Countdown to Kickoff: No. 5 Clemson at NC State

Countdown to Kickoff: No. 5 Clemson at NC State


Countdown to Kickoff: No. 5 Clemson at NC State


Fifth-ranked Clemson looks for its 10th win of the season when it travels to Raleigh, North Carolina Saturday to take on ACC rival NC State.

The Tigers have won 10 or more games in each of the last eight seasons, and one more win will put them in a tie with Texas for the third longest streak of 10-win seasons in the history of college football.

Game Information

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina

Records: Clemson 9-0, 6-0 ACC; NC State 4-4, 1-3 ACC)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor)

Radio: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, C.J. Spiller, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather). SiriusXM 81

Latest Line: Clemson minus-31.5 points

Series History

  • OVERALL: Clemson leads 58-28-1
  • HOME: Clemson leads 29-11-1
  • ROAD: Clemson leads 21-16
  • NEUTRAL: Clemson leads 8-1
  • LAST MEETING: Oct. 20, 2018 (41-7, Clemson)
  • STREAK: Clemson, Won 7

Three story lines

Depending on the results of an earlier contest, the game could present an opportunity for Clemson to clinch a berth in the ACC Championship Game. A Clemson victory preceded by a Wake Forest loss to Virginia Tech would clinch the ACC Atlantic crown for Clemson for the fifth consecutive season.

In all, 12 NC State players are out for the season due to injury. Nowhere has that impact been felt more than at cornerback, where they have already lost three players for the year and another, senior Nick McCloud, has missed the majority of the season with a knee injury. Taiyon Palmer (knee), Chris Ingram (knee) and Teshaun Smith (shoulder) are all out for the season, while McCloud has missed most of the year after he injured his left knee in a win over East Carolina early in the season. Three of the four season captains have missed a combined 15 games. NC State has started 40 different players this season, the second-highest total in the Power 5.

Clemson, the defending national champions, come into the game ranked No. 5 by the College Football Playoff Committee this week. The Tigers will be hungry to prove to the committee and the country on national television they are one of the top four teams in the country. Clemson entered the season as the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the AP and Coaches Polls, however slipped to No. 4 and No. 3 in both despite positing a perfect 9-0 record and beating their opposition by an average margin of 32.6 points.

NC State’s three players to watch

Devin Leary, QB: Leary got the start at quarterback against Wake Forest, he was the third Wolfpack player to start at that position in the first eight games of 2019.  It marks the first time in school history that three different QBs made their first career starts in a single season for the Wolfpack. Leary was the first redshirt freshman to start a game at quarterback for the Pack since Russell Wilson in 2008. He was also the first QB – regardless of class – to have his first career start on the road since Wilson (the 2008 season opener at South Carolina).

Louis Acceus, LB: Acceus is having quite the season for the Wolfpack. Acceus ranks second on the team in tackles with 50 for the season. He has tallied 28 stops in the past three games. He has really turned it up versus the ACC, with 35 of his 50 tackles coming in the past four games.

Trenton Gill, P: A former walk-on who was put on scholarship right before the season started. Through the first half of the season, Gill ranks second in the ACC in punting with a 47.2 mark, the sixth-best mark in the FBS and a mark that would be a Wolfpack single-season record if the season ended today.


NC State is literally beat up heading into Saturday’s game. The injury situation is so bad, NC State head coach Dave Doeren had to stop their weekly developmental practice periods, where players who are redshirting and younger backups get a chance to work with their position coaches instead of with the scout team. The reason? So many of the guys who should be on the developmental squad are now having to play. Clemson is coming in as a team on a mission knowing it has to keep winning in order to own a playoff spot. The playoff starts Saturday for the Tigers and they will not take it easy on a beat-up NC State team.

Score prediction: Clemson 45, NC State 13

–Clemson and NC State Athletic Communications contributed to this story

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