Postgame Insider: Laptops, officiating and State players are

Postgame Insider: Laptops, officiating and State players are "pissed"

by - Staff Writer -

RALEIGH, NC – As expected, it was a tale of two locker rooms after Clemson’s 38-31 win over N.C. State Saturday evening at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers breathed a sigh of relief as their goals of repeating as ACC Atlantic champs were still on the table Saturday night.

N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren said his team was “pissed” and not happy with the outcome, the officiating or the that Clemson had a laptop (for social media) on the sidelines.

Take a look at what both teams’ coaches and players had to say following the thrilling game.


On the consistency of officiating:

“I wish it was a lot better, Joe. I’d like to know why there was a laptop on Clemson’s sideline that people were looking at, too. I’d like that to be investigated. Maybe they weren’t doing anything, but I was told it’s illegal to have technology on the sideline. So I’d like to know that as well. No idea [who it was], I just saw a picture of it walking up here."

On the illegal shift call late in the game:

“They said it was an illegal motion. We audibled, the receivers were realigning, and the ball got snapped.”

On the key to the offense’s efficiency in the first half:

“We were getting first downs and getting them tired. Their defense was fatigued. We were able to get them misaligned and out of their stances. Ryan [Finley] had a good rhythm, and they were playing soft coverage. That’s kind of what we’ve done all year, just had a good rhythm going.

“They made some adjustments in the second half, and we missed a great opportunity to Kelvin [Harmon]. That would’ve been a huge play. I think that was the second drive, we had a double move that would’ve been a big play in the game. We ended up going three-and-out that drive, so that was a critical play there. We had a fourth-and-one that [we punted on]. We had been playing in bad field position the whole quarter on defense, and I just felt like if we don’t get it, we’re putting them out there for their third-straight series on bad field position. So I thought we’d pin them back and stop them, then we gave up the big run. That was unfortunate. Obviously, if I had that back, I’d probably go for it. But after three-straight drives starting on our side of the 50, I thought flipping the field there was going to help us.”

On how the team was able to have the opportunity to tie the game:

“They’ve got grit. They’re tough kids that want to win, and didn’t want to be denied that game tonight. I’m proud of them for how they fought, and I’ve got a great group of guys to coach. I really do. I’m really proud of the way they continue to battle, and I know they will - even though they’re very down right now - continue to battle as the season goes on.”

On what it meant for Kyle Bambard to come in and make a field goal:

“I was happy for Kyle. Obviously disappointed we ended up there, but that’s where we’re at. I’m very happy for him.”

On Jakobi Meyers’ and Kelvin Harmon’s performances:

“They’re playing so hard, and I’m very proud of both of them. I think Jakobi Meyers showed a lot of toughness tonight. He was sore going into the game, and played through it and made some tough, physical contact catches. He did a great job, and he’s grown up so much. Proud of him.

“Kelvin continues to do what he’s been doing. He’s just a great player.”

On what he said to the team now that the Atlantic Division is not in their control:

“I told them downstairs the same thing I said to you. I don’t have any magic speech for that. It’s going to hurt. That’s what happens when you lose a big game, it hurts. But we’re not going to quit either. We’re going to try to win 10 games. We’ve got three regular season [games] and a bowl game left. That’s been done once in program history, so that’s what we’re going to play for now. Their season isn’t over, either. They could lose still. It’s just out of our control now, but we’re continuing to play hard and finishing the season. That’s what's in our control, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On how the players reacted postgame:

“They’re just pissed. They wanted it. They’re down, and they’re emotional. They’re what you would want them to be. When you put everything in it and don’t get it, that’s what you expect.”

On not having Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels at 100%:

“It doesn’t help, when some of your best players aren’t 100%. Justin Jones tried to play, too, and he couldn’t make the full game. Proud of those kids for trying. They really wanted to be out there. It hurts, you know? That’s why you recruit. You find a great player, and you need them in a big game like that.

“Offensively, we had 491 yards, and Nyheim wasn’t healthy out there. I think we did a hell of a job putting together a package that still gave us a chance to win. We scored 31 points.”


