Swinney: ‘This is playoff football’
If the NC State Wolfpack is looking for someone to feel sorry for them after Saturday’s loss at Notre Dame, it surely will not be No. 5 Clemson.
The Tigers, who are coming off a big win at home over Georgia Tech, have their own issues to worry about and their focus is not what happened to No. 19 NC State in South Bend, Ind.
“We are not worried about NC State or what their feelings are,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during his teleconference call with the media on Sunday. “Our guys know how fortunate we were to beat them last year. This is a great football team. This is playoff football right here, man.
“It’s November. You just try to win and you keep moving forward if you want to stay in the hunt for this league”
NC State (6-2, 4-0 ACC) will try to move forward with some question marks at key positions. Running back Nyheim Hines was injured in the second quarter on Saturday and tried to return but he could not run the same. He is questionable with an ankle injury for Saturday.
Defensive tackles Justin Jones and Eurndraus Bryant were also hurt in the game as was defensive end Darian Roseboro.
If they are unable to play next week, they could be key losses for the Wolfpack, who will play Clemson for perhaps the right to represent the ACC Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Charlotte.
“Everybody knows what’s at stake and is looking forward to a great challenge,” Swinney said. “They are a heck of a team and have had a great year. They are very, very talented and very impressive. I have watched them a few times this year on different crossover tapes and I know we have our hands full.”
The injuries seemed to catch up with State on Saturday. With Hines out, the ‘Pack ran for just 50 yards on the ground, while missing Jones, Bryant and Roseboro allowed the Irish to run for 318 yards.
Swinney glad to be playing in the afternoon. After Clemson beat Georgia Tech Saturday night, the ACC announced Clemson’s game at NC State next week will be a 3:30 p.m. kick and will be televised by ABC. Swinney was ecstatic to learn the news because the Tigers had played 13 straight games at night when away from Death Valley, counting the ACC Championship Games and the College Football Playoff of course.
Swinney said it was refreshing to get an afternoon road game for a change.
“I’ll be lying if I said it wasn’t, just simply because we played 13 night games in a row away from here,” Swinney said. “That’s a lot of games. That’s a lot of 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the mornings. So I was happy about it.
“Again, it’s that time of the year. It is late in the season. You don’t control those things so you don’t really spend any time worrying about it. You just embrace it. Like I said, we went 12-1 in those 13 games too so it is not like we make a big deal out of it. But certainly, when I heard it was 3:30, it did not disappointment me, that’s for sure. At least you know you will hopefully get home around midnight I guess.
Tanner Muse injured. Safety Tanner Muse suffered a wrist injury early in the game against Georgia Tech. He was taken out and the wrist was X-rayed. He returned to the game with a cast on and played the rest of the game.
Swinney said Muse will continue to play with the cast on.