SHOT #1: Limit the big plays by the Clemson offense
Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei leads all Power 5 conference QBs with 16 completions of 20+ yards this year. RB Will Shipley has been incredible this year, already breaking off 11 runs of 10+ yards. That is a lot of explosive plays through only four games. Limiting those chunk plays will be key to the Pack’s chances of pulling out the victory on the road.
Of course, those big plays only happen if the offensive line is giving Uiagalelei time to work and Shipley room to run. Getting to Uiagalelei will not allow for those downfield plays to develop, while getting into the run lanes and forcing Shipley to run through contact will obviously limit his chances at hitting double-digit yards on any given carry.
SHOT #2: Be efficient on offense
Since Brent Venables really got the Clemson defense machine rolling in 2014, the Tigers have suffocated opponent after opponent. Sure, big plays are allowed here and there, but formulating a gameplan relying on the big play as a way to take down Clemson is basically a fool’s errand. Sure, Venables may have moved on this year, but that defense is still his through and through with new defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin a Venables disciple.
For the Wolfpack offense to find success Saturday night, they’re going to need to put forth an efficient effort, consistently moving the ball by attacking all levels of the defense and sides of the field. In last year’s Wolfpack win, the State offense really struggled to consistently move the ball until late in the game. This year’s Clemson offense is much better than last year’s, so State’s offense will need to pull their weight throughout the game.
An even run/pass split is probably not to be expected given how stout the Clemson defensive line is, but if the passing game can find success and churn out positive plays on the regular - even if they’re not necessarily chunk plays - while the running game can pick their spots well, that will give the Pack a great shot at putting points on the board.
SHOT #3: Twelve 33 Restitution Rye
It’s amazing that it has taken until game #5 to get to a whiskey, but like the Pack on the field, I’m just playing the opponents on the schedule here. Finally, though, we’re getting to the good stuff.
For this week, we’ll head to the state along our southern border and taste some of South Carolina’s finest. While, true, I could have chosen a distillery up closer to the Clemson area, I figured I’d choose one that’s actually in an area of the state you’re more likely to visit.
Twelve 33 Distillery, named for the date (December 1933) when the 21st Amendment was signed to repeal prohibition in the US, is located in North Myrtle Beach along Highway 17 just before you get to Cherry Grove. South Carolina has - at least until recently - some very archaic laws around the production of alcoholic beverages, so the naming of the distillery is apt for the seemingly forever long uphill battle of the state’s breweries and distilleries, but I digress.
For me, Restitution Rye is the best offering from Twelve 33. I’m actually having a glass right now while writing this. It’s a smooth whiskey with a solid flavor that’s not over-the-top. I prefer it neat, or poured over a single ice cube.
So have yourself a shot, enjoy the game, and GO PACK!