NC State (1-2) vs. Clemson (3-0)
Saturday, September 22, 2007
12:00 pm Carter-Finley Stadium
NC State Game Notes
NC STATE VS. CLEMSON
NC State and Clemson have met 75 times on the gridiron since the series began in 1899, the third oldest ACC series for the Wolfpack. The Tigers hold a 47-27-1 advantage all-time and have won the last three meetings.
In games played in Raleigh, Clemson holds a slight 16-15 margin (10-9 in Carter-Finley Stadium).
THE TEXTILE BOWL
Although not many of the players in uniform know about it, for the past 27 years (since 1981), the series between NC State and Clemson has been dubbed the Textile Bowl, as that industry has such a major economic impact on both states and both schools boast renowned textile colleges. The North Carolina textile manufacturers donate money to NC State's scholarship fund every year in honor of the Wolfpack's MVP from the game.
Clemson posts a 17-9 advantage in the Textile Bowl.
TOM O'BRIEN VERSUS CLEMSON
Although this week's game will mark the first time that Tom O'Brien has coached against Clemson while wearing red and white, he does have two games and two victories under his belt against the Tigers while wearing maroon and gold.
O'Brien's Boston College team faced Clemson each of his last two years with the Eagles, and both times the teams were tied at the end of regulation. In 2005, Boston College traveled to Clemson for its first ACC road game (its second ACC game) and came back with its first ACC victory - a 16-13 overtime win.
Last season, the Eagles opened their conference slate at home against Clemson, and this time had to go into two overtimes to earn a 34-33 victory.
PACK AND TIGERS PLAY IT CLOSE
In the past decade, the games between NC State and Clemson have for the most part been ‘made for tv' - with eight of the 10 coming down to the wire. With the exception of Clemson's 31-10 victory in Raleigh in 2005 and the Wolfpack's 38-6 romp at Clemson in 2002, the other eight games between the two teams in the last decade have been decided by eight points or less, five have been decided by six points or less and two have been decided by two points.
In the last five games played at Carter-Finley Stadium, the score has been decided by an average of 7.4 points.
LAST TIME OUT VS. CLEMSON
Tailback Toney Baker was the star for the Wolfpack in last year's contest at Clemson, but his career-high 174 yards and 34 carries wasn't enough as the Tigers won, 20-14. The Wolfpack offense scored just seven points in the game, as Baker rushed for a one-yard touchdown and defensive end Willie Young scored on a 34-yard interception return.
PACK BREAKS STREAK
NC State's nine-game losing streak ended on Saturday with a 38-17 win over Wofford. It marked the Wolfpack's first win since October 5, 2006 (Florida State). That streak tied for the longest losing streak for NC State since 1959, when Earle Edwards' squad also lost nine straight.
THIRD AND LONG, FIRST, SECOND STRONG
NC State's defense has been tremendous on third down so far this season, holding opponents to an ACC best third-down conversion mark of .220. That mark also ranks seventh nationally this week. The Wolfpack has allowed its first three opponents to convert on just 11 of 50 third down attempts, including Wofford's 3-17 mark on Saturday.
A big factor behind the Wolfpack's defensive prowess on third down has been it's success on first and second down. NC State's three opponents have needed an average of 7.16 yards to convert on third down this season.
NC State's opposition has gained three yards or less on first down 41 times this season and has gained no yards or been knocked for a loss on first down 26 times. On second down, Mike Archer's defense has held the opponent to three or less 38 times and to zero or negative yards 19 times.
WOLFPACK FACES FIRST RANKED OPPONENT
NC State will faced its first ranked opponent of the year when 15th-ranked Clemson comes to Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday. (Boston College, NC State's opponent just two weeks ago, is now ranked a notch ahead of the Tigers in this week's AP and Coaches' polls).
Prior to last week's win over Wofford, the Wolfpack's previous win had been against a ranked team. In fact, NC State's last two victories before the nine-game losing streak had been over ranked teams, as the Pack defeated No. 20 Boston College and No. 17 Florida State in back-to-back home games last season before falling nine straight times.
