No. 9 Clemson travels to NC State on Saturday in an ACC Atlantic matchup at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Game time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
This is an interesting spot for Clemson (2-1), the six-time defending ACC champions under coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers needed a goal-line stand to preserve a 14-8 victory against Georgia Tech in Week 3. The offense has sputtered with new quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, and the running back Lyn-J Dixon entered the transfer portal this week. Defensive tackle Tyler Davis also is out with a biceps injury.
Does that mean NC State (2-1) has a chance? The Wolfpack bounced back from a Week 2 loss against Mississippi State with an easy 45-7 win over Furman. Devin Leary is a high-volume passer, and running back Zonovan Knight has been impressive through three games. Will that be enough to knock the Tigers off?
The Textile Bowl will answer those questions. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know to bet on Clemson-NC State:
Clemson vs. NC State odds
Three trends to know
— The Tigers have won the last eight meetings between the teams by an average of 21.9 points per game. N.C. State’s last win was a 37-13 blowout on Nov. 19, 2011.
— The Wolfpack is 2-15 S/U as a home underdog and 7-10 ATS under coach Dave Doeren since 2013.
— The Tigers are 0-3 ATS this season. Clemson is 29-3 S/U as an away favorite and 17-15 ATS in the College Football Playoff era.
Three things to watch
— D.J. Uiagalelei and Will Shipley. Dixon’s decision means Shipley, a five-star freshman, should become the focal point of the running game. Shipley has averaged 5.4 yards per offensive touch, but he has scored four TDs. That should help Uiagalelei, who has a 59.3 completion percentage and one TD pass in three games. The quick-strike vertical passing attack the Tigers are known for hasn’t been there, and NC State has allowed just 72.7 rushing yards per game. Uiagalelei needs to be better this week.
— Wolfpack must run. Knight averages 8.5 yards per carry and has formed a tag-team in the running game with Ricky Person, who averages 5.2 yards per carry. Knight has a pair of 100-yard games, but he was limited to eight carries for 31 yards in the loss to Mississippi State. Clemson’s defense remains nasty. The Tigers have allowed just 3.1 yards per carry with 21 tackles for loss and has not allowed a touchdown all season.
— Can Devin Leary make the big throws? In NC State’s last victory against Clemson, Mike Glennon hit 19 of 29 passes for 253 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. That’s the kind of line Leary would need to give NC State a chance in this game. The Wolfpack have won their last four games when Leary throws multiple TDs with one interception or less.
Stat that matters
The Tigers average just 4.8 yards per offensive play, good for No. 108 nationally. If N.C. State can limit the chunk plays and keep Uiagalelei off rhythm, it will have a chance in this game.
Clemson vs. N.C. State prediction
NC State must get off to a quick start in the running game with Knight, and Leary will take a few shots early while Clemson settles in. If NC State can limit the chunk plays and keep Uiagalelei off rhythm, then it should be a one-score game at halftime. Clemson, however, has not allowed an offensive TD through three games. Bryan Bresee leads another strong defensive effort, and the Tigers cover the 9.5-point spread.
Final score: Clemson 28, N.C. State 16
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