NOTEBOOK: O-line and D shine

RALEIGH, N.C. – Despite all the bemoaning and criticism surrounding the play of Clemson's offensive line and defense, both units performed well Saturday like coaches and fans had hoped they would from the very beginning of the season.

The offensive line kept pressure off of quarterback Cullen Harper all day, yielding just one sack. There were countless times he was able to stand back in the pocket and check off to his third and fourth receiver.

Then of course there was the rushing attack, which amassed 340 yards.

"A lot of people were doubting us," right tackle Christian Capote said. "I know what we've got. We wanted to prove everybody wrong."

The only bad thing was all the high number of penalties. There's also the fact that some people will say that the good job came against a very bad N.C. State team that was ultra thin on the defensive front.

"Regardless of who steps in front of you, you have to make the blocks," Capote said. "We don't have anything to do with who lines up."

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers hounded N.C. State's quarterbacks much of the game, though they only had two sacks.

The defense against the rush, which has been a huge concern the last two weeks, was superb. Wolfpack star tailback Andre Brown had just 66 yards on 19 carries, while the team as a whole had 55 yards on 23 attempts.

Clemson was also able to get off the field on third downs as the Wolfpack converted just 4-of-12 opportunities.

"Everybody was on point today," middle linebacker Cortney Vincent said. "We played as one Tiger defense today and I like seeing that."

QUICK STRIKE: Once again, Clemson proved that it can strike for a score in the blink of an eye.

When tailback C.J. Spiller broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run on the first play of a drive late in the first quarter, it marked the fifth time this season Clemson has scored on one play.

In four games, the Tigers have a scoring drive of eight seconds, two for nine seconds, one for 10 seconds and one of 13 seconds.

CHECKS AND BALANCES: Spiller and James Davis have a special relationship. They are both star tailbacks, best friends and roommates. And when one needs a little reminder, the other is always there.

Even though Spiller finally had a long run and rushed for more than 100 yards, Davis said he's not going to let up on his teammate about being patient and doing too much dancing.

"It's the most patient game he's had so far," he said. "But I'm going to keep working with him in practice."

Moments later, Spiller said he's got some things he's got to talk to Davis about as he gets ready to play in his first real game in his hometown of Atlanta.

"I've got to keep James under control," he said. "That's all he's been talking about. I've got to let him know that it's not James against Georgia Tech, it's Clemson against Georgia Tech."

QUICK HITS: Safety Michael Hamlin's interception for a score on a two-point conversion attempt by N.C. State was the first time Clemson has ever scored two points defensively on a conversion attempt. … Darrell Blackman's 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the longest in N.C. State history. …

Harper set more school records against the Wolfpack by throwing the most passes to start a career without an interception. The old record was 92 by Nealon Greene in 1994.

He set another school record by throwing the most passes ever without an interception. He has 130 attempts without a pick, beating the old record of 122 set by Rodney Williams in 1988. …

Davis said the official threw a flag against him on Jacoby Ford's touchdown run because his vicious block was too far away from the play and was uncalled for. There is a rule like that in the NFL, but no one, including a Clemson official, had ever heard of such a thing in college.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The grass was so high, I thought we were playing at Notre Dame," Spiller said of the long grass. Top Stories