NC State Review

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N.C. State Review

I am still asking myself how in the world Clemson won that football game Saturday? I know the final score was Clemson 24 NC State 17, but I am not sure how that worked out. In many ways, it didn't feel like a win, but we will take it and eight more just like it.

N.C. State was the more physical team on both sides of the ball, and that hasn't happened a lot around here. The Wolfpack's lines of scrimmage were more physical than Clemson, and that surely hasn't been the case often.

I give State a lot of credit. Ryan Finley was better than I expected. I knew Matthew Dayes was a terrific back. Nyheim Hines was electric last year so I knew he would be a handful, but Kelvin Harmon was better than I expected. The biggest surprise were their lines of scrimmage. Clemson got beat up front and that is disturbing.

Clemson won the game, but there are a ton of issues that popped up in the win.

When Wayne Gallman went out, Clemson's running game left. I am not confident in the running back rotation, the offensive line or the play calling in the running game coming out of this one.

Gallman's replacements lack vision, balance, cutting, and big play capability. They create little more than what is blocked. I don't see broken tackles or big play capability. Clemson's running back depth is a major concern in my mind.

Deshaun Watson threw the ball well, but his pick-six turned the game around and gave NC State momentum. Clemson scored to end the first half to go up 10-3 and got the ball to start the second half. A touchdown there means a 14-point lead. Instead, Watson throws the pick-six and the game turns into a war.

I have no idea what happened to this offensive line. The running game has not been good, and Watson was often pressured Saturday.

Turnovers were the real reason this game was close. Clemson turned the ball over four times including one at the goal line, a pick six and another driving in for a score. Also, the Tigers failed on fourth down at the one-yard line. Those are 28 points were the reason the game was even a contest.

Clemson's offense had 495 yards and 30 first downs but kept shooting themselves in the foot. Turnovers, penalties, dropped balls and missed blocks happened at the worst times.

Defensively, the Tigers were not great, but they did hold State under 400 yards and made the plays to win the game.

Special teams were a mixed bag, but two things keep happening. First, Ray Ray McCloud keeps fumbling punts. Second, Andy Teasdale struggles punting the ball. This week he averaged 26 yards per punt.

So Clemson escaped, but if you keep playing with fire, you may get burned. The turnovers have to stop. It's time for this team to play well and become an efficient team. If not, this season looks more and more like the FSU 2014 season and the Ohio State 2015 campaign.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency

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