#5 Clemson Defeats #10 NCST 30-20

Clemson NC State Postgame Synopsis: A Statement Victory

Clemson and NC State’s long-awaited rematch is finally here. This game has evolved into one of the most heated rivalries in the country. Here is how the top ten matchup played out.

Before we get into the matchup, a well-deserved shoutout is for the energy the crowd brought to Death Valley on Saturday Night. It very well reminds you of the 2016 matchup against Louisville when Lamar Jackson came to town. Now, onto the game.

The first quarter was like the start of a heavyweight fight, with both using the first rounds as a feeling-out process. DJ and company would start on offense and move the ball down the field well. They quickly took advantage of how NC State brought their safety down and got easy throws in the passing game. The offense would stall out in the end zone, forcing the Tigers to settle for an easy field goal that would put them up three. NC State’s drive would mirror Clemson’s first drive in many ways. Devin Leary, the preseason ACC player of the year, made plays with his legs and arms to extend the NC State drive. The Wolfpack would also be forced to settle for an easy field goal, leaving the first quarter at a 3-3 tie.

Which team would make a significant statement first? Going into the second quarter, neither team gave up an inch.

Clemson and NC State would continue to trade punches as the first half rolled along. The momentum for NC State shifted when Andrew Makuba was ejected for targeting. His experience was valuable for the secondary, and it was taken from them instantly. The defense on every level is faced with some form of adversity in the form of injuries. The front seven for the Tigers was missing Bryan Bresee, and the secondary now faced the challenge of playing without Makuba. NC State would lead late into the second quarter, up 10-6. The Tigers would respond with an excellent two-minute drill. A combo of fantastic reads by DJ and hard runs by Shipley helped lead Clemson’s offense with a much-needed response headed into halftime. When Clemson has needed DJ the most, he has stepped up significantly.

Clemson would lead the Wolfpack 13-10 at the half. Both traded haymakers with a low-scoring contest going into the third quarter.

The third quarter began with a statement from the Clemson defense. Barrett Carter was shot out of a cannon on a sack, setting the tone in the first play. Leary and the Wolfpack offense would be forced to punt as Clemson would take advantage of the momentum and roll their offense down the field for what would result in a Briningstool touchdown. DJ made plays with his legs and arm to once again give Clemson an edge they simply did not have last year. The Tigers would go up ten early in the third quarter with all the momentum. The Wolfpack would not go down without an answer, getting three on the board to put Clemson’s lead down to single digits. The third quarter would become an exchange of punts as neither offense could get things rolling on their side. The momentum was swung in Clemson’s favor when Toriano Pride Jr. came up with an interception that gave Clemson a short field. That would be Pride’s first interception of the game. Antonio Williams would make a critical third down play that gave Clemson a fresh set of downs headed into the fourth.

Could Clemson pull away for their fifth win in a row, or would the Wolfpack pull off a major upset? Here is how the fourth quarter played out.

The fourth began with a redemption make from B.T. Potter, who missed a field goal in the third quarter. Tyler Davis continues to make an impact that won’t get put on the stat sheet. His ability to recognize screens and blow up the play was an edge for the Tigers during the entire game. Clemson’s ten-point lead would stay for most of the fourth quarter as Clemson would control the game creating chaos on defense and playing clean football on offense. The Tigers would methodically run down the clock, draining any hope NC State would have for a miraculous comeback. An old-school bootleg touchdown by DJ would seal the game with Clemson leading 30-13 with three minutes to play.

Overall, Clemson played a very balanced game on both sides of the ball. The defense made huge stops and created turnovers, and the offense picked up the pace when they needed to with big plays from DJ Uiagalelei. Clemson now moves to 5-0 on the season with a signature win heading into October. The Tigers are rolling and firing on all cylinders; it should be very exciting to see where this team is headed as they travel to Boston College next weekend.

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