Clemson safety K’Von Wallace picked off NC State quarterback Ryan Finley for the third time in three consecutive seasons in the third-ranked Tigers’ 41-7 win over the No. 15 Wolfpack Saturday at Death Valley.
Wallace returned the interception 46 yards for what was almost a pick-six but ran into teammate Isaiah Simmons at the four-yard line. The Tigers settled for a field goal, which extended Clemson’s lead to 24-0 just before the half.
“Isaiah Simmons, he sold me,” Wallace said jokingly after the game. “He fell down on the block. He sold me. He was supposed to block the in-man and it was supposed to be a walk-in touchdown, but I love all of those guys out there. They blocked for me.”
Along with the interception Wallace also made two tackles on the day. The defense held Finley to a season low of 156 yards passing, nearly 200 yards below his season average. Jalen Williams grabbed a second interception in the third quarter.
“We just felt like we got disrespected,” Wallace said. “We were going to come out and play hard, play for our fans, play for this team. Like I’ve been saying, this is God’s team so everything we do we do for Him and we all play together as one.
“I feel like this team was hyped for the game, playing a ranked team and things of that nature, but just playing for my brothers. We were playing for each other. We love each other so that’s why we go out there to win because we play hard together.”
Over the course of the week there was trashing talking taking place along with much talk from the media about how great Finley is as a quarterback and also the talent of his wide receivers. It motivated the whole defense, especially the secondary, who had been much maligned by some in the media.
“Just certain things coaches were saying, players were saying that was on social media and things of that nature, but it is what it is. We were just worried about us. We had to put our blinders down and we came out victorious. That’s all we were worried about.”
Over the past two seasons the meetings with NC State have been close ones, but this time the Tigers left no doubt.
“Before the season even started I’ve been saying this is the best team in the country,” Wallace said. “Best defense you will see. We’re just going out there and playing, it’s what we’ve been doing. Yeah, there were some close games, Texas A&M and stuff like that, but the number one goal is to come out victorious and I feel like we did that.”