Opening Statement:

"It was an unbelievable ball game. It was a great effort by both teams. I thought NC State played a heck of a game, especially in the first half they kicked our butt. We knew it was going to be a tough, hard fought game. This is an incredibly experienced and veteran-led team that we were going to play at home. I'm really proud of our team. We have a really young team and thought a lot of our guys grew up tonight. This is an unbelievable experience for our group. This was championship-type football where you have to make critical plays in critical situations. I'm proud of the perseverance of our guys, especially how we played in the third quarter when we got control of the ball game. I give them (NC State) credit though their quarterback (Ryan Finley) is a heck of a player. If you gave him any space at all he was taking it. We're fortunate to win the game, we got done what we came up here to do and that was to find a way to win and stay on track. There was no way to win the division if we didn't win up here. We got that done but we still have a tough road."

On the punt downed inside the Pack one-yard line:

"He (Hunter Renfrow) had a big third down and we went to him on fourth and five. The one thing I challenged our coaches and the thing I told our team last night is that I promised them we weren't going to walk out of that field and not put the ball in their hands. The game is about the players and I wanted to make sure that we gave our players the opportunity to win the game. I'm really proud of our coaches because I thought offensively, especially, that we did that. That was a huge play."

On Ray-Ray McCloud's performance:

"That's why we didn't fire him. That's why we hung in there with him. I wanted to fire him many times in the last year or so but he grew up and matured. He's a special talent. I'm really proud of him and proud of those guys holding up. There's a bunch of guys out there getting the job done for him. We've created a lot of confidence and we have some swagger on our return team right now. That was one thing we talked about last night was somebody being the spark on special teams. What a huge play by Ray-Ray and all those guys. Huge momentum play."


On the game:

“I thought we had them. A couple of plays here and there changed it into a different game. We have got to execute better. We are going to keep working on it. The season is not over yet, so we are going to keep pushing.”

On the late penalty:

“Yeah, that was a tough one for us. At the end of the day, it’s still a game and we’ve got to live with what comes with it. It’s the rules. They (the officials) know the rules better than we do, and we’re just going to listen to what they call.”

On the frustration that comes with the late penalites:

“We don’t really have time to be frustrated when the penalties fly. We just know we have to bounce back for the next play and get our minds going. We just let stay in the past and keep moving forward.”


On the final drive:

“I just didn’t want to die with the ball in my hand. I thought we got into a rhythm. We had some guys make some huge plays. That penalty hurt us, getting down to the two, and on that 4th-and-15, I’ve just got to give a guy a chance.”

On the message in the locker room after the game:

“The season is not over. We will bounce back. Obviously one of our big goals is off the table, but we still have a lot to play for.”


On the difference between last week’s los and this loss:

“This one definitely feels a lot worse. (There was) a lot on the line, so it’s definitely a lot worse.”


On the attitude in the locker room:

“I think we’re all in consensus right now that we didn’t make enough plays tonight. Even though we didn’t have a few calls come our way, we didn’t make enough plays and the better team won tonight. That’s how we feel. WE want to move on to Boston College and win out.”


On career-high nine catches:

“I love to be out there doing what I love. The ball came my way plenty of times but there are still plays I should have made out on the field. I need to execute more.”

On if the team panicked early:

“No panic. We were prepared for the ups and downs of the game. Kelly (Bryant) just had to get a feel for the game, and once he did we were good after that. That's the game of football right there - overcoming adversity. Our sideline had to stay together and we had to play as one. It was good to see our offense step up and help our defense.”

On Ray-Ray (McCloud) playing CB:

“Actually, I was on my toes a little bit because they were moving the ball and getting first downs and all of that. But once I saw Ray-Ray go in, I was like, 'Ok, it's official now. Let's go.' And we made the plays we had to make.”


On the offense

“I saw them carry the team. That's what I saw. The defense, we had our struggles the first half. That was probably our best third quarter defense of the year. And then in the fourth quarter we bent but didn't break. The offense had that first interception but they got that out of their head. You saw how tough Kelly played. The special teams played. The defense had a lot of help tonight from the offense and special teams.”

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