Clemson Football was pretty successful against NC State until last season.
The Tigers had won eight straight games and 15 of 16 games against the Wolfpack, but that run was cut short when NC State won in double overtime in Raleigh, NC last season
Now two more streaks are at stake. No. 5 Clemson (4-0, 2-0 ACC) enters the conference showdown against No. 10 NC State (4-0, 0-0) Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ABC) after winning 36th has won consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the nation. Clemson is riding a 10-game winning streak that is also the nation’s longest active streak.
Here’s what you should know about the matchup and a score prediction:
ROOT INTERESTClemson running back Will Shipley’s family has plenty of wolf pack blood
GAME OF THREEClemson continues to show tremendous improvements in third down opportunities
JUMP BACKClemson cornerback Nate Wiggins is determined to come strong after a tough outing
Clemson, NC State get their kick
Should there be a late field goal on Saturday evening – which is questionable given the forecast weather conditions – both teams are well prepared.
Clemson’s BT Potter and NC State’s Chris Dunn are two of the most experienced kickers in the league. Potter, a 2019 Lou Groza Award semifinalist and a member of the 2022 watchlist for the award, is Clemson’s career record holder for field goals for 40+ and 50+ yards and the only player in Clemson history to have scored 100 points in three different seasons. He’s 7-for-7 on field goals this season, including a 52-yarder against Wake Forest last week.
Dunn is the Wolfpack’s career scoring leader and has achieved all 170 PATs in his career, a school record, and ranks seventh in school history with a field goal percentage of .802. He’s 5-for-5 this season.
A Tale of Two Quarterbacks
Saturday night’s game will feature Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei and NC State’s Devin Leary featuring two of the ACC’s best quarterbacks, which could make for quite a show weather permitting.
Uiagalelei, who lost 25 pounds in the offseason, has had a complete reversal of fate; last season he had more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9), but in 2022 he has 10 touchdowns against just one interception. He’s also coming off a 371-yard play with five touchdowns at Wake Forest.
Leary isn’t quite the constant threat that Uiagalelei has become, but last year Philip Rivers broke the school record for 35 touchdown passes, including four in an overtime double win over Clemson.
Secondaries will be of primary importance
With two heavily armed quarterbacks in play, the defensive backs on both sides will be in for a challenge.
Clemson could be at a significant disadvantage if starters Sheridan Jones and Andrew Mukuba, both of whom missed last week’s Wake Forest game, are injured again. Malcolm Greene also missed the game, and Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman and his stable of receivers kept searing Clemson’s youthful backup to the tune of six touchdowns.
NC State’s high school enters high school with no injury worries and has a veterans squad that includes four seniors.
Young runners could be the key to victory
If the remnants of Hurricane Ian matter, the games in progress could play a big part, especially since Clemson’s Will Shipley and NC State’s Demie Sumo-Karngbaye are two of the ACC’s fastest rising young stars.
Shipley, a sophomore, has had 100-yard rushing plays in the past two weeks and leads the league with seven rushing touchdowns. Sumo-Karngbaye, a freshman, is the wolf pack’s lead rusher, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt.
Clemson vs NC State: Outcome Prediction
Clemson 28, NC State 24: NC State finally got over the hump last season with their wild overtime win over Clemson, but doing it again — this time in Death Valley — will be a tall order. Clemson wants revenge and extends the nation’s longest home winning streak to 37 games.