How will Clemson Handle a Potential Upset Against NC State?

Opening at -17.5, the Clemson Tigers are huge favorites to continue their ACC dominance this weekend against a difficult NC State team. Clemson has looked like anything but the team we were expecting to see, struggling against Syracuse and Texas A&M. Will the Tigers turn things around this weekend and get a much needed win, or will NC State continue their upwards trend towards the ACC crown?

Both with high powered offenses, this one should be a shootout in death valley. Clemson is averaging more than 530 yards per game, while the Wolfpack is not too far behind them at 480 per contest. But, the two teams focus around two different players: NC State around QB Ryan Finley, and Clemson around RB Travis Etienne. Ryan Finley should be very effective against an inconsistent Clemson secondary. Finley is averaging 335 yards per game, a number that puts him towards the top in all of college football. NC State’s offense, however, is very “dunk pass” oriented (screen passes, slants, etc.), a system which should be very effective versus Clemson.

Clemson needs to give Travis Etienne the ball at least 15-20 times if the Tigers want their statement win. Etienne is the sole reason Clemson came back and beat Syracuse at home, rushing for 203 yards on 27 carries. Again, he showed last week he is the best player on offense, going for 167 on only ten carries. Etienne has an explosive second step and is extremely illusive, but is also paired against an extremely strong rush defense.

Clemson has looked anything but impressive, squeaking past Texas A&M and Syracuse at home. A line of -17.5 is definitely a line to jump all over, as if we see the Clemson from the first seven weeks, it will be a much closer game. Love, love, love, NC State +17.5.


The Wolfpack will come out strong, Ryan Finley will throw for at least 250 yards, and will contain Etienne in the first half. Clemson will catch it’s stride and will make defensive halftime adjustments to come back and win late. Clemson 38-35 NC State.


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