Of course, that would amount to the defense of the NC State.
In overtime, with Clemson facing a fourth and five, led by six, the Wolfpack defense, one of the ACC’s best, forced an incomplete pass, knocking down the No.9 Tigers, 27-21 at Carter Stadium. Finley. DJ Uiagalele missed Justyn Ross in the back corner of the end zone, creating a rush to the field from fans in the State, desperate for a big win. It was the first win on a Top 10 program for Dave Doeren, who was 0 for 10 on his previous attempts. This is the fourth victory against a Clemson team ranked in the Top 10 for the Wolfpack.
Christopher Dunn missed the game 39 yards with zero ticks on the clock, sending the game into overtime. Dunn missed three baskets in regulation time. Clemson got the ball first in overtime and after two straight runs from Uiagalele, freshman Will Shipley moved the ball inside the 10.
Uiagalele hit Ross for 9 yards in overtime to give Clemson a 21-14 lead in the extra session. The Pack responded, scoring on a 2-yard connection from Devin Leary to Thayer Thomas. Dunn tied the score at 21 after the PAT. The Wolfpack picked up the ball straight away and scored in two games, this time a 22-yard pass from Leary to Devin Carter. Usually NC State had to go for two and the conversion failed.
Clemson tied the score at 14 early in the fourth, starting his second goal from 80 yards in the contest. Will Shipley, who had been bottled all day, broke for a gain of 16 and finished the race with a score of 5 yards. Clemson’s big play came on a 37-yard run from quarterback Uiagalele to put the Tigers in the red zone for the first time.
The two sides exchanged goals and turnovers in the first half and the game ended in a deadlock at the break at 7.
Clemson covered 80 yards in five games in his second practice of the game to take a 7-0 lead on a 32-yard pass from Uiagalelei to Justyn Ross. NC State responded with a 54-yard strike in 10 games, topped off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Devin Leary’s Emeka Emezie.
NC State fumbled on their second drive in the second quarter, but didn’t give up any runs, and just four yards on Clemson’s possession that followed. Wolfpack linebacker Drake Thomas had the NC State’s first forced turnover of the day, knocking out Uiagalelei to end the Tigers’ final half-time training.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED
Defense can get sacks
The bags and the pressure had been a major subject of discussion for the defense of the NC State. Even though they had come off the pitch in previous matches, the sacks were hard to find. The Wolfpack defense entered the game with five sacks in three games. Defensive tackle Corey Durden, replacing CJ Clark, bagged back-to-back sacks in the first half to stop a drive from Clemson.
NC State still has work to do
Dave Doeren spoke about the maturity of this team, but they didn’t show it sometimes, especially in the first half. A week after having just three penalties against Furman, NC State has been flagged 11 times for 105 yards.
The Pack received nine penalties for 85 yards in the first half, including two personal fouls. The second, a hit over first-year tight end Ezemdi Udoh just before halftime, moved NC State out of Clemson territory. After six straight runs and a Devin Leary assist and run that brought the pack back to Clemson territory, NC State was called up for a cut block. Practice ended with a failed 53-yard attempt by Christopher Dunn.
NC State and deep ball problems
NC State still struggles to connect on deep passes. Leary made a living throwing passes at Emeka Emezie and company, but the ability to gain the upper hand over Clemson’s defense was one failed passing game after another.
In the first half, Leary missed Carter as the ball was only a hair’s breadth out of reach. In the team’s first practice in the third quarter, Leary missed Anthony Carter. Both players took a step and were in the end zone for what would have been an easy touchdown.
NC State can score the ball on anyone
Clemson hadn’t allowed a touchdown in three games, but it took three drives for NC State to end that streak. The Tigers entered the game ranked among the top five defensive scorers. The most points given by Clemson ahead of the game was 10 against No.2 Georgia in Game 1 of the season.
In addition to the 39-yard miss, Dunn missed two goals over 50 yards against Clemson. In the first half, he missed one of 53, which would have given NC State a 10-7 lead at halftime. In the fourth quarter, he missed one in 51, which would have given the Wolfpack a 17-14 advantage. Dunn’s career is 53 years.
This story was originally published September 25, 2021 at 7:26 pm.