FINAL GRADE: NC State's Defense vs. Clemson

Looking back at the loss to Clemson, how did NC State's defense fare? Who were the standouts on that side of the ball? What grade would you give the defense?

BIGGEST TAKEAWAY
Clemson's offense is really, really good.

NC State came in with one of the top defenses in the country, and offensively Clemson was dominant.  The Tigers rolled up over 600+ yards of offense, 56 points, and was effective on the ground and in the air.

It seemed like the Wolfpack wanted to take away the run game, so they loaded the box at times and left the defensive backs in man coverage.  They weren't able to pressure Clemson signall caller Deshaun Watson and he made the Wolfpack pay time and time again.

THREE STARS
This has been an easy fill each week, as the Wolfpack's had defensive standouts in virtually all of the games, but it's hard to single out a top performer versus the Tigers given the overall performance of the defense.

However, redshirt senior cornerback Juston Burris is having a great year.  The Tigers didn't challenge him much at all in the game, instead choosing to take their vertical shots against Mike Stevens and Jack Tocho.  Burris has been really strong this season and that solid play continued against the Tigers.

Burris finished with nine tackles, including an impressive eight solo hits.  A few of those solo tackles came in space that prevented huge plays, potentially touchdowns.  He also added a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

Sophomore defensive tackle Justin Jones also flashed.  Splitting time with Kentavius Street (who also totaled five tackles), Jones finished with a career-high seven tackles.  He added a sack and a tackle for a loss.  Jones has been a pleasant surprise this season, and he was really, really active against the Tigers.

Finally, although he could have probably been more of a factor as a pass-rusher, sophomore defensive end Bradley Chubb's motor was definitely running.  He tallied nine tackles from his defensive end position, and all year he's done a good job of remaining in pursuit of the football.  

Chubb, a former linebacker, doesn't quit on a play and that effort has paid off in recent weeks from a tackling standpoint.

FINAL GRADE
Regardless of the opponent, anytime you give up 56 points and over 600 yards of total offense you've earned a F.

NC State simply had problems consistently getting stops against the Tigers.  Clemson totaled 16 "chunk" plays... runs of 10+ yards and passes of 15+ yards.  The Tigers were a sizzling 8-of-15 on 3rd down and averaged an astounding 16.7 yards per completion.

Everyone expected Clemson to put up points, they've been clicking offensively lately.  However, it's concerning that NC State wasn't able to take away the run or the pass, which was clearly a goal, to make the Tigers one-dimensional.

If there was a bright spot, State was able to force two field goals in three redzone trips for the Tigers. The problem is Clemson had six touchdowns of 24 yards or more.

Look for the Wolfpack to quickly put this game behind them and move on the Boston College.  


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