The No. 3 Clemson Tigers football team, fresh off taking care of business against Boston College, will host an N.C. State squad that just topped Notre Dame in hurricane weather.
Who: Clemson (6-0, 3-0 ACC) vs. N.C. State (4-1, 1-0)
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson (81,750)
TV: ABC (Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay)
Radio: WZMJ-FM 93.1 FM in Columbia area, Clemson Radio Network
Satellite radio: SiriusXM 84
Series record: Clemson leads 55-28-1
Line: Clemson by 17.5
What’s at stake
Clemson has to handle a feisty Wolfpack squad as Florida State looms on the schedule after a bye week. N.C. State would like to add its biggest pelt after knocking off an undefeated Wake Forest team and the Fighting Irish.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
Three Story lines
1. Lookahead spot. This game sits between the Tigers and their biggest remaining hurdle on the way to another playoff trip. Dabo Swinny has been good at keeping his team’s eyes on the prize, but it’s still 18- to 23-year-olds we’re talking about.
2. Traveling in a ‘Pack. After consecutive season with five-plus losses, the N.C. State program seems stuck at a business-as-usual level. The Wolfpack has looked pretty good in its 4-1 start, but the strength of those wins isn’t yet clear.
3. Hitting fifth gear? Clemson did just about what it was supposed to in the win against Boston College, one of the few times that’s happened this year. The offense averaged 8.3 yards a play, while the defense yielded 3.5. Perhaps a sign Clemson is returning to its consistent form of destroying folks.
Three Clemson Players to Watch
1. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is up to a solid 1,572 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s still working toward last season’s efficiency, and a 270-yard, 203.5 QB rating output against BC helped that.
2. Wide receiver Dion Cain looked to be following up his strong freshman debut with a quiet six catches for 72 yards in the first four games. Then he put up seven for 166 and four scores in the last two, and now has six touchdowns on 13 receptions.
3. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence isn’t leading Clemson in tackles for loss or sacks, but the massive freshman has 15 quarterback pressures, nearly double anyone else on the team. Then throw in 38 tackles, which ranks fourth on the team as an interior lineman.
Three N.C. State Players to Watch
1. Quarterback Ryan Finley arrived in a big way after transferring from Boise State. He doesn’t throw a ton in a run-heavy offense, but he’s hitting 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,036 yards, nine touchdowns and no picks for a 160.7 rating.
2. Running back Matt Dayes continues his work as a solid workhorse with 563 yards and three scores on nearly 20 attempts a game, with 98 more yards through the air. Hat tip to receiver Stephen Louis, an absurdly explosive top receiver with 25.2 yards per catch
3. Defensive end Bradley Chubb can menace opposing quarterbacks with 5 sacks and 8 1/2 for loss, plus a forced fumble.