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No. 9 Clemson stunned by NC State: What we learned about the Tigers

·2 min read

After surviving Georgia Tech a week ago, Clemson’s luck ran out on Saturday evening at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The ninth-ranked Tigers fell to NC State, 27-21, in double overtime for their second loss of the year.

The last time the Tigers (2-2, 1-1) lost at least two regular season games was in 2014, falling to Georgia, Florida State and Georgia Tech. They finished 10-3 and beat Oklahoma that season in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The loss virtually guarantees the Tigers’ elimination from the College Football Playoff picture, which would end a six-year streak.

Offensive woes continue

Clemson’s offense still hasn’t figured it out. After a close call against Georgia Tech at home a week ago, it seemed the Tigers would be able to use that for a big game against NC State. That didn’t happen, however.

The Tigers showed promise with a strong scoring drive in the first quarter that ended with Justyn Ross catching a 32-yard dart from D.J. Uiagalelei at the 9:11 juncture. From there, however, they couldn’t put together another scoring drive. At the half, the group had only nine rushing yards.

Through three quarters, Clemson was 0-for-7 on third-down conversions before converting in the fourth quarter. Another Ross-Uiagalelei connection for 11 yards kept the series alive, ending with a five-yard TD trot from Will Shipley with 10:52 remaining in regulation.

Defensive streak ends

The Tigers’ defense could only hold opponents out of the end zone for so long and NC State got the job done Saturday. An outstretched Emeka Emezie caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Devin Leary with five seconds left in the first quarter.

Clemson did itself no favors with two offsides penalties to give NC State 10 yards.

The Wolfpack reached the end zone again two quarters later with Leary connecting with Devin Carter for a 12-yard score. Earlier in that drive, Tigers linebacker Baylon Spector was called for a personal foul.

Injury bug bites

Coming into the Week 4 contest, Clemson was already going to be down a defensive tackle after Tyler Davis tore his bicep, which required surgery and a seven- to eight-week recovery. The pregame notes also revealed that cornerback Fred Davis would be unavailable. Losing two more defensive players only made things worse.

Sixth-year senior linebacker James Skalski exited Saturday’s contest early in the second quarter and sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Bresee left at the 9:09 mark of the third quarter with a left leg injury.

LaVonta Bentley came in for Skalski, while Ruke Orhorhoro and Tre Williams replaced Tyler Davis and Bresee.

Next Clemson football game

  • Who: Clemson vs Boston College

  • Where: Memorial Stadium in Clemson

  • When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2

  • TV: ACC Network

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