BARNES TO THE HOUSE
It didn't take long for true freshman linebacker Thomas Barnes to make an impact at NC State. If you asked the Dublin, Ga., native, he would probably say it took TOO long, as he didn't see action in the first or second games of the year. But on Saturday against Wofford, when senior starter LeRue Rumph left the game with an injury, Barnes finally got the call. He was in for two plays (which went unnoticed by the crew in the press box) and then lined up at strongside linebacker on a third-and-nine play from Wofford's own 15-yardline. End Willie Young jarred the ball loose from the Terrier quarterback and Barnes got his career off to an auspicious beginning by scooping it up at the five and showed the skills he learned as a high school fullback by taking it into the endzone for the Wolfpack's second touchdown of the day.
But Barnes wasn't done. He ended up playing 61 more snaps (64 total) and tallying eight tackles for the night - including seven solo stops.
Barnes should get more time to mature this week against Clemson, as Rumph may miss time with the injury.
WINNING IS A RUSH FOR WOLFPACK
A big part of the Wolfpack's ability to snap it's nine-game losing streak was it's ability to effectively run the football in Saturday's win over Wofford. NC State ran for 217 yards in the contest, it's highest rushing total since the 2005 season when the Pack ran for 297 yards against Southern Miss (10/29/05). Andre Brown led the way with 133 yards rushing (as well as three touchdowns), while Jamelle Eugene added 38, freshman Curtis Underwood had 32 and quarterback Harrison Beck had 18.
NC State scored four rushing touchdowns in the game, the most for the Pack since scoring four TDs on the ground against North Carolina in 2003. Hopefully, that improved rushing total signifies the solidification of the Pack's offensive line. Coached by Don Horton, who espn.com named the second-best offensive line coach in the nation, NC State's OL had five players on the opening day two-deep who had never played a collegiate game and another who had seen action in just two contests.
Only four players had ever started a game before the Central Florida game and those four had combined for just 38 starts.
Junior tailback Andre Brown led the way for the Wolfpack against Wofford with 133 yards on 21 carries - his first 100-yard rushing game since he had 113 yards in the win over Florida State on October 5, 2006 (ironically, that was the Wolfpack's last win before Saturday).
Brown scored three touchdowns in the victory, tying with 14 other Wolfpack players for the fifth-highest rushing touchdown total in school history. Brown now ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing for the season with 89.7 yards per game and is tied for sixth in scoring.
For his career, Brown, who is on the preseason ‘watch' list for the Doak Walker Award, has 1,594 yards, just one yard from tying for 14th in school history in rushing.
NEW PLAYERS SEE ACTION
Eight different Wolfpack players saw their first collegiate action in Saturday's win over Wofford and 26 players have had their NC State debut so far this season. Five true freshmen have played so far for Tom O'Brien: LB Thomas Barnes, DT Markus Kuhn, WR Owen Spencer, HB Curtis Underwood and OT Jake Vermiglio.
Clemson Game Notes
About the Tigers
Record, 2007............................................3-0 (1-0 ACC)
Colors......................Burnt Orange and Northwest Purple
Athletic Director..............................Dr. Terry Don Phillips
Head Coach.......Tommy Bowden, West Virginia, 1977
Clemson Record/ninth season.....................63-38 (.624)
Career Record/ninth season........................81-42 (.659)
Record against NC State............................................ 5-3
Offensive Coordinator...................................Rob Spence
Defensive Coordinator.................................Vic Koenning
Clemson National Statistical Rankings
Recap of Clemson's last game from CollegeFootballNews.com
Clemson 38 ... Furman 10
Clemson forced five turnovers and had little problem scoring when it had to, as Cullen Harper threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Grisham, a 33-yarder to Jacoby Ford, and a 23-yard score to Aaron Kelly. The Tigers only ran for 60 yards, but got a two-yard James Davis touchdown run early on. The defense did the rest, not allowing a Furman touchdown until late in the fourth.
Player of the game: Clemson QB Cullen Harper went 16-of-19 for 266 yards and three touchdown passes.
