Third-ranked Clemson dominated No. 15 NC State, 41-7, in a pivotal ACC Atlantic Division contest Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers effectively shut down Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley limiting him to a season low 156 yards passing with a pair of interceptions and no touchdowns.
Clemson (7-0, 4-0) racked up 471 yards of total offense, including 380 through the air to claim its seventh straight win in the Textile Bowl over NC State (5-1, 2-1) and 14th victory in 15 meetings between the two teams.
Following each game, The Clemson Insider awards helmet stickers to players who contributed with exceptional individual performances:
Wallace showed his consistency to foil the Wolfpack’s offensive game plan, intercepting a pass against Finley for the third consecutive season. As a freshman he picked off Finley, as a sophomore he intercepted the veteran quarterback on the final drive to secure the win in Raleigh and Saturday he came up with a big interception as well to set up a field goal just before the end of the first half.
The junior returned the interception 46 yards and nearly for a touchdown before running into his teammate Isaiah Simmons at the four-yard line. The Tigers pulled out a field goal to end the first half and extend its lead to 24-0 at the break. Wallace also recorded a pair of tackles on the afternoon and locked down the Wolfpack in pass coverage.
Higgins had himself a day at wideout finishing the game with a career-high eight receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. He further cemented himself as Trevor Lawrence’s premier target in the passing game with a 46-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter to put his team up 14-0 and move all of the momentum firmly into Clemson’s grasp.
Simmons led the Tigers’ defense in tackles with 11, including eight solo tackles, he also recorded a quarterback hurry in the game. With the exception of inadvertently tackling Wallace on the interception return, Simmons further proved himself to the Clemson faithful after a rocky start to the 2018 campaign. His presence in pass coverage is consistently improving and he is a lock at filling gaps to stop the run.
Etienne had a rather underwhelming performance in the run game with 15 carries for just 39 yards, but he recorded three touchdowns on the day. The sophomore running back is just three touchdowns away from Lester Brown and Wayne Gallman’s Clemson single-season touchdown record of 17 as he recorded his 14th score of the season. He also became the first player in school history to record three touchdowns in three straight games.
Ferrell lived in the backfield in the Textile Bowl and racked up tackles in the run game. He finished the day with five tackles overall and 2.5 tackles for loss as Clemson limited the Wolfpack to 104 yards on the ground.