QUOTEBOARD: Defending Clemson

NC State has faced some potent offenses this year, but they will be going against arguably the toughest on Saturday when they head into Death Valley to battle Clemson.

NC State has faced some potent offenses this year, but they will be going against arguably the toughest on Saturday when they head into Death Valley to battle Clemson. The Tigers lead the ACC in total offense (514 yards per game) and passing offense (323 yards per game).

Quarterback Tahj Boyd steers the ship, as he has passed for 28 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. What makes him even more dangerous is his ability to run the football, having totaled 363 rushing yards and another five scores.

When you factor in talented senior tailback Andre Ellington and a plethora of wideouts led by DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins... Clemson is loaded.

This week we spoke with linebacker Rickey Dowdy, defensive end Art Norman, and defensive tackle Thomas Teal about the Tigers....

How Big Is This Game?
"I know we need it. I know it's another top 10 team as well. This game will do us good if we win it." -- Art Norman

"It's going to be a big game. We're very excited to go down there. They have great athletes. I think it's going to be a good game." -- Rickey Dowdy

How Big Is Winning On First Down?
"It is with every team. It's a momentum thing. Everybody feeds off everybody. If we stop them on first down we'll get them flustered and we'll get more momentum. We just play better." -- Art Norman

"We have to win on first and second down because I think we're a great third down team. I think if we can win on first and second we're going to get off the field because we can pressure the quarterback on third down. -- Rickey Dowdy

"That's the key. There is so much they can do to you with a quarterback like [Boyd] on third and short. On third and long we can get them in predictable plays and get off the field." -- Thomas Teal

Who Would You Compare Clemson To?
"A lot is just like last week. They have a lot of good players, good quarterback, good receivers... running backs. They have an overall good team." -- Rickey Dowdy

"They are very similar to Wake Forest but with better athletes." -- Thomas Teal

College Football Seems To Be Changing To More Spread Offenses.
"A lot of teams are turning to the spread offense. We've played it the whole season so we're going to go down there against a great team and know they know how to get their players in space with the ball." -- Rickey Dowdy

"That definitely helps us [prepare for Clemson]. It always helps when you get repetition of the same offense. that's a big help for us." -- Thomas Teal

Clemson's Quarterback, Tahj Boyd, Is Having A Great Year. How Tough Is He To Defend With His Mobility?
"Anytime you play a dual-threat quarterback it's tough. He can throw the ball, he can run the ball. He's dropped a couple of pounds from last season and that makes him more versatile. We just have to get after him and put pressure on him." -- Rickey Dowdy

"He is a big part of their offense. He's more of a quarterback with a running back's body. He's athletic. We have to contain him on third and short, keep him from scrambling out the pocket." -- Thomas Teal

Are You Prepared To Play In That Environment?
"Yes sir. We're not worried about it. We know it's going to be hype and intense. We just have to go in there and weather the storm." -- Rickey Dowdy

How Important Will It Be To Force Turnovers?
"Very important... I feel like every time we force turnovers we win so we have to go in there and force two, three, or four turnovers so we can help our offense out. We need to get them good field position so they can go down and score." -- Thomas Teal

What Is The Key To The Game?
"I think the momentum. We have to keep stopping them. The offense feeds off us, the special teams feeds off the offense, we feed off the offense... everybody just feeds off everybody.

"If we do a good job the offense will do a good job and the special teams will do a good job. That's what I think. Momentum wins game, it doesn't have to be the better team to win in football. It is whoever keeps going and plays all four quarters." -- Art Norman

"We have to tackle. We have to get those guys on the ground. We can't let them break tackles and continue to get up field and get yards off the catch." -- Rickey Dowdy

"We have to get after the quarterback. That's very important. We have to keep him contained at the same time, so it will be a good challenge for us." -- Thomas Teal

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