Gameday: NC State vs. Clemson

NC State (1-1) hits the road today to face Clemson (1-1) in the ACC opener for both teams. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised on Raycom Sports.

NC State (1-1) vs. Clemson (1-1)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
6:00 pm (EST)
Raleigh, NC
Death Valley

NC State Links
Official Site
2008 Statistics
Game Notes

Clemson Links
Official Site
2007 Statistics
Game Notes

NC State Game Notes

NC State will travel to face Clemson in its ACC opener in 2008. The Wolfpack posts a 30-24-1 record in its 55 ACC openers. The Pack is 18-13 in ACC road openers, including a 37-17 setback last season at Boston College.

The two teams have met 76 times on the gridiron since the series began in 1899, the third oldest ACC series for the Wolfpack. The Tigers hold a 48-27-1 advantage all-time and have won the last four meetings.

NC State last opened its ACC slate against Clemson with a road win in 1994, 29-12. The last time the Wolfpack played its first ACC road contest of the year against the Tigers was in 2000, a 34-27 loss to fifth-ranked Clemson.

Clemson took down NC State in 2007 in head coach Tom O'Brien's first meeting against the Tigers as the Wolfpack's leader. Clemson won 42-20, with the Tigers outgaining the Wolfpack 608-202 in total offense, posting 340 yards on the ground alone.

O'Brien is 2-1 all-time against Clemson, including a win in his only trip to Death Valley while with Boston College, a 16-13 win in 2005 in overtime. His other win was a 34-33 win in 2006 in Chestnut Hill, with that game going two extra periods.

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 18-9 advantage in the Textile Bowl.

In the past decade, the games between NC State and Clemson have for the most part been ‘made for tv' - with eight of the 11 coming down to the wire. With the exception of Clemson's 31-10 victory in Raleigh in 2005 and 42-20 win in 2007, 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.

Redshirt sophomore Nate Irving has gotten off to a fast start this season and is leading the ACC in tackles-per-game at 11.5 through the first two games. He earned ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors for his play against William & Mary.

Irving posted 13 tackles - including 1.5 for loss - and had an interception and fumble recovery that both setup scores for the Wolfpack against the Tribe. He is second in the conference with 3.5 tackles for loss and second with two interceptions. His two picks rank fifth nationally, and his total tackles rank 10th. He had 10 tackles, including two for loss, and had his first career interception against USC.

In his career, Irving is averaging nine tackles-per-game in his six starts and has had a tackle in all 13 of his career games played. He has notched 54 of his 75 career tackles during the six starts.

Defensive coordinator Mike Archer has used his defensive schemes this season to force more interceptions than any team in the country. The team has six interceptions to lead the NCAA in the category after having just 10 all of last season.

Five of the six interceptions have come from players who had zero career picks coming into the season. DeAndre Morgan, Jimmaul Simmons (on his first career play), Nate Irving and Justin Byers had interceptions against USC. Jeremy Gray had his fourth career interception against William & Mary, and Irving picked off the second pass of the season (and his career).

As any coach will tell you, an important part of notching interceptions and being solid on pass defense is putting pressure on the quarterback. NC State ranks fourth in the NCAA and leads the ACC with eight sacks, with five coming against South Carolina and three more against William & Mary.

The defensive coaches also recorded 15 quarterback pressures after reviewing the game tape against William & Mary, including three each from defensive linemen Markus Kuhn, Keith Willis, Jr., and Willie Young.

Starting quarterback Russell Wilson suffered a grade three concussion in the second quarter of the season opening loss to South Carolina and was transported to Richland Memorial Hospital. It was determined at the hospital that Wilson suffered no injury to his spinal cord.

He played on only one special teams play against William & Mary - as the holder on an extra point - even though head coach Tom O'Brien said Wilson was cleared to play. O'Brien announced during his postgame press conference that Wilson will start against the Tigers this coming Saturday.

