The Clemson defense will get a shot to do what no team has done this season Saturday at Death Valley – rattle N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley.
The redshirt sophomore, who transferred from Boise State, is eighth in the country in completion percentage at 69.5 percent, and one of three starting quarterbacks in the country yet to throw an interception.
Through five games, Finley has passed for 1,045 yards with nine touchdowns.
“He’s been very accurate, very efficient and knows their system inside and out,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers are hoping to force Finley into mistakes by applying pressure in the backfield, making Finley move and disrupting timing.
“If you’ve got a guy that’s (eighth) in the country in completion percentage with no interceptions, he’s probably been pretty comfortable back there. You’ve got to make him uncomfortable,” Swinney said.
The ACC has five teams ranked in the top 17 in the AP Poll, the most in the country.
Clemson is ranked No. 3, followed by No. 7 Louisville, No. 14 Florida State, No. 16 Miami and No. 17 Virginia Tech.
Swinney said he believes the conference is proving it’s worthy of more national attention.
“I just think it’s what I’ve been saying for the last few years. This league is a tough league,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s excited when they look at their schedule and see that they’re playing an ACC team. … It’s a great league. I really think anybody can beat anybody in this league.”
Right tackle Jake Fruhmorgen played the worst game of his college career last Friday against Boston College, according to Swinney. But Clemson’s coach believes the sophomore will bounce back this weekend.
“He played awful at Boston, worst game he’s played maybe even since peewee. I was very disappointed with the way he played up there,” Swinney said. “But he’ll respond. He’ll probably play his best game this week, but he did not play well up there.”
Swinney said he believes Fruhmorgen has had a strong season.
“He’s everything you want. He really is. He’s a first-time starter. He’s started six games in his career here. Nobody has more pride in their performance than Jake, and that I know,” he said.