GRADES: Best game of the year for Clemson

CLEMSON – Following each game, each phase of the Clemson team will be given a letter grade. Here are this week's grades following the Tigers' 42-20 victory over N.C. State Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

OFFENSE: A+ It's kind of hard to be nitpicky when the offense rolls up over 600 yards of total offense, but there were a few mistakes that could warrant only getting an A. The Tigers weren't very good scoring touchdowns in the red zone, converting just 3-of-7 chances. But what the running and passing games did was something special, even if it was against N.C. State. What we saw today is what we'd been waiting for all season.

DEFENSE: A+ As good as the offense played, it's quite possible the defense played better. The Tigers knocked out the starting quarterback and completely dismantled the Wolfpack offense. A lot of the yardage came late in the fourth quarter or otherwise N.C. State would have had well below 200 yards of total offense. Clemson also created turnovers and got off the field on third downs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D- This is where things once again turn ugly for the Tigers. The Wolfpack had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Clemson also missed two field goals. Every week it seems like it's something new in this area that goes bad. Sooner or later this is going to cost the Tigers a game if they don't get this area's problems resolved.

COACHING: A- Everything the coaching staff wanted to get accomplished, it did. The team came out ready to show that it's much better than what they had showed the last two weeks. The two problems were special teams and there are still too darn many screen passes, especially on third-and-long.

OVERALL: A The Tigers had their best game to date and it showed on the scoreboard and in the stat sheet. This was a good game to have heading into next week's game at Georgia Tech. Usually, these are the types of games that Clemson barely squeaks out or loses. This time, it took care of business in a big way.

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