Written by Garin Turner
After a bye week for both teams the 18th ranked NC State Wolfpack (5-0, 2-0 ACC) travel to South Carolina to take on the 3rd ranked Clemson Tigers (6-0, 3-0 ACC) 3:30 PM EST on ESPN. This is the 87th meeting between the two teams with Clemson having a 57-28-1 lead on the Wolfpack. Clemson has won the last six between the two teams.
For the Tigers, this game will mark the fourth consecutive season where they enter its seventh game 6-0. Clemson is also 10-2 after bye weeks. This could pose to be the Tigers toughest challenge of the year so far. NC State is the first ranked team Clemson has played since last year’s Sugar Bowl against Alabama who were ranked fourth at the time.
Both teams have had little problems scoring on their opposition. Clemson is averaging 42.2 points a game while NC State is at 33 points a game. Both defenses will have their work cut out for them in this game. Clemson is only allowing 14.5 points a game and NC State is at 16.8 a game allowed.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence now has the reins to the team after former starter Kelly Bryant transferred before the fourth game of the season. He’s answered the call thus far throwing for 868 yards while completing 69/100 attempts and 11 touchdowns versus two interceptions.
A huge help to the development of Lawrence is a strong running game for the Tigers. Travis Etienne is having a big year with 83 carries for 761 yards and 11 touchdowns. In years past, the quarterback was a huge part of the running game, but Etienne has stepped up this season.
If the Wolfpack want to change their fortunes against the Tigers, they’ll have to find a way to stop the pass rush. Ryan Finley is the quarterback for the Wolfpack and will look to stay upright for most of the game. Finley has 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions and 1,621 yards on 130/187 attempts.
Running back Reggie Gallaspy II will look to add to his seven touchdowns on the ground this year. He’s also carried the ball 89 times for 324 yards. Whoever wins this game has a chance to run the table as neither at this point plays another ranked team for the rest of the year.