Defensive Issues

CLEMSON, S.C. -- The N.C. State secondary took one on the chin from Clemson's high-powered passing attack and Earl Wolff was ready to take the blame.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 30 of 44 throws for 426 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. And the Tigers' ground game rolled up 328 yards and three touchdowns.

"We know that we're capable of playing way better than that. That should never happen," Wolff said. "Sixty-two points, I can't remember the last time that happened, especially in the backend. We have a lot of older guys.

"I take the blame for a lot of plays."

Tom O'Brien offered his take on what happened to the defense during N.C. State's 62-48 loss to Clemson.

"We've just got to do a better job tackling. We didn't tackle. We blew some coverage," O'Brien said. "We did some things -- it was not a very good day on defense, but some of it is attributed to what they did on offense, their players. They forced one-on-one and that's a disadvantage for us, when we're one-on-one with them."

Big deficit, no quit
Down 55-24 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter, heads could have sunk on the visitor's sideline. N.C. State mustered with touchdowns on consecutive drives and cut Clemson's third quarter lead to a much more manageable 17.

The Tigers tacked on one more third quarter touchdown before the Wolfpack answered with 10 points in the final period.

"Our kids play hard. There's no quit in them. They just keep grinding away, grinding away," O'Brien said. "If we could have just gotten one stop there instead of -- I think they ran the clock the last five or six minutes. If we could have gotten one stop, who knows -- if we put something else on the board -- where it's going to go?"

Working the middle of the field
Mario Carter finished the night with seven catches for 105 yards with a touchdown. The senior tight end did much of his work over the middle against the Clemson secondary.

"We thought we could get him in some situations there in the middle of the defense, working a lot of choice routes in there," O'Brien said. "He did a good job getting himself open and making catches. He made good choices on his choice routes."

Senior Day on the horizon
Carter-Finley Stadium has been a good home for the group of seniors that will be honored before next Saturday's regular season finale against Boston College.

Including this season's 4-1 home record, the Wolfpack are 20-4 at Carter-Finley Stadium since 2009.

Thornton believes the seniors will be primed and ready to win No. 21.

"I think they're going to come out fighting," he said. "If we had a game [Sunday], I think they would suit up and be ready. They're ready to shake back from this."

Wolff's been around Raleigh for a few other senior days, so he knows what's in store for his.

"It's very meaningful. Hopefully, everybody feels the same way," he said. "The seniors will next week. It'll be our last game in Carter-Finley. I feel like we're already to go back and play tomorrow. We just want to show what we're capable of."

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