PASS THE ROAD TEST: Not surprisingly this key centers on the play of QB Cullen Harper. While he's almost flawless through three games (10 touchdowns, zero interceptions), he'll be tested on the road against better competition Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium. Harper has shown great vision, good arm strength and solid decision making through the first three games. He'll need to do it again Saturday to keep the Wolfpack defense honest and open up holes for running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller in the second half.
RUN WITH IT: While Harper continues to make progress through the air, this could be the first game of the year where the Tigers truly turn their attention back to the ground. James Davis has been solid between the tackles but hasn't gotten the number of carries in blowouts over Louisiana-Monroe and Furman. Expect that to change Saturday. Both Davis and C.J. Spiller should get plenty of opportunities given State's first and second string defensive tackles are injured. Davis needs to do what he always does- run for five yards and break off big runs when given the opportunity. Spiller must be more aggressive at the line - which means hitting the hole as it develops as opposed to trying to make too much happen. Bottom line- Clemson should win this game should it go over 150 yards rushing.
CONTAIN BROWN: N.C. State has plenty of weapons on offense but turnovers have killed the team in losses to Central Florida and Boston College. RB Andre Brown poses the biggest threat and should get the ball as many as 30 times Saturday should this game remain close for four quarters. Keep Brown under 100 yards and the Tigers will walk away with a 10+ point win. If Brown is effective early, it could open up things later on in the passing game with QB Harrison Beck, wide receivers John Dunlap and Darrell Blackman.
3 Keys to Victory
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