By the Numbers: N.C. State at No. 3 Clemson

Clemson v North Carolina State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Third-ranked Clemson hosts NC State today at Memorial Stadium in Clemson (Noon, ABC). The Tigers enter this game having won 12 consecutive ACC games and has won the last four meetings with the Wolfpack in their series and 11 of the last 12.

8.1: Average yards per attempt for N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley this season. That average ties him for sixth place out of 13 qualifying signal-callers in the Atlantic Coast Conference, not a bad standing in a league with several talented players at that position. Finley’s average is also indicative of a player having quite a bit of success completing a high rate of safe throws. Last season, Jacoby Brissett ranked tenth in the ACC out of 12 qualifying quarterbacks in yards per attempt. This means that, in spite of a new offense that prioritizes higher-percentage passes, the Wolfpack are already stretching the field more frequently in 2016.

11: Unbeaten teams, including Clemson, in FBS college football. Each year, fans forget how difficult it is to go undefeated for an entire season, so the assumption that a wide swath of teams will go unscathed gains traction. When taking into account teams that will face each other in the regular season (Ohio State-Michigan, Texas A&M-Alabama, Baylor-West Virginia) the maximum number of unbeaten at the end of each schedule is eight. Conference title matchups drop the number down to seven, and two are non-Power 5 teams Boise State and Western Michigan. Basically, if Clemson keeps winning, there is virtually zero chance the Tigers won’t be in the College Football Playoff.

14.7: Average margin of victory for Clemson since 2004 in home games against N.C. State. The Wolfpack have fallen to the Tigers six consecutive times, giving up 190 points in the process. The last time Clemson lost to N.C. State in Memorial Stadium was 2002, when a quarterback named Philip Rivers and a freshman tailback named T.A. McClendon took the Tigers behind the woodshed on a Thursday night by a score of 38-6. Since that point, many of the contests between these two squads have been nip-and-tuck. That designation doesn’t apply to Dave Doeren’s only trip to Death Valley—a 41-0 shellacking two seasons ago. In fact, three of the past four home wins Clemson has in the series have come by at least two touchdowns.

42: Consecutive victories by Clemson over unranked opponents. This streak likely doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the origin point relates to this game. On November 19, 2011, the Tigers—still riding the wave from a last-second Atlantic Division title earned the week before—ran into a buzzsaw with the Wolfpack. N.C. State defeated Clemson 37-13 that day, part of a string of four losses in six games to finish off the 2011 campaign. With the memories of that resounding defeat still strong, Dabo Swinney’s program began to write a brand new script at the beginning of 2012 to overcome many of the sins of its past. If all goes according to Swinney’s plan, N.C. State could be the 43rd consecutive unranked victim on Saturday—the fifth time the Wolfpack will have made this list.

50: Wins over Atlantic Coast Conference teams for Swinney in his Clemson career. He became only the eighth coach in league history to reach that plateau in last week’s 56-10 victory over Boston College. He is the second Clemson coach to join that club, along with Frank Howard and his 66 league wins. Danny Ford had 44 wins against ACC teams because of the effects of probation, which wiped out all conference results for the Tigers during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Among coaches in the modern era of ACC expansion, only Bobby Bowden (118) and Frank Beamer (72) have reached that mark, making Swinney the active leader in wins over ACC teams.

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