No article last week since it was Wofford. I’m sure everyone understands why. But, I’m back in the saddle as Clemson makes the trip to the North Carolina Capital City to battle North Carolina State in the annual Textile Bowl! Before I go all football nerd on you, allow me to say something about the first Playoff Committee Poll. The Committee doesn’t respect the ACC and clearly sees Clemson as the best of a sorry lot. Personally, I think the ACC is beating itself up because there are some pretty good teams who are finding ways to win games they shouldn’t and lose games they shouldn’t. Also, there is a respect for Alabama that isn’t deserved. If you strictly go by the criteria, Alabama should be no higher than 4th. In the end, this will shack itself out. A lot of Clemson fans feel disrespected and rightfully so. I’m pissed. On the other hand, this Committee did us a huge favor. Clemson used the disrespect card all the way to a National Title last year. Back on the ROY bus for another season I reckon and you KNOW Dabo is going to use this to motivate the Tigers. I could write an entire article on what the Playoff Committee did (and will if folks let me know if they want me to). But, enough of that garbage…onto this week!
Have you ever heard the old saying “if you have two or more quarterbacks then you have none”? Well, that applies to the 2019 NC State Wolfpack. It’s hard to fathom considering the plethora of talented signal callers the Pack have had over the years. Clemson has played multiple QBs for experience. State is doing QB musical chairs to find the answer. Matthew McKay, Bailey Hockman, Thayer Thomas and Devin Leary have all had a turn. All four of them show promise at times but the Pack will continue to struggle until one of them grabs the job by the horns. This week, State will go with Redshirt Freshman Devin Leary. Leary hasn’t completed half of his passes throwing 4 TD passes and 2 picks through 4 games. Thus, NC State will ride the back of RB Zonavan Knight who is averaging 4.7 yards a rush. What have I said all season? If Clemson can make someone one dimensional, it’s lights out. The Pack will be one dimensional before the coin toss for crying out loud. The 3rd down stats are all you need to know. The Pack rank 107th nationally converting 3rd downs at 35%. Add to that, Clemson ranks 6th nationally in allowing 3rd down conversions at 28%. By comparison, the Tiger offense is 29th nationally converting at a 45% clip. What’s scary is the young Tiger D CONTINUES to get better with each passing week. Advantage Clemson…big time!
Remember when talking heads were wondering what is wrong with Trevor Lawrence? Folks, he hasn’t thrown a pick since the 2nd quarter of the Louisville game. Funny how Trevor is nowhere to be found on any Heisman list. Another name that is nowhere to be found is Travis Etienne. He has been a beast since the UNC game. Two weeks ago, the Pack were regarded as one of the best run defenses in the country. Then Boston College ran over them, then backed up and ran over them some more pilling up over 400 yards rushing. Last week, State did better but not enough to get Wake Forest off the field. To be fair, the biggest problem the Pack defense has is the State offense. They continue to get put on a short field and we all know field position is a huge key in any football game. It’s a night game up at Carter Finley Stadium so you know the place will be packed (see what I did there?). Conventional wisdom says come out and run the ball to take the crowd out of it. I expect Clemson to run a lot of play action and take deep shots THEN begin to pound the rock. Advantage Clemson.
I realize these past two paragraphs have State fans about ready to jump off a bridge so allow me to give you something to be happy about…the Pack special teams unit is really good! Placekicker Chris Dunn has made all of his PATs and is 15-18 on field goals with a long of 43. Not to be outdone, Punter Trenton Gill is averaging 47.1 yards per kick with a long of 62. Add to that, he has forced 10 fair catches and has dropped 11 punts inside the 20. I’ll say it again, I am worried about our place kicking. Will Spiers has eased my pain in the punting department but I’m tellin ya, if B.T. can’t lock it down a late miss is going to cost the Tigers. Advantage NC State.
I feel bad for NC State…I really do. They don’t have a Quarterback, their defense has been exposed and they’re about to welcome a Clemson team who’s madder than a dog pooping tacks. Apparently, style points do count to the Playoff Committee so don’t expect Dabo to call off the dogs (or Tigers if you will) as early as usual. The Tigers have won 7 straight over the Pack and 14 of the last 15. Vegas has zero sympathy for NC State considering the line is 32 (yes, really) with the UNDER at 53.5. Let those numbers roll in your dome for a minute. I like the line but I don’t agree with the UNDER. Clemson rolls into Raleigh and treats the Pack like a bunch of rented mules 51-13.