Wilson was just 1-of-5 passing for 12 yards, with seven yards rushing, in his debut against the Gamecocks before getting hurt.

Redshirt junior Harrison Beck might be a safer bet as a backup if you look at his numbers during his two-year Wolfpack career.

Beck came off the bench to replace starter Daniel Evans and found success through the air, passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns. In the four games Beck has come off the bench in his career, he has thrown for 525 yards and four touchdowns with only two interceptions.

In the his four starts, Beck has thrown for 624 yards but has eight interceptions and no passing touchdowns (he did run for a score against BC in 2007 in his first career start).

Beck showed signs of being a clutch reliever during his freshman year at Nebraska before transferring to NC State. He came off the Cornhuskers' bench late in the season to complete a 21-yard pass with a minute remaining that led to a game-winning field goal against Kansas State.

Senior running back Andre Brown's performance was perhaps the lone offensive highlight for the Wolfpack in the loss to South Carolina. Brown ran for 101 yards on 21 carries for his sixth career 100-yard rushing effort, tied for ninth in school history with the legendary Dick Christy. Brown now has 1,916 yards rushing, good for 11th all-time in school history. He ranks sixth in the league in rushing after adding 43 yards and a touchdown against William & Mary. Brown needs just five yards to move into 10th place all-time, and 84 yards for 2,000 career rushing yards.

The senior from Greenville, N.C. ranks second in the ACC among active players in career yards and rushing touchdowns (16).

Coaches always tell their players that they are just one play away from being in the game, and NC State's tight ends are a perfect example of this. Last season, NC State ended up using its third-string running back - Jamelle Eugene, who was named team MVP after the season - after its top-two tailbacks went down with season ending injuries. This season, third-string tight end George Bryan is now poised to earn his first start in just his third career game because of injuries.

Redshirt senior tight end Anthony Hill missed the William & Mary game and is out indefinitely with a pectoralis strain. Backup tight end Matt Kushner, who started against the Tribe, left that contest with a knee inury and didn't return.

Now Bryan, a redshirt freshman from Wilmington, N.C., is slated to start against Clemson. Bryan made the most of his opportunities against the Tribe, grabbing five catches for 41 yards and his first career touchdown.

The Wolfpack defense has been extremely stingy in the first half of games so far, giving up just 102 and 103 yards, respectively, against South Carolina and William & Mary. The Pack forced three turnovers in the first half against USC and two against W&M.

The six players listed on the two-deep at linebacker have combined for just 11 career starts, and six of those have come in the first two games in 2008. Redshirt sophomore Nate Irving has six of those starts and redshirt junior Ray Michel has started three. Irving leads the ACC in tackles at 11.5 per game, while Michel is averaging eight stops in the first two contests.

Redshirt senior Robbie Leonard, a former walkon, not only had never PLAYED linebacker in a collegiate game until the opener against South Carolina, but the converted safety had played in only 12 games from scrimmage in his career. He has now started the first two games of the season and is averaging 8.5 tackles-pergame.

Sophomore Owen Spencer has emerged as one of the favorite targets for the quarterbacks this season. He leads the team with eight catches for 109 yards receiving, averaging 54.5 yards-per-game. He has led the Pack in receptions in each of the first two games.

The speedy wideout, from Leland, N.C., had just five catches for 73 yards as a true freshman, and didn't have more than a single catch in a game last year.

Freshman wideout T.J. Graham has instantly added speed to the Wolfpack.

Graham was back as a punt returner and in on kickoff returns in both games, in addition to earning two starts at wide receiver. Graham leads the team in all-purpose yards at 94.5 yards-per-game, the top mark for all freshman in the ACC and ninth overall in the league. He had three catches for 78 yards against William & Mary, including a juggling, highlight-reel 47-yard catch that set the Pack up at the nine yardline late in the third that helped push the lead to 21-3.

Graham won the North Carolina 4-A title in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 10.44 and 20.82, respectively. He also posted the nation's fastest time in the 200 meters at one point during the season. In 2007, Graham finished third nationally in the 100 meters at the Nike Nationals.

