Clemson uses signs to signal in plays from the sideline.
The Tigers added a new one for the matchup against N.C. State.
Clemson coaches held up a sign with a laptop as the Tigers were on their way to a 41-7 victory Saturday night at Death Valley. The laptop has a little infamy in the matchup’s history.
N.C. State coach Dave Doeren questioned why Clemson had a laptop on its sideline after the Tigers held off N.C. State last season in Raleigh. This year Clemson decided to have some fun with Doeren’s comments from a year ago.
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“That was the ultimate troll, wasn’t it?” Swinney said Saturday. “I was hoping y’all might notice that. That was the coaches. I think they wanted to have a little fun with that, and I said, ‘Well, hey, if you earn it, put it up there.’ I don’t think you saw it until the fourth quarter, but that was a troll.”
Tigers safety K’Von Wallace added that the players asked the coaching staff if they could pull off the troll throughout the week.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was asked if the laptop sign was for a new play for this week. Scott smiled and replied, “We have a lot of different pictures on our video boards.”
Clemson had yet to score on its opening drive in 2018 entering Saturday. That changed against the Wolfpack.
Receiver Derion Kendrick gave Clemson good field position with a 40-yard kickoff return to open the game, and Trevor Lawrence led Clemson on a nine-play, 57-yard drive to give Clemson a quick 7-0 lead just a few minutes into the game.
Lawrence was 4-for-5 passing for 35 yards on the series and added a 12-yard scramble.
“It was something we wanted to challenge our guys,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “The first half of the season we were doing a good job of finishing games, but where we’ve helped our defense and really, really put pressure on people in the past is when we can come out and we can score on those early drives in the game ... We go down and we score, and that just brings more life to the defense.”
N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley entered Saturday’s game as the leading passer in the ACC, averaging 324 yards per game. But the Tigers shut him down, holding Finley to 156 passing yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
K’Von Wallace and Jalen Williams each picked off Finley. It marked the third consecutive year Wallace has recorded an interception against N.C. State.
Clemson also had 10 tackles for loss, led by Clelin Ferrell with 2.5.
“Our guys played really well. I’m super happy for them. We’re getting into a good rhythm here in the last three games or so,” Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “I’m just really proud of the effort our guys put out there today. We played a lot of guys. We played with great physical toughness, and we played with precision in defending the passing game. Our guys came out and really made a statement from the jump with a good three-and-out. All three levels were really good today.”