We escaped from Raleigh unscathed with all of our playoff hopes intact. We will head into the Florida State game undefeated.
The final score was a curious 56-41. It was not pretty but, the mission was accomplished nonetheless. We should give N.C. State credit for bringing the fight to us and fighting until the bitter end.
Clemson racked up a season high 625 yards of total offense in the game.
ScElliot delivered another well designed gameplan by starting the game attacking the corners with Gallman and pulling guards. We marched down the field with four scripted plays and Watson scored on a QB Lead play that ended up being a nice counter to the outside runs from Gallman.
After we got past the scripted plays, we had a lull of offensive production where we had to settle for a couple FGs and a couple punts. The offensive turning point in the game was when it looked like NCS was going to take a lead in to the locker room at halftime. We got the ball back with 0:48 to go in the half, but we only needed 0:15 and 2 plays to score. Watson hit Peake, who definitely pushed off, for a long TD that allowed us to recapture the lead for good.
We came out to start the 2nd half and reestablished Gallman which opened up a Heisman level passing display out of Watson. Watson ended up 23/30 for 389 yards, 5 TDs and 0 INTs. Watson added 54 yards rushing and a TD on 14 carries as well.
Wayne Gallman was a workhorse in this game. Gallman carried the ball a whopping 31 times in the game. Credit the OL for providing enough push to where we could find the consistency in the running game to open up the offense. We needed every bit of it in this game. The OL wasn't opening up gigantic holes but, they were getting enough push to where Gallman was making consistent gains and keeping the offense on schedule.
The Freshman WRs (Cain, McCloud, and Renfrow) are beginning to assert themselves. All of the sudden we're not missing Mike Williams as much as we were a month ago. After three excellent offensive performances in a row, it's safe to say that the offense we thought we were going to see at the beginning of the year has arrived.
This was simply not a defensive effort to be proud of if you're a Tiger defender. This was an ugly win where I have to question the effort level and focus on defense. This game was a disappointment after we had played so well defensively in every other game this season.
We had more missed run fits in this game than we have had all year. We were not focused. We missed assignments and I saw a lack of effort out there in this game. A couple times it was egregious. The safeties, in particular, had moments of less than 100% effort that were completely obvious. Did Miami's bad habits rub off on these guys or something? B.J. Goodson, Kevin Dodd, Tank, and Mac can be exempted from the "lack of effort list" at this time
Ben Boulware was isolated in man coverage and pretty much owned by NCS receivers in this game. On a 3rd and 1 play, he got caught peeking into the backfield and allowing his man to run a wheel unguarded for a TD. BB was feast or famine in this game. While he was getting beat time and time again in coverage, he also had his first sack of the year on a blitz and also allowed Goodson to be able to force a fumble on Brissett on another blitz.
The DTs were less than dominant in this game and, I barely remember a DT making a play at all.
Many times it seemed like the defense was about to have a big stop and then NC State would make a play and take momentum right back. Finally, with 3:13 left, the defense got their big stop when Tankersley broke up a 4th down pass in the endzone.
This was a mess and a nightmare game for special teams.
We had two extra point kicks blocked. We gave up a TD on a kick return. We were clueless that they might try an onside kick in the 4th quarter. The punting was poor as it has been all year.
Huegel did make all three of his FG attempts, so that was a positive. Also, credit Hunter Renfrow for being aggressive and leaving his feet to go get the ball on the 2nd onside kick.
We have made it to the Florida State game undefeated. We have the opportunity to do something we haven't done in 34 years and that's be in the National Championship picture in November. Take a moment and think about that. It's a wonderful amazing thing as a Clemson fan to be in this situation after all these years of waiting, hoping, and (you know that word that won't be said).
Will The Tigers play with confidence next Saturday, believe in themselves, have fun and seize the moment, or will the moment be too big for them as it was last year at FSU? Let's get over this hump. Lord knows we deserve it.
This is a very bittersweet post for me as it is going to be my last post here at STS. It has become time for me to move on. Brian has allowed me to create a fanpost at some point next week where I'll leave a trail of crumbs to where you can find me. I would like to say thanks to Brian Goodison for allowing me to post here. It has been a blast writing and commenting with you all about something that I am greatly passionate about, Clemson sports. I want to thank all the writers as well for being awesome. Go Tigers!