If you tuned in to this week’s Thursday evening contest between the Clemson Tigers and NC State Wolfpack in the hopes of seeing some “Clemsoning”, don’t begin your party just yet, but be on high alert because the third-ranked Tigers are struggling early on the road in Raleigh.
Clemson leads just 13-7 at the end of the first half of action on ESPN against an NC State squad that struggled against Richmond in their last outing.
Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons for the close affair so far has been the play of the NC State defensive line. They’ve sacked Boyd three times in the first half, and have continuously brought the pressure in the Heisman contender’s face.
It’s also a testament to the credibility–or lack thereof–of this Clemson offensive line. They were criticized mildly following the impressive win over Georgia, and they’re getting exposed once again under the bright Thursday night lights.
Boyd has also been inconsistent on his part, as this game could be well on its way to getting out of hand at this point. However, twice in the half, Boyd missed wide open receivers down the middle of the field, including Sammy Watkins for what would have been an easy score. Boyd is 15-of-26 in the first half for 144 yards, including the go-ahead scoring pass to TE Sam Cooper late in the second.
NC State, on the other hand, has done just enough to stay in this game and perhaps replicate some of the upset magic this program has produced before against top-ranked teams.
Wolfpack QB Pete Thomas is 8-of-12 for 91 yards, while splitting time with freshman Bryant Shirreffs, whom Dave Doeren is using sporadically in running packages.
Without a doubt, the highlight for NC State on offense was the 21-yard TD run by RB Shadrach Thornton early on in the second quarter, which capped off an impressive seven play, 92-yard drive. Thornton, who was suspended to begin the season, seemingly carried every Clemson defender into the end zone with him.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Wolfpack can hang in there just long enough to give us all some excitement early on here in Week 4 of the college football season.