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Clemson vs. N.C. State prediction


  by - Senior Writer - Friday, November 16, 2012 1:07 PM
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Remember back during the hot and dreary days of summer when you would wake up each morning and look at the countdown until college football started, and you felt a little satisfaction when the number of days dropped out of triple digits and under 100 days?

Now, in the blink of an eye, there are just two games left in the regular season, but both games are at home in Death Valley, where the Clemson Tigers have a 12 game winning streak. Enjoy them both, because before you know it, you will be back on the countdown again. Where has the time gone?

This week, the Tigers take on N.C. State, a team that embarrassed Clemson a year ago in Raleigh by a score of 37-13. In a portent of things to come, the defense couldn’t stop the swing passes to the outside or the sweep and the offense couldn’t hold onto the football.

However, this game will be less about revenge and more about keeping the momentum of a 9-1 start and the hopes for major bowl game at the end of the season. It will also be about taking advantage of every opportunity you have to play the game – or cheer the team you love – as the season winds down.

WHAT: No. 9 Clemson vs. N.C. State
WHERE: Memorial Stadium (81,500) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 17 (3:30 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson by 17
TV: ABC/ESPN2 (Reverse Mirror)

N.C. STATE AT CLEMSON

WHEN N.C. STATE HAS THE BALL

The Wolfpack offense starts with trigger man Mike Glennon, who has completed 239-of-417 passes for 2,910 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. Glennon is a true dropback passer who spreads the wealth evenly as receivers Quintin Payton, Bryan Underwood and Tobias Palmer all have over 30 catches this season. Tight ends Mario Carter and Asa Watson each have over 20 receptions, so Clemson’s safeties will have to do a good job this week of not peeking into the backfield too much and losing their man in coverage, because Glennon will burn you. The Tigers will need to get pressure on Glennon, and Clemson has shown signs in recent weeks that the pass rush is coming around and the Wolfpack give up an average of 3.2 sacks per game. Once Glennon gets rattled, he tends to make mistakes and the Tigers would love to get him rattled early and often. On the ground, the Wolfpack rank among the nation’s worst in rushing offense with 116.8 yards per game, which ranks 107th in the country. The two main backs are Shadrach Thornton (93 carries for 426 yards) and Tony Creecy (116 rushes for 434 yards). Clemson’s run defense – like the rest of the unit – has improved in recent weeks, but it will be important for the front seven to control the running game so the defensive backs just have to worry about coverage. If State starts opening up major holes on the ground – something they really haven’t done this season – Clemson’s defense could be in big trouble. This is a tough one to call, because I like the advantage Clemson has in run defense, but Glennon is a big advantage over Clemson’s secondary.

ADVANTAGE - N.C. STATE

WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL

Yes, N.C. State ranks 35th in the nation in rush defense, but that group has given up 100 yards to an opponent running back in four of the last five games, including FSU’s Chris Thompson (25-141), Maryland’s Wes Brown (25-121), UNC’s Gio Bernard (23-135) and Virginia’ Kevin Parks (25-115). Clemson’s Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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looked healthy last week against Maryland and didn’t show any signs of the hamstring injury he suffered the previous week at Duke. Ellington needs 165 yards to get to 1000 on the season, so Saturday’s contest will be crucial for him to get back in the groove for the season’s final stretch. In the passing game, Clemson’s Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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continues to put up eye-popping numbers despite playing barely into the second half of recent games – he is second in the country with a pass efficiency rating of 171.99 and has completed 210-of-309 passes for 2,941 yards with 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Yes, that means that Boyd has attempted 108 less passes than Glennon and has thrown for 31 more yards, with more touchdowns. His favorite target this season has been junior Nuk Hopkins, who will most likely have to face Wolfpack corner David Amerson, who has NFL potential. Amerson plays the field corner spot (wide side of the field), and that is where Hopkins lines up. However, the Wolfpack are just 10th in the ACC in pass defense, giving up 259.2 yards per game through the air. The Wolfpack average three sacks per game, but Clemson’s offensive line has done a decent job of protecting Boyd this season. An interesting stat – N.C. State is third nationally in third down conversion defense (38-for-150, 25.3%), while Clemson is third nationally in third down conversions (83-for-156, 53.2%).


ADVANTAGE - CLEMSON

SPECIAL TEAMS

Former walk-on Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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is 13-for-14 on field goals for the Tigers this season, while the Packs’ Nikilas Slade is 10-of-16. Both Clemson and N.C. State are in the bottom five of the conference in punting (State is 8th with an average of 39.70 while Clemson is a weak 11th with 38.90 yards per punt). State is a little bit better than Clemson in punt returns and kickoff returns and State’s Rashard Smith has taken a punt back for a touchdown already this season. Tobias Palmer also has a kickoff return for State this season, while Clemson has yet to break a long one in either category. All in all, however, neither side has particularly distinguished special teams, other than the advantage that Clemson has with Catanzaro.

ADVANTAGE – EVEN

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

N.C. State will present a challenge for the Tigers, no doubt about it. Most of the Wolfpack players remember the beatdown they gave Clemson in Raleigh last season, and they won’t be intimidated. However, there are some numbers that really stick out to me, the first being that Clemson had won seven in a row in the series before last season. Also, head coach Tom O’Brien’s teams haven’t done well on the road in his tenure at N.C. State, with the win at Maryland earlier this season the only one he has to his credit. In fact, before the win at Maryland, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last time a Pack team won a division road game – they defeated FSU 20-15 in November of that year. I was also surprised to see that Clemson’s defense is now ranked 58th nationally in total defense, while N.C. State’s defense sits 61st, giving up just under 400 yards per game. The wild card is that O’Brien is 8-5 all-time against teams ranked in the top 25. In this one, the Pack keep it interesting early, but Clemson’s offense hasn’t been stopped by anybody this season, and once Glennon is forced to throw the Tigers can send Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS So. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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after him. The onslaught continues, but closer this week.

FINAL SCORE
CLEMSON 45, N.C. STATE 24




GUEST PREDICTIONS


Mickey Plyler - 6-9AM on WCCP 104.9FM EST - 41-27 Clemson

Dan Scott - Charter TV on Wed at 9:00pm EST - 41-24 Clemson

El Swann - TigerNet Talk - 45-21 Clemson

Pigskin Prophet - 48-24 Clemson



PREDICTION TRACKER

GameActualDavid HoodMickey PlylerDan ScottEl SwannPigskin Prophet
Auburn26-19 CU30-23 CU31-17 CU30-21 CU27-14 CU27-12 CU
Ball St52-27 CU47-20 CU44-21 CU52-21 CU49-10 CU48-23 CU
Furman41-7 CU52-17 CU52-17 CU-55-13 CU46-13 CU
FSU49-37 FSU37-31 FSU30-27 FSU31-28 CU31-27 CU34-30 FSU
BC45-31 CU37-23 CU38-23 CU38-21 CU42-17 CU45-33 CU
GT47-31 CU47-30 CU41-31 CU38-35 CU28-27 GT48-31 CU
VT38-17 CU44-31 CU38-20 CU41-27 CU42-30 CU34-24 CU
Wake42-13 CU41-17 CU38-24 CU34-31 CU45-17 CU45-31 CU
Duke56-20 CU48-24 CU41-27 CU49-24 CU52-24 CU52-20 CU
Maryland45-10 CU47-9 CU41-14 CU52-12 CU47-14 CU45-10 CU
Points - 1612111118

* Points: 3 pts for best prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 1pt for picking the correct winner

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