Stat Leaders: Furman - Passing: Jordan Sorrells, 18-28, 172 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Jerome Felton, 20-74. Receiving: Patrick Sprague, 5-56
Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 16-19, 266 yds, 3 TDs
Rushing: James Davis, 9-58. Receiving: Aaron Kelly, 6-79, 1 TD
What does it all mean,? ... This is a team sorely in need of a real game. While there might not be too much of a reason to be concerned about 60 rushing yards against Furman, it wasn't a good sign before going into the NC State game. At the moment, the offense is all on QB Cullen Harper, who has completed 36 of his last 45 passes for 536 yards and eight touchdowns, but that was against UL Monroe and Furman. That's fine; that's what cupcake games are for. Now it's time to go back to the bread and butter and get James Davis and C.J. Spiller rolling again.
Clemson vs. NC State Series Notes
Overall, Clemson has a 47-27-1 lead in the series against NC State, including a 16-15 lead in games in Raleigh and a 11-8 lead in games played at Carter-Finley Stadium. Clemson holds a 20-11 record in games played at Clemson, including a 17-11 mark at Death Valley.
The series dates to 1899 when Clemson was victorious 24-0 in a game played in Rock Hill, SC. That was just the fourth year of Clemson football and the 16th game in the school's history.
Eight of the last 10 games have been decided by eight points or less, including two of the last three. The 2004 game at Clemson was decided on the last play of the game when Charles Bennett made an interception at the goal line. Last year's game was a 20-14 Clemson win and NC State drove to the Clemson 30-yard-line before freshman Ricky Sapp recorded a sack on the last play.
Each team has one win by 20 points or more over the last 10 years and both of those games were on Thursday night. So every day game between the two teams the last 10 years has been decided by eight points or less. NC State won at Clemson on a Thursday night in 2002 by a 38-6 score, and Clemson won in 2005 on a Thursday night, 31-10.
NC State's last win in the series took place on a Thursday night in Raleigh in 2003, a 17-15 Pack win. Philip Rivers led the Pack to the victory in a battle of San Diego Chargers quarterbacks. Clemson's QB that night was Charlie Whitehurst who now backs up Rivers in San Diego.
NC State was Clemson's nemesis team from 1986-88. The Tigers won the ACC Championship each year under Danny Ford, but never beat the Pack in the process, losing all three seasons. It was the only loss for Clemson in the ACC in each of those years.
Tommy Bowden is 5-3 against NC State since he has been at Clemson. That includes a 2-2 record in Raleigh and a 3-1 ledger at Clemson. Clemson's wins under Bowden in Raleigh took place in 2001 and 2005.
In recent years the two teams have won in two-game sets. Clemson won in 1996 and 1997. NC State followed with victories in 1998 and 1999, then Clemson won in 2000 and 2001 behind Woody Dantzler who rushed for at least 100 yards from the quarterback position in each game. NC State won in 2002 and 2003 behind Phillip Rivers, while Clemson won in 2004 and 2005. Clemson then broke the streak last year by also winning, extending the streak to three games.
Clemson's longest winning streak in the series is five games (1981-85), while
NC State's longest winning streak in the series is six (1971-76).
Clemson Players to watch
RB James Davis...Davis has rushed 34 times for 228 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and has three runs longer than 20 yards.
RB CJ Spiller...Spiller has big play capability and has rushed for 85 yards on 26 carries this year. He also has eight receptions for 119 yards with a long reception of 68 yards. Spiller leads the Tigers with 108 all purpose yards per game.
WR Jacoby Ford...Ford has rushed the ball just six times but has picked up 74 yards and is averaging better than 12 yards per carry. He has also hauled in five passes for 123 yards and three scores. He has three receptions for better than 20 yards with a long of 52 yards.
QB Cullen Harper...Harper has completed 50 of 69 passes for 696 yards through three games. He has tossed 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions and is currently rated as the No. 4 most efficient QB in the nation.
WR Aaron Kelly...Kelly has 14 receptions for 194 yards and three scores with a long reception of 41 yards.
LB Nick Watkins...leads the Tigers with 32 tackles.
DE Phillip Merling...Merling is Clemson's top threat on the defensive line and he's tallied 21 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and four QB hurries so far this year.
CB Crezdon Butler...Butler leads the Tiger secondary with 18 tackles, including 16 solo hits. He also has one interception.
NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart
|2007 NC State Depth Chart|
Thanks to NC State and Clemson Athletics for much of the information in this preview.