Topic: On This Date: 1996 Clemson - 40 NC State- 17
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On This Date: 1996 Clemson - 40 NC State- 17

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Posted: Nov 16, 2020, 3:09 PM

Clemson Valley, SC

Tigers Beat 'Pack, Win 5th Straight

CLEMSON, S.C. - Tommy West had patiently refrained himself for too long.

But in the moments following Clemson's 40-17 victory over North Carolina State at Death Valley on Saturday, the head Tiger finally mumbled the words that seemed so improbable two months ago.

"Who would have ever thought that at one point in time this team would be going to a bowl game .°.°. and that's the first time I've said that word," West said. "I wouldn't say it when I talked to them (Friday) night, and we're real excited for this team. We grew up a little bit here at the end."

Yes, the Tigers, who were 2-3 seven weeks ago, are headed to a bowl after they won their fifth straight game and improved to 7-3 and 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

It was their sixth victory against Division I competition and means they will most likely end up in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 28, no matter the outcome of next Saturday's season-ending game with rival South Carolina.

"I don't care where we're going, I'm just glad we're going," receiver Kenya Crooks said. "This is sweeter than last year. I knew that when we got things together, we'd start rolling."

Said West, "I like where I'm sitting with South Carolina coming in here. I'm glad we're secure."

The Tigers, who are perhaps used to such late-season heroics after winning their final five games of 1995 to reach the Gator Bowl, were unemotional, almost stoic afterward.

It was if they expected the outcome and another bowl trip, despite their well-documented early troubles, on and off the field.

"We knew that if we just kept the faith in one another, we'd get the job done," quarterback Nealon Greene said. "We knew what was at stake. We knew what was written about us early in the year saying there were a bunch of cons playing up here. We knew we could get things together if we just kept believing."

It also helped that North Carolina State (2-7, 2-6) turned the ball over four times, twice on punt returns, and managed only 77 yards rushing against Clemson's ever-maturing defense, which also recorded three sacks and has 19 in the past three games.

"I think that those turnovers were the difference in the football game," N.C. State coach Mike O'Cain said. "We gave them points and they moved the football to put points on the board and put the ball in the end zone."

The Tigers were able to turn three second-half fumbles into 21 points and transform a 10-9 third-quarter lead into a blowout. Clemson's 20-point fourth quarter was the team's biggest quarter of the season.

"We never got down inside. Not ever," Clemson cornerback Dexter McCleon said. "We didn't pay attention to all that stuff that was going on and knew that the only thing to make it better was to keep winning and make it to a bowl. That's what we kept our eyes on. We kept them on that bowl game."

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Best Is The Standard

I remember the good ole days

Posted: Nov 16, 2020, 3:32 PM

when I was happy when we became bowl eligible

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Cat on a tin roof, dogs in a pile,
Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile!!!!

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