Clemson Game Notes And Depth Chart

Record (1-1)

Clemson National Statistical Rankings

Rushing offense...78

Passing offense...58

Total offense...73

Rushing defense...87

Passing defense...91

Total defense...94

Clemson’s last game from

Clemson 45 ... Citadel 17
Clemson got three touchdown runs from C.J. Spiller, three interceptions from Michael Hamlin, and 525 yards of total offense in a breather. James Davis started off the scoring with a 38-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, and then it was spiller with runs from 37, 1 and 17 yards out. Citadel moved the ball well with Bard Blanchard hitting Andre Roberts on a 41-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but Clemson had things well in hand taking a 42-7 lead into the middle of the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Clemson S Michael Hamlin made 10 tackles and three interceptions
Stat Leaders: Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 14-18, 192 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: James Davis, 13-107, 1 TD. Receiving: Jacoby Ford, 5-60
Citadel - Passing: Bart Blanchard, 22-35, 279 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Bart Blanchard, 9-27,. Receiving: Andre Roberts, 9-153, 1 TD

What does it all mean? ... Blowing away Citadel will hardly make up for the loss to Alabama, but it was a necessary blasting to show that yes, the offense really does work. While the outcome was never in doubt, it would've been nice if the defense had played better, giving up 427 yards and 338 through the air. Granted, most of the yards were meaningless, but for everyone's sake, the bigger the blowouts right now, the better. Another big win is needed next week against NC State to keep moving forward.

NC State-Clemson Series History:

Clemson leads 48-27-1

at Clemson: Clemson leads 20-11

at Memorial Stadium: Clemson leads 17-11

at NC State : Clemson leads 17-15

Last Meeting: Clemson 42-20 in 2007

Streak: Clemson won 4 in row

Clemson Looks for Fifth Straight Win over Wolfpack

Clemson will be looking for its fifth straight victory over NC State. The streak started with a 26-20 victory at Clemson in 2004 on a last-second interception by Charles Bennett. The Tigers won the 2005 game at NC State on a Thursday night ESPN game by a 31-10 score on a 143-yard rushing night by then freshman James Davis. Clemson won its third straight over the Pack last year, a 20-14 victory at Clemson behind a 154-yard game by C.J. Spiller. Clemson won last year’s game behind a 340-yard rushing performance. The Tigers gained 608 yards of total offense in last year’s win, a school record on an opponent’s home field.

Clemson has not beaten NC State five years in a row since winning five in a row from 1981-85. The current Clemson senior class is trying to become just the sixth Tiger senior class to sweep NC State four straight times in school history. Clemson senior classes who have been 4-0 against NC State include the seniors on the 1931 team, the 1951 team, the 1984 team, the 1985 team and the 2007 seniors. Clemson has had other four-game winning streaks against the Pack, but they have not come in consecutive years.

If Clemson gains victory over NC State it would be the first time Clemson has swept an ACC opponent five straight years since the Tigers swept Duke five straight between 1999-03. The Clemson record for consecutive wins over an ACC rival is 29. Clemson won the first 29 meetings in its series with Virginia between 1955-89.

Davis and Spiller Both have Run Well vs. NC State

Clemson running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller have been very successful against NC State over their respective careers. Both have had two 100-yard rushing games and average nearly 7.0 yards per carry between them. They have combined for seven touchdowns.

In 2005, Davis was a freshman and had 12-143 rushing in Clemson’s 31-10 victory on a Thursday night in Raleigh. NC State had three first-round draft choices on the defensive front, but Davis ran through the group effectively. In fact, he suffered a broken wrist and played just half the game.

In 2006, C.J. Spiller had 154 yards rushing on 18 attempts and scored a touchdown on a 52-yard run to lead the Tigers to victory. The 154 yards are the second best total of his Clemson career. He averaged 8.6 yards per rush in that game.

