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NC State vs Clemson in 1-2-3

What I’m thinking about with this game

Clemson v NC State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

One Thing I’m Worried About

  1. Clemson’s multi-faceted defense disrupting the entire NC State offense. It’s no secret that the Wolfpack offensive line has struggled this year, with the issues of that group being the primary contributor to an overall lackluster offense. Couple with that a Clemson defense that ranks 11th in Havoc Rate - including 10th in DB Havoc Rate - and the potential is there for the State offense to struggle to move the ball yet again. Against a defense that likes to bring pressure from the secondary, Wolfpack QB M.J. Morris will need to identify those blitz packages and adjust to take advantage against favorable coverage. That’s a difficult ask of a QB light on experience versus a talented and productive defense.

Two Things I’m Confident In

  1. NC State’s DL vs Clemson’s OL. This has nothing to do with Clemson’s OL, which is itself a solid group, but everything to do with NC State’s defensive line. The Wolfpack defense ranks 14th nationally in Power Success Rate and 11th in Stuff Rate, signifying the ability of that group up front to own the line of scrimmage. State has had issues allowing big plays this year, but line play has not been an issue.
  2. If it comes down to a battle of kickers, NC State has the advantage. Phew, Clemson is going through it in the kicking game this year. My sympathy is non-existent for them because, you know, 2016 and all, but the Tigers have alternated between redshirt-freshman Robert Gunn III and senior Jonathan Weitz, a dude who wasn’t even on the team when the season started. Combined, those two guys are 6-of-12 on field goals on the year with each having missed a kick from inside of 30 yards, and they are together just 1-of-4 on kicks beyond 40 yards. NC State has Brayden Narveson’s viking leg cannon.

Three Stats You Should Know

  1. For all the talk about Clemson’s offense not performing to expectations, that unit ranks 21st in the country in non-garbage-time Success Rate.
  2. This is bound to be a slog of a game as neither offense is great at creating explosive plays (Clemson ranks 117th, NC State 123rd). Clemson’s defense ranks 39th in allowing explosive plays, but NC State’s ranks 104th.
  3. Clemson hasn’t finished with 4 conference losses since 2010, Dabo’s second full season at the helm of the program. The Tigers haven’t finished with a losing ACC record since 1998, Tommy West’s last year with the program.