By Lee Lance.
“Anybody’s Guess”, NC State Preview
In a football series that dates back to 1899, Clemson holds a 50-27-1 overall in match-ups with the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Eight of the last 13 games have been decided by eight points or less, but Clemson has won by at least 18 points each of the last three years, 42-20 in 2007 in Raleigh, 27-9 in 2008, and 43-23 last year in Raleigh.
Clemson also holds an advantage in games played at Death Valley, 18-11.
From week to week, The Clemson Insider has taken a little of an in depth look at the Tigers and their opponents, including trying to predict the flow of the Tiger’s offense versus an opponents defense as well as the Tiger’s ability to control the opponents strengths when they themselves are on defense.
As you all know, this has proven to be a tough challenge, and one that we honestly don’t even know how to call anymore. Of course each week presents the Tigers with different advantages, but also many disadvantages, but trying to decide which you will see any given Saturday has become a bit of anybody’s guess.
This week, we will do things a little differently. This week I will simply show you the numbers, so-to-say, and we will let you all give your opinion on what we might see come kick-off. Here goes.
Clemson Offense vs NC State Defense
On offense, the Tigers have been averaging just under 28 points per game and have scored 15 touchdowns on the run and 11 touchdowns through the air. Clemson averages 165 rushing yards per game on an average 35.5 rushing attempts per game, equalling 4.6 yards per carry.
Clemson also puts up an average of 178 yards per game through the air, 11.6 yards per pass, and averages 29 total passing attempts per game. The Tigers also have seven interceptions on the year, an average of nearly one per game, as well as four fumbles lost on the season.
Defensively, the Wolfpack have been holding their opponents to just under 24 points per game, 23.8, and are giving up an average of 353 yards per game. State allows 200 yards per game, on average, passing and 152 yards per game on the ground. Wolfpack opponents are gaining 4.4 yards per running attempt and 12.1 yards per completion. State has taken away seven interceptions this season and 12 fumbles.
Clemson Defense vs NS State Offense
The Tiger’s defense has been holding opponetns to a respectable 18 points per game. Clemson defenders have given up an average of 159 yards per game on the ground and 188 yards per game through the air. Those numbers average out to 3.9 yards per carry and 12.9 yards per completed pass.
The Tiger defense has picked off opponent quarterbacks 12 times and has recovered two fumbles.
On the flip side, the Wolfpack offense is averaging an impressive 35 points per game on an average of an equally impressive 440 yards per game. State is averaging 143 yards per game on the ground, 3.7 yards per carry and 296 yards per game through the air, 12.1 yards per completion. The Wolfpack has scored 12 touchdowns on the ground and 19 td’s through the air.
State is averaging over one interception per game, ten total through eight games, and has also lost five fumbles on the season.
Clemson averages 22.4 yards per kickoff return and 13 yards per punt return while State’s special teams coverage gives up, on average, 21.4 yards per kick return and 9.8 yards per punt return.
The Wolfpack are returning opponents kickoffs 19.1 yards and punts 7.3 yards while the Tigers are holding opponents to 20.9 yards per kick return and just 5.8 yards per punt return.
Clemson averages 44 yards per punt on the season while the Pack are averaging 38.5 yards per punt.
Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro has made just seven field goals on 12 attempts. NC State placekicker Josh Czajkowski is 12-of-15.
Final Analysis and Prediction
As I said above, this week we are calling this game “anybody’s guess”. This is in no way meant at a knock on the Tigers in any way, but simply more exactly how we feel about this game. Will we see the Tigers return to the form of the Auburn or Georgia Tech games, or will we see the team that played North Carolina or Boston College?
This we can’t say for sure. We have tried each week through the first eight games to get a good read on the team and coaches, and try to listen to what is going on and predict the game based on that as well as what you can gather on an opponent from afar. So far, while that has worked some weeks, it has failed others. We never look at “just the numbers”, usually, but this time “it is what it is”.
There are too many variables heading into this one to make any real “educated” prediction, in my opinion, from injuries to quarterback play to kicker for the Tigers, all the way to the mood and mental place this team and staff may be in.
Having said all of that, I will give my prediction for the outcome, and do so with a frown on my face.
Clemson 17 NC State 24