Senior quarterback Philip Rivers threw for two scores and the N.C. State defense played as well as it has all season long as the Wolfpack beat Clemson 17-15 Thursday evening in Raleigh.
The Tigers were once again burned on third down, as Clemson only converted one of twelve opportunities.
N.C. State got on the board first when Rivers hit T.A. McLendon on a four yard touchdown pass with 1:22 left in the first quarter. The Tigers would manage only two Aaron Hunt field goals in the first half and headed to the locker room trailing 7-6.
N.C. State would open the second half scoring with a quick scoring drive.
With State facing a 3rd-and-1 from the Tigers' 37-yard line, Clemson jumped offsides. The savvy Rivers took the snap and immediately lofted a pass to Richard Washington down the right sideline.
Washington got behind Tye Hill, and stretched out to make the catch in the end zone for a 14-6 lead with 10:18 left in the third quarter.
N.C. State would add another field goal before the Tigers finally responded.
After holding N.C. State to a three-and-out, the Tigers put together a 65-yard scoring drive. Charlie Whitehurst hit Bobby Williamson over the middle for a 23-yard pass play, leading to a 5-yard scoring run from big fullback Chad Jasmin that cut the deficit to 17-15 with 6:01 left in the game.
But the Tigers came up short on the 2-point conversion when Tony Elliott couldn't haul in Whitehurst's low pass to the back of the end zone.
"Dropped passes and penalties," Tommy Bowden said. "With two evenly matched teams, that was the difference tonight."
Derrick Hamilton also struggled on the evening, dropping several key passes and falling over his own teammate on a reverse that looked like was going to go the distance.
The Tigers would have one more opportunity to win the game, but Charlie Whitehurst was intercepted on a tipped pass late in the fourth quarter. N.C. State would go on to run out the clock and clinch the two point victory.
With the loss, the Tigers fall to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. Clemson returns home this week to face North Carolina.
Tigers Fall to N.C. State
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