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Pack Participation Report: Clemson edition

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There was participation. I promise.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Clemson at NC State Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NC State and Clemson played a football game on Saturday and what transpired on the field was not pretty to watch. My body was so repulsed by it, that it physically rebelled against me for exposing it to such a gross display, and it took me days to recover.

Translation: I was sick the first half of this week and didn’t have the energy to get a full report together. This report has the snap counts and a few interesting things I noticed while scanning through through those numbers and the box score.

OFFENSE

  • Devin Leary was 14-29 (48%) passing for 166 yards and a couple of fumbles. His numbers this season are bad - there is no denying that - yet he still looks like the best QB option available right now. Hopefully, he takes a step forward against Louisville and completes more than half of his passes for the first time since becoming the starter.
  • Bam Knight had a career high 139 yards rushing against the Tigers, including a 53-yard TD run that tied him with Matt McKay for the team lead in rushing TDs (4). It is really exciting to think about what he can do whenever he is really healthy again.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jordan Houston had -15 yards rushing on 7 attempts. It felt like the kind of game where rushing a smaller back was not going to be effective. He needed the ball in space. The Pack managed to do that once and he gained 19 yards on that one catch.
  • Trent Pennix only played 8 snaps so I’m guessing he’s not 100% healthy.
  • Thayer Thomas only played 6 snaps. Has there been any announcement about his status?
  • With LG Joe Sculthorpe suspended, true freshman Dylan McMahon started the game and played all 63 offensive snaps after having not played since ACC play began. This puts him at 4 games played so if he plays anymore, he’ll no longer be eligible to redshirt.
  • Emmanuel McGirt played a season-low 13 snaps while rotating with Speas at RT.

DEFENSE

  • Jarius Morehead was the leading tackler this week with 8
  • With Acceus and Moore out with injures, NC State started three Fr/R-Fr LBs - Payton Wilson, Drake Thomas, and C.J. Hart. Unfortunately, Wilson left the game with a shoulder injury, but the other two played well. C.J. Hart had 7 tackles including 1.5 TFLs and Drake Thomas had 6 tackles including 1 TFL.
  • By the end of the game, NC State had three Fr/R-Fr LBs playing who had never played a non-special teams snap in their careers - true freshman Jaylon Scott, redshirt freshman Seth Williams who was a walk-on but earned his scholarship right before the season started, and redshirt freshman walk-on Alex Gray. In Gray’s 20 snaps, he had 4 tackles including one of the body slam variety.
  • Xavier Lyas, a Participation Report all-star for his gaudy numbers on limited snaps, missed the game with injury and entered the transfer portal the next day.
  • Redshirt freshman DE Joseph Boletepeli was a significant part of the defensive line rotation early in the season, but has seen his time on the field drop considerably in conference play. He has only played in one of the last four games.
  • CB situation: Senior captain Nick McCloud was finally back (yay!) but De’Von Graves, who has probably been the team’s best CB the previous couple of weeks after moving over from safety, left the game injured (boo!). The body count at CB for the year is just ridiculous.

SPECIAL TEAMS

I just wanted to give a shout out to the special teams stars this week since they’ve been a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season.

  • Sophomore Chris Dunn is now 16-19 (84.2%) on field goals this season. His three misses are all from beyond 40 yards and two of those were from beyond 50 yards.
  • Redshirt sophomore Trenton Gill has been great this year. He has been good on kickoffs with over half of his kicks ending in a touchback. Also, against Clemson, he averaged 52.2 yards per punt - including a 75 yarder - on 5 punts. Wait. State only punted 5 times?? Oh right, 4 fumbles lost.
  • Joe Shimko’s name is almost never mentioned. That means the true freshman long snapper is doing his job well.