Clemson vs NC State prediction
|2010-11-05 12:28:25.0- -||
CLEMSON – All sports predictions are just a guess. Some more educated than others, but still, just a guess.
CLEMSON 56, PRESBYTERIAN 6 - CLEMSON 58, PRESBYTERIAN 21 CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10 - CLEMSON 35, NORTH TEXAS 10 CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 24 - CLEMSON 24, AUBURN 27 CLEMSON 27, MIAMI 23 - CLEMSON 21, MIAMI 30 CLEMSON 23, NORTH CAROLINA 26 - CLEMSON 15 NORTH CAROLINA 21 CLEMSON 28, MARYLAND 13 - CLEMSON 31 MARYLAND 7 CLEMSON 24, GEORGIA TECH 20 - CLEMSON 24 GEORGIA TECH 13 CLEMSON 31, BOSTON COLLEGE 13- CLEMSON 10 BOSTON COLLEGE 16
Trying to figure out what this year’s Clemson team is going to do is like throwing darts in the dark. The chances of success just aren’t very good. Even Las Vegas has gotten it wrong at times.
This week, the Tigers entertain N.C. State in yet another noon kickoff in Death Valley, and while they remain mathematically alive in the ACC Championship race, this team really just needs to concentrate on getting one win and making a surge towards a bowl game. Win, and everything else will take care of itself.
The Wolfpack enter the contest ranked 23rd in the AP poll and 25th in the USA Today poll, but the Tigers have won six consecutive games in the series. That streak is the longest the Tigers currently have over any ACC foe, and their 50 wins over the Wolfpack are the third-most all-time against an opponent [Clemson has 65 wins over South Carolina and 57 over Wake Forest].
Eight of the last 13 games have been decided by eight points or less, and this one has the makings of another close one. The Wolfpack are chasing an Atlantic Division title, and know they can’t afford to slip up against the Tigers. Their final three are against Wake Forest, North Carolina and Maryland - a very winnable slate.
North Carolina State at Clemson
When N.C. State Has the Ball
Everybody knows that the State offense begins and ends with quarterback Russell Wilson. He has guided the Wolfies to 35 points per game, and they are averaging a shade less than 300 yards per game through the air. He has a solid group of receivers, led by Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams, and Mustafa Greene leads a solid if not spectacular ground attack. Two chinks in the armor might help Clemson – Wilson has thrown 10 interceptions in his last five games, and he has been sacked 20 times this season. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible might try and soften up the Clemson defense with Greene early, but this offense is built around the arm of Wilson. If he has time to sit in the pocket and make throws, it could be a long day. And while getting pressure on Wilson is a good thing, he also has the ability to make plays with his feet, as evidenced by his three rushing TDs against the Seminoles last week. The key for Clemson is to get him on the ground early with pressure from Da’Quan Bowers and Andre Branch and company, and force him into risky throws. ADVANTAGE – N.C. STATE
When Clemson Has the Ball
Jamie Harper came to Clemson as the No. 3-rated running back in the nation out of high school in 2008, but obviously had to wait his turn behind James Davis and C.J. Spiller. This season, he was deemed a co-starter at the end of fall camp, but fell behind Andre Ellington on the depth chart after Ellington’s electric start. However, Ellington is out against the Wolfpack, and for the first time in his Clemson career, Harper gets to carry the load. N.C. State is ranked 60th in the nation against the run, but their vulnerability seems to be on the edge. Harper had 86 yards rushing in Raleigh last season, including a 69-yard touchdown run, but that was only on four carries. The real key for Clemson on the ground could be the running of quarterback Kyle Parker. Or his lack of running. He had chances to run last week against Boston College as the Eagles dropped eight men into coverage, but he failed to take advantage of those chances. He also threw two interceptions, prompting Clemson coaches to say this week that backup quarterback Tajh Boyd should see playing time. How much Boyd plays will obviously depend on the score and Parker’s effectiveness, but it’s definitely worth watching. The good news for Clemson – which has averaged just 22 points per game over the last six games - is that N.C. State is either in the middle of the pack or near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories. ADVANTAGE – EVEN
Clemson’s special teams have turned into a mixed bag. The coverage teams have been very solid, punter Dawson Zimmerman is having a breakout season, and Marcus Gilchrist is 20th nationally in punt returns. However, the Tigers have no player that even registers nationally in kickoff returns, and the kicking situation is in flux. Freshman Chandler Catanzaro struggled, missing two field goals last week, and senior Richard Jackson has been reinstated as the starter. N.C. State doesn’t have a real game-breaker in the return game. State kicker Josh Czajkowski is 12-for-15 on field goals. ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON
N.C. State head coach Tom O’Brien has a 2-3 record against Clemson, while Dabo Swinney is 2-0. O’Brien has two experienced coordinators in Bible and defensive coordinator Mike Archer. He also has the Wolfpack primed to make a run at the Atlantic Division title. Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier has come under fire due to the recent stagnation of the Tiger offense, while defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is finally getting his unit tuned in. ADVANTAGE –N.C. STATE
Both teams have a lot to play for in this one. The teams appear to be even in many categories, and this one could come down to turnovers and field position. Clemson’s starting field position this season – taking out the first two games of the season – has been just shy of their own 29-yard line. In fact, in the last six games, the Tigers have started exactly six drives in opponents’ territory. Three came against Maryland (win) and three against Georgia Tech (win). In their four losses, no drive has started past the Clemson 46-yard line. By comparison, N.C. State has started 16 drives on the plus side of the 50. How well Clemson manages that field position battle could go a long way towards determining the winner in this one. The Tigers will be missing Ellington, defensive end Kourtnei Brown, and defensive tackle Miguel Chavis, which hurts. Add in the noon start, an offense that isn’t hitting its stride, and it just doesn’t add up to a win. Once again, though, it is just throwing darts in the dark….
N.C. STATE 20, CLEMSON 16
David's previous picks - Actual score
CLEMSON 56, PRESBYTERIAN 6 - CLEMSON 58, PRESBYTERIAN 21
CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10 - CLEMSON 35, NORTH TEXAS 10
CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 24 - CLEMSON 24, AUBURN 27
CLEMSON 27, MIAMI 23 - CLEMSON 21, MIAMI 30
CLEMSON 23, NORTH CAROLINA 26 - CLEMSON 15 NORTH CAROLINA 21
CLEMSON 28, MARYLAND 13 - CLEMSON 31 MARYLAND 7
CLEMSON 24, GEORGIA TECH 20 - CLEMSON 24 GEORGIA TECH 13
CLEMSON 31, BOSTON COLLEGE 13- CLEMSON 10 BOSTON COLLEGE 16
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