Notebook: Defensive Stand was Crucial

CLEMSON – Though it came in the second quarter, Clemson's defensive goal-line stand may have been the game's most critical point.

Considering the Tigers won 20-14, those saved seven points were key.

After Tigers had scored their first touchdown in eight quarters, N.C. State had the ball first-and-goal at the 3 and appeared set to even things up at 7-7.

On first down, tailback Toney Baker ran off the right guard for a gain of one. On second down, Andre Brown gained another yard with a run up the middle to make it third-and-goal at the one.

The next play, Baker took a toss for a sprint to the left and was just barely pushed out of bounds between the 1 and the goal line to set up fourth down.

Another run to Baker up the middle was short and it appeared the biggest defensive stand of the year had been complete, but Phillip Merling was called for being offside, which gave the Wolfpack one more crack at it.

On the extra play, quarterback Daniel Evans took the snap and tried to sneak it across the line, but he got nowhere close and the Tigers had pulled off the improbable stop.

"Clemson had a phenomenal goal-line defense," N.C. State coach Chuck Amato said. "We were right there. That was big. If we could see into the future that it was going to come down to this, maybe we would have kicked that field goal."

Spiller gets call
Freshman tailback C.J. Spiller was asked to be the main man in the offensive backfield due to starter James Davis not feeling well with a stomach flu.

Spiller didn't disappoint as he finished with 18 carries and a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown, which was a 54-yard run down the right sideline.

Davis had 13 rushes for 34 yards.

"My offensive line did a great job," Spiller said. "(On the touchdown), I was able to get outside and get past the safety. I can't make that play without my offensive line getting me past the first wave of guys."

Quick hits
Cole Chason handled all of the kickoff duties for Clemson. … Like the Tigers did against Virginia Tech, N.C. State burned all three of their time outs in the first half in the first quarter. …

Middle linebacker Antonio Clay didn't play the first series on defense due to disciplinary actions imposed by his position coach David Blackwell. … Clemson quarterback Will Proctor was sacked twice. He entered the game having been sacked only five times all season. …

Both starting offensive guards for N.C. State were out of the game for good by the middle of the second quarter. … Spiller's touchdown marked the fifth time this year he's scored from at least 50 yards out. … Spiller and Davis each have four 100-yard rushing games this season. …

Placekicker Jad Dean kicked his has 50 field goals in his career. … Gaines Adams' consecutive sack streak came to an end at eight, just one game shy of tying the NCAA record. … Linebacker Brandon Cannon hurt his knee in the second quarter and didn't return. Top Stories