Tigers hope to avoid a repeat of 2011

CLEMSON - The last time Clemson travelled to Carter-Finley Stadium, things didn't go well. Everything that could've gone wrong did go wrong.

Well, not quite everything, but almost everything.

Chandler Catanzaro did kick a 24-yard field goal to give Clemson a 3-0 lead about halfway through the first quarter. Things went downhill not long thereafter.

N.C. State scored 30 unanswered points en route to a 37-13 win that left the Tigers feeling embarrassed.

"That's what it was," said Chad Morris, who was closing out his first season as Clemson's offensive coordinator on Nov. 19, 2011.

"It was an embarrassment. We turned the ball over. It just started a boat race. That's what it was. I was very disappointed in that."

Clemson had just 337 yards of total offense and committed four turnovers. Tajh Boyd and Cole Stoudt were sacked six times.

"That's something we'll talk about," Morris said. "These guys will know about it."

Ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll, Dabo Swinney's team could be ranked even higher next Thursday night if Johnny Football works his magic against Alabama this weekend.

Regardless of the number in front of Clemson, the test won't be any easier than the one in 2011. Carter-Finley will be buzzing. And a national television audience will tune in to see if Clemson pulls a…you know the sentence how it ends.

"It's a tough place to play," Swinney said. "They do a good job up there in that environment. We know very well, because we went up there and really played poor a couple of years ago."

The 2011 season started off so well for Clemson. Flying high after an 8-0 start, the Tigers stumbled into Atlanta after a bye week. Georgia Tech smacked them, 31-17.

Clemson won a week later, escaping with a 31-28 division clinching win at home over Wake Forest, thanks to a come-from-behind fourth quarter rally that was capped by Catanzaro's game-winning field goal.

"It was one of those cases where, after the Georgia Tech game, we kind of let a loss get to us. The Wake game didn't go as well as we wanted to, even though we won and clinched the division," Boyd said. "I think, after that, we were like, we can chill and relax, take a little break. [We] just didn't play to our standard.

"Hopefully, we can evolve from that. It's going to be a very competitive game, very competitive team. Thursday night, at their place, on TV, they want to go out there and make a statement. We want to go out there and make a statement as well."

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