffered a torn ACL in a non-contact drill in practice during Clemson's bye week.
Junior Adam Humphries will start in Peake's place.
"This is a big loss. Charone was having a great year and was going to have a great year," Swinney said.
N.C. State put up 597 yards of total offense last season at Clemson, but 493 came through the air from Mike Glennon - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' third-round pick.
The Wolfpack's less-experienced 2013 offense is much more of a work in progress. Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas has thrown three picks without a touchdown in his first two starts, and N.C. State's leading rusher (Matt Dayes) and receiver (Marquez Valdes-Scantling) are both true freshmen.
Doeren's team overcame four turnovers to beat FCS program Richmond 23-21 on Sept. 7 after trailing by double digits.
"Coach always preaches you have to be able to handle adversity," Thomas said. "It's not what happens to you, it is how you come back. I feel like our team handled adversity very well."
Boyd didn't handle hostile atmospheres well in his first full season as a starter, going 2-3 on the road with seven touchdowns and seven INTs while averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt in 2011.
Last season was a different story. Boyd threw for 16 TDs with five picks while going 3-1 on the road, picking up 10.2 yards per throw while posting a 184.7 passer rating - both the best in the nation.