Last year, Spiller and Davis both had 100-yard rushing games, leading the Tigers to 340 yards of total offense. Davis had 24-166 and a touchdown rushing and had four catches for 13 yards and a touchdown receiving. It is the second highest rushing yards in a game in his career. Spiller had 21-114 rushing and had 3-34 receiving. Like Davis, Spiller had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in Clemson’s 42-20 win. It was one of four games over the last two years that Spiller and Davis both had at least 100 yards rushing. The duo combined for 280 yards rushing in the game, their second highest combined game. They had 332 yards rushing against Georgia Tech in 2006.

Combined, Spiller and Davis have 611 rushing yards in 88 attempts, a 6.94 average against NC State.

Clemson 1-2 vs. Tom O’Brien

Clemson has won four straight games against NC State, but the Tigers have won just one in a row over Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien. When O’Brien was the head coach at Boston College, his Eagles defeated the Tigers twice, both in overtime. In 2005, Boston College downed Clemson at Death Valley 16-13 in one overtime and in 2006 his Eagles stopped the Tigers 34-33 in double overtime in Boston.

Clemson broke its losing streak against O’Brien last year in a 42-20 Tiger win over NC State in Raleigh.

O’Brien is the fifth person to coach against Clemson as the head coach of two different ACC teams. The others to do it are Bill Dooley (North Carolina and Wake Forest), Al Groh (Wake Forest and Virginia), Bobby Ross (Maryland and Georgia Tech), and Jim Tatum (Maryland and North Carolina).

O’Brien is the 10th coach to bring two different schools into Death Valley to face the Tigers. The others are Jerry Claiborne (Maryland and Kentucky), Bill Dooley (North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest), Al Groh (Wake Forest and Virginia), Lou Holtz (NC State and South Carolina), Bobby Ross (The Citadel, Maryland, Georgia Tech), Dick Sheridan (Duke, South Carolina), Steve Spurrier (Duke and South Carolina), Jim Tatum (Maryland and North Carolina) and Sparky Woods (Appalachian State and South Carolina).

NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer also had success against Clemson in the past. He was the Kentucky defensive coordinator in the Wildcats 28-20 win over Clemson in the 2006 Music City Bowl.

Tigers from North Carolina

Clemson will play NC State on Saturday, one of three games against teams from the Tar Heel State on Clemson’s schedule this year. Clemson has increased its recruiting efforts in recent years in North Carolina and now 12 players on the Tigers roster list North Carolina as its home state.

Recruiting coordinator Billy Napier has made that area a priority and he personally has signed the scholarship players from North Carolina. Only one of the 12 players in their final year of eligibility, so these players should have an impact for some time to come. Crezdon Butler and Chris Hairston are currently starters, while many others are prominent backups.

Clemson has a history of outstanding players from the Tar Heel state on its roster. Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team had 20 players on the roster from North Carolina, including All-Americans Jeff Davis (Greensboro) and Perry Tuttle (Winston-Salem).

Clemson Has Young Lines

If Clemson is to have a strong season this year it will have to accomplish it with young offensive and defensive lines. According to the depth chart entering the game against NC State the Tigers have 19 players listed as first or second team offensive or defensive linemen and only one of the players is a senior. That is Dorell Scott, who is in his third year as a starting defensive tackle.

Scott made his 28th career start against The Citadel and has now played 37 games over four years. But, he is the only senior in the group of linemen on both sides of the ball. Senior Rashaad Jackson, who was slated to be a starter prior to the season, suffered a knee injury in a preseason scrimmage and will be out until at least mid-season.

Clemson does not have a single offensive lineman on scholarship who is a senior.

Tigers Have Used 8 First-Year Freshmen

Clemson’s class of 24 new freshmen scholarship players was ranked second best in the nation by Six of those players saw action in the first game of the year against Alabama. The list includes Da’Quan Bowers, ranked as the number-one player in the nation by, starting punter Dawson Zimmerman, Dwayne McClain, Jamie Harper, Stanley Hunter and Marquan Jones. Two more, Brandon Thompson and Dan Andrews played against The Citadel.

