Defense would get the job done against NC State
When NC State got the ball with less than a minute to play and had to go 80-yards to tie the game, Clemson safety K’Von Wallace was not worried.
Granted the Wolfpack played the Clemson defense better than anyone else has all season, and quarterback Ryan Finley had picked apart a battered secondary all afternoon. However, Wallace said the defense was confident they would get the job done.
“We were confident throughout the game no matter how many times they scored,” he said. “We just had to be that dominant defense that we know we are regardless of whatever offense we are playing.”
NC State finished the game with 491 total yards and drove the ball to the Clemson 28-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play.
“That was definitely one of the best offenses we played against,” Wallace said. “We still have that chip on our shoulder that guys can go out there and make plays. We were confident, we knew we were going to get a stop, and we knew we put in the preparation in order to get that stop.”
Wallace is the one who came up with the stops. On third down, he dislodged a perfectly thrown ball down the middle of the field where it looked as if Jaylen Samuels was going to score the game-tying touchdown. But Wallace ran through the NC State star and dislodged the football to prevent the score.
On the next play, Wallace intercepted Finley’s desperation pass towards the end zone to end the game.
“I was just getting the feel for what they wanted to do and they wanted to basically take the top off the number three receiver,” Wallace said. “They were going for a seem-route because they knew what type of coverage we were in and tried to attack the middle of the field. I saw the quarterback’s eyes so I just played with instincts.”
Wallace was excited to make both plays, but he was really excited about breaking up what looked like a sure touchdown to Samuels.
“I think dislodging the ball because getting that interception, it sailed so there were a couple of guys like Trayvon (Mullen) and Van Smith that were also behind me that could’ve gotten the interception as well so I think dislodging the ball,” he said. “If he could see the play it was a sure touchdown. He caught the ball, and I just came in and made the play on it, I think that was better than anything.”
As for this week, Wallace is excited to see how he will be used as the fourth-ranked Tigers look to lock up the ACC Atlantic Division with a win over Florida State. Last week, he came in and played safety in the third quarter for an injured Tanner Muse, who is expected to play this week.
“I just prepare as a starter, as if I was going to go out there and start every play and every down,” he said. “I just embrace that mindset and contributing at any moment because you never know when your name is going to be called.”
Wallace believes Saturday’s game against the ‘Noles will be another tough test for Clemson.
“Every year playing Florida State is big for us and them as well,” he said. “It’s an ACC game as well. They’re still pretty good no matter how many losses they have or wins they have. They’ve have had a few heartbreakers, but they’re still a great team.
“They have guys that can play there and can play here as well.”
The Florida State at Clemson game kicks off at 3:30 p.m.