Can Clemson contain Russell Wilson?

CLEMSON - Up next on Kevin Steele's docket this season is figuring out how to defend N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson.


The junior has completed 188 of 322 passes for 2,302 yards and 19 touchdowns this season and is the Wolfpack's third-best rusher with 269 yards and five scores.

"It all starts and really probably ends with the quarterback," Steele said. "I'm sure there are people at their position that are playing as well, but he's probably playing is position as good as anybody in the league, right now."

Wilson's an effective runner, but effective in a different light than Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, who Clemson saw nearly two months ago.

"[N.C. State is] not a q-power, q-iso, power running team with [Wilson]. They'll run zone-read some, but not a lot. I'm sure we'll see it," Steele said. "The big thing is his ability to evade the rush and pick up yards on scrambles. He makes people pay in a major way…we've got our hands full, to say the least."

The Tigers will get all they can handle through the air, too. The Wolfpack are 15th in the nation in pass offense with 295.8 yards per game.

Wilson's two favorite targets are big ones. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Owen Spencer leads the team with 36 receptions for 529 yards. At 6-4, 219 pounds, Jarvis Williams has 30 catches for 465 yards and three touchdowns.

"The big thing is his ability to evade the rush and pick up yards on scrambles. He makes people pay in a major way…we've got our hands full, to say the least."

Steele called tight end George Bryan "special." The redshirt junior has 22 receptions for 250 yards and three touchdowns this season.

"He's a very good player. They get the ball to him a lot. He is a very effective pass runner, as well as blocker," Steele said.

N.C. State averages 142.9 yards on the ground per game, which ranks 74th nationally.

Freshman Mustafa Greene leads the team with 495 yards rushing and is second with four touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Dean Haynes is second with 312 yards and third with three scores.

After allowing over 200 yards of total offense in the first half of last weekend's 16-10 loss at Boston College, the Clemson defense buckled down—particularly in stopping the run.

Eagle running back Montel Harris rushed 36 times for 144 yards. Twenty-three of the carries and 109 of the yards were in the first half.

"We played really hard and with great effort. We didn't tackle well early in the game, just didn't tackle well. That's a credit to their running back, because he ran well, ran hard—hats off to that," Steele said.

Before Saturday, Boston College went with two tight ends and two backs only 14 times this season. In the first half, the Eagles used the look 20 times. Steele added that as a contributing factor to the Eagles' first half success.

"We had to get that adjusted pretty quickly and add some calls to it, and they did that. We got them settled down. From that point on, it was pretty effective," he said. "I'm a little disappointed we gave up the one big play after the turnover at the 36-yardline.

"At the end of the day, for the third-straight week, we gave up one touchdown. We're trying to eliminate that as fast as we can. That's not an easy task, but that's what we're working on." Top Stories