In the last 27 years (including 2008) Clemson has played 159 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.9 per season. Sixty-six of the first-year freshmen who have played have been offensive players, while 88 have been defensive players and five have been kickers.

Since Tommy Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 61 first-year freshmen, 22 on offense, 36 on defense and three special teams. That is an average of 6.1 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden right at the Clemson average since the red-shirt rule came into effect in 1982.

The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985 and in 2007.

The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson team that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season.

The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is 11, set last year.,

Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 26 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller).

Clemson Depth Chart

Clemson Offense

Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.

LT 61 CHRIS HAIRSTON 6-6 320 *So.

72 Landon Walker 6-5 300 *Fr.

LG 73 DAVID SMITH 6-5 290 *Fr.

70 Jamarcus Grant 6-4 315 *Jr.

C 65 THOMAS AUSTIN 6-3 315 *Jr.

55 Bobby Hutchinson 6-3 320 *Sr.

RG 62 MASON CLOY 6-3 310 *Fr.

64 Wilson Norris 6-4 310 *Fr.

RT 76 CORY LAMBERT 6-6 310 *Jr.

74 Antoine McClain 6-5 325 Fr.

TE 86 MICHAEL PALMER 6-5 250 Jr.

84 Akeem Robinson 6-4 255 *Gr.

TE 82 DURRELL BARRY 6-4 245 *Jr.

92 Kasey Nobles 6-1 240 *So.

WR 80 AARON KELLY 6-5 190 *Sr.

21 Xavier Dye 6-5 210 So.

QB 10 CULLEN HARPER 6-4 225 *Gr.

3 Willy Korn 6-2 220 *Fr.

RB 1 JAMES DAVIS 5-11 215 Sr.

8 Jamie Harper 5-11 235 Fr.

RB 28 C.J. SPILLER 5-11 195 Jr.

23 Andre Ellington 5-10 180 Fr.

FB 30 CHAD DIEHL 6-2 250 *Fr.

WR 13 TYLER GRISHAM 5-11 180 Sr.

83 Nelson Faerber 5-11 185 *Sr.

87 Terrance Ashe 6-2 190 *So.

WR 6 JACOBY FORD 5-10 185 Jr.

26 Marquan Jones 5-11 185 Fr.

Clemson Defense

Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.


93 Da’Quan Bowers 6-4 275 Fr.

NG 97 DORELL SCOTT 6-3 310 *Sr.

98 Brandon Thompson 6-2 315 Fr.

DT 99 JARVIS JENKINS 6-4 305 So.

89 Miguel Chavis 6-5 280 So.

50 Jock McKissic 6-7 310 Sr.

BE 7 RICKY SAPP 6-4 240 Jr.

90 Kourtnei Brown 6-4 240 So.

or 40 Andre Branch 6-5 250 *Fr.

SLB 44 SCOTTY COOPER 6-1 215 So.

2 DeAndre McDaniel 6-1 200 So.

MLB 20 BRANDON MAYE 6-2 225 *Fr.

17 Stanley Hunter 5-11 225 Fr.

47 Josh Miller 6-1 230 Sr.

WLB 33 KAVELL CONNER 6-1 225 *Jr.

48 Jeremy Campbell 6-1 220 Jr.

CB 38 CHRIS CHANCELLOR 5-10 165 *Jr.

12 Marcus Gilchrist 5-11 185 So.

CAT 25 MICHAEL HAMLIN 6-3 205 *Gr.

29 Haydrian Lewis 6-0 190 Sr.

FS 22 CHRIS CLEMONS 6-1 210 *Gr.

27 Sadat Chambers 5-11 190 *Jr.

CB 18 CREZDON BUTLER 6-0 185 Jr.

36 Byron Maxwell 6-1 200 *So.

Clemson Specialists

Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.

