The Hangover, Part II: Scouting North Carolina State

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

CLEMSON – Welcome back to game week. Time to shift into fifth gear on focusing on ACC action, and it’s a doozy of a test to start things off for top-five squad Clemson. Don’t let the Vegas line fool you.

Rashard Smith

Who: No. 3 Clemson (2-0) at North Carolina State (2-0)

When: Thursday, 7:45 p.m. ET

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583) | Raleigh, N.C.

TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, Samantha Ponder)

Radio: Clemson Radio Network (WQSC-AM 1340 in Charleston) | Affiliates

Line: Clemson by -13.5

What to know about North Carolina State: Rotten luck when it comes to the quarterback position. Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell won a lengthy battle over Pete Thomas, and after opening 3-for-3 for 93 yards and a couple of TD drives, he broke his foot, and will miss six weeks. So it’s now up to Thomas, a Colorado State transfer who’s 39-for-58 for 449 yards and no touchdowns, with three interceptions … against Louisiana Tech and Richmond, the Wolf Pack defense has yielded, in the fourth quarter, an average of 6 rushing yards and 25 passing yards … North Carolina State’s six fumble recoveries lead the nation … kicker Niklas Sade is 7-for-7 on his FG tries, including three from 45 or more yards out, and he’s 13-for-15 kicking touchbacks … It’s a predominantly Wisconsin-heavy staff; head coach Dave Doeren, who cut his teeth as a Badgers defensive coordinator before bringing Northern Illinois to last year’s Orange Bowl, hired Matt Canada, Dave Huxtable and Eddie Faulkner as other Madison-bred coordinators … Doeren (41 years old) and Dabo Swinney (43) are the ACC’s youngest coaches … impressive stat from the NC State sports information lords: Doeren is 46-3 on his home turf as a Wisconsin assistant or NIU/NC State head coach.

When last they met: Clemson 62, NC State 48, on Nov. 17, 2012 in Clemson: the series’ highest-scoring game ever. The Tigers’ 754 yards of offense were the second-highest effort in program history, on a school record-setting 102 plays. It’s the only game in Clemson history with two 100-yard rushers (Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington) and two 100-yard receivers (Sammy Watkins and Brandon Ford.)

All-time series: Clemson leads 52-28-1, with a slight 18-16 edge in Raleigh and 13-9 at Carter-Finley. The Tigers have won eight of the last nine, but the lone loss was 37-13 in Clemson’s previous visit to Raleigh – when the Tigers were ranked seventh in the country and the Wolf Pack were unranked.

This game has been known as the “Textile Bowl” since Clemson’s 1981 championship season, since both the Carolinas have deep economic ties to the industry and each school has esteemed textile programs.

Which Clemson Tiger is licking his chops: Senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who totaled eight touchdowns against the Wolf Pack last year. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it any less the case.

Who’s keeping the Clemson coaches up at night: Freshman receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who leads the Wolf Pack with 174 receiving yards through two games, co-leads with 12 catches, will draw Clemson’s No. 2 attention (opposite Rashard Smith) and is destined to become a radio play-by-play man’s worst nightmare. So, actually count Pete Yanity among the folks staring at the ceiling Wednesday night dreading the “MVS Effect.”

Extra point: NC State 37, Clemson 13 in 2011 has already been brought up. Don’t forget NC State 17, Florida State 16 last season, on Thursday night, which introduced the nation to The Shirtless Dancing Super Fan. If I’m the Clemson coaches, I’m playing some medley of highlights from those two games on loop in the locker room the past week (shirtless dancing super fan images optional) to capture my players’ attention.

-AB

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