PK 14 MARK BUCHHOLZ 6-0 215 *Gr.

19 Richard Jackson 5-11 190 *So.

P 49 JIMMY MANERS 6-0 190 *Gr.

96 Dawson Zimmerman 6-1 200 Fr.

KO 14 Mark Buchholz 6-0 215 *Gr.

LS 52 Charles Roediger 6-0 200 *Sr.

75 Matt Skinner 6-7 235 Fr.

HO 16 Michael Wade 6-1 205 *So.

PR 28 C.J. Spiller 5-11 195 Jr.

6 Jacoby Ford 5-10 185 Jr.

KOR 28 C.J. Spiller 5-11 195 Jr.

6 Jacoby Ford 5-10 185 Jr.

* - spent one season as a red-shirt player

NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

2008 NC State Depth Chart
16Russell Wilson5-11/191Fr.*
12Harrison Beck6-2/220Jr.*
24 Andre Brown 6-0/228Sr.
3 Curtis Underwood, Jr. 5-11/215So.
27 Harrison Ritcher 5-11/215So.*
47 Taylor Gentry 6-2/215Fr.
Wide Receiver
13Owen Spencer6-3/180So.
15 Darrell Davis 6-4/212So.*
Wide Receiver
5 Jarvis Williams 6-4/205 So.*
88 Geron James 6-3/220Jr.*
Tight End
84 George Bryan 6-5/250Fr.*
84 Eric Weaver 6-7/235So.*
Left Tackle
73 Julian Williams 6-5/305Jr.*
61 Matt White6-6/325Sr.*
Left Guard
75 John Bedics 6-4/295Sr.*
70 Jake Vermiglio6-5/315So.
58 Teddy Larsen 6-2/295Jr.*
74 Andy Barbee6-3/310Jr.*
Right Guard
60 Meares Green6-4/306Sr.*
76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/320Sr.
Right Tackle
50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/330Jr.*
71 Gary Gregory6-4/305So.*

Special Teams
Place Kicker
36Josh Czajkowski5-9/184So.*
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
38Jeff Ruiz6-2/185Jr.
Long Snapper
56Corey Tedder6-1/212Jr.
57Michael Maurer5-11/225Jr.
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
56Corey Tedder6-1/212Jr.
Kick Returner
88 Geron James 6-3/220Jr.*
6 T.J. Graham 6-0/180Fr.
Punt Returner
6 T.J. Graham OR 6-0/180 Fr.
88 Geron James 6-3/220Jr.*
Left Defensive End
98 Shea McKeen 6-5/250Jr.
91 Markus Kuhn 6-5/280So.
Left Defensive Tackle
96 Antoine Holmes 6-2/281Sr.
94 Keith Willis Jr. 6-1/284Sr.*
Right Defensive Tackle
49 Alan-Michael Cash 6-1/286Jr.*
95 LeRoy Burgess 6-1/300Jr.
Right Defensive End
97 Willie Young 6-4/243Jr.*
99 Jeff Rieskamp 6-3/235Fr.*
Weakside Linebacker
56 Nate Irving 6-1/225So.*
41 Dwayne Maddox 6-2/225Fr.
Middle Linebacker
44 Ray Michel 6-0/224Jr.*
7 Sterling Lucas 6-2/220Fr.
Strongside Linebacker
34Robbie Leonard 6-0/205Sr.*
16 Ryan Goodman 6-2/205Sr.*
30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/188Gr.*
20 Dominique Ellis 5-11/190Fr.
14 J.C. Neal 5-11/195Sr.
32 Jimmaul Simmons 6-2/200 Fr.*
28 Justin Byers 6-0/185Fr.*
31 Bobby Floyd 5-9/211 Jr.
21 DeAndre Morgan 5-10/170So.*
33Koyal George 5-11/175Jr.*

Thanks to NC State and Clemson Athletics for much of the information in this preview.

Pack Pride Top Stories