When you look at where the Clemson defense is most vulnerable, it has been their inability to stop their opponents passing attack.
Surprisingly, the Tigers rank 48th nationally in Total Defense heading into Week 5, giving up an average of 347.2 yards per game. With a Rush Defense that ranks 8th nationally (78.5 yards per game), Clemson’s Pass Defense, which ranks 104th (267.8 yards per game), is what pushes the Tiger Defense up near 50th in Total Defense.
Opponents Passing Efficiency against Clemson has been 139.64, which ranks 92nd nationally.
Logically, looking at the data above, the game plan for Saturday night would be to unleash Devin Leary. The question is, how much will either team be able to effectively throw the ball with Hurricane Ian moving through the southeast region of the United States this weekend.
If the game is played in a downpour, it will likely come down to who can run the ball better, and both teams will be facing a defense that ranks in the Top-10 nationally in Rush Defense. As stated before, Clemson ranks 8th, and NC State ranks 10th, giving up 81.8 yards per game.
Thankfully for the Wolfpack, Junior Running Back Jordan Houston, who missed last weeks game against UCONN, will be back, as will Redshirt Freshman Demie Sumo-Karngbaye, who sat out the second half against the Huskies.
Last year, in the Wolfpack’s 27-21 2OT victory over the Tigers in Carter-Finley, Leary was 32/44 (72.7%) for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 0 interceptions. That was against a Clemson Defense that finished 2021 ranked 34th in Pass Defense (208.8), 8th in Total Defense (306.3) and 2nd in Scoring Defense (14.8).
Leary hasn’t been as efficient through 4 games in 2022 as he was in 2021, but he’s a gamer. He’s not scared of Clemson. Hopefully weather will permit the Wolfpack quarterback to expose the weakness of the Tiger defense.
Ben Finley After He Led NC State to a Win Over #17 UNC: BULLETED
Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Ben Finley defied the odds and led NC State to a 30-27 win over #17 UNC yesterday. He spoke with the media after the game, and you can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- I think he [Ryan Finley] went 2-0 here in Carter-Finley West [Kenan Stadium].
- But just having my 1st start and being able to go out there with the guys and get the W, this is the greatest feeling ever.
- 5 weeks ago I was the 4th-string Quarterback messing around on the Scout Team.
- I was still getting better, and having those guys still trust me when I came back up.
- It just means the world to have the support from the entire team. They just played so well.
- The defense. The offensive line gave me so much time. It was like I was just camping back there. It was awesome.
- My roommate [Matt McCabe], who starts on our artillery, which is just the PAT and field goal unit, we were like ‘dude, the 1st week against ECU, there’s no way we would have thought we both would have been starting at UNC.’ It’s unreal.
- I was just running around trying to hug everyone. I grabbed an NC State flag and planted it on the field, as I should have.
- The nerves go away when you take the 1st hit.
- It helped to get that lead at 7-0.
- Leading up to the game if you’re not nervous then something is wrong with you.
- I was a little nervous, but it’s just football.
- It’s his [Devin Carter] 1st week back in a while.
- To be honest, I haven’t thrown a pass to Devin Carter in probably over a year-and-a-half.
- It’s like that with Thayer Thomas and Darryl Jones.
- I had never thrown a pass to Darryl until last week in Louisville.
- It’s just kind of weird. It’s like I’m playing on an All-Star team or something. I’ve just got ballers everywhere.
- We knew if we got this win at UNC that it would be a big old band-aid on the season. Any time you can beat your rivals, especially at their home on Senior Night, it’s just huge.
- You can never doubt yourself.
- To be able to persevere, that’s the biggest thing in life. Things are going to happen to you.
- Just keep fighting and climbing up the hill. You never reach the pinnacle of the mountain.
- You’ve just got to keep climbing and getting better. That’s what our entire team does. We’re just constantly fighting.
- It [being on the Scout Team] definitely helped with some of the throw windows and being comfortable in the pocket.
- It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
- I definitely thought the game was going to be pretty slow when I got out there last week in Louisville and this week, and it wasn’t. With the scout team you let up.
- You don’t get tackled. I haven’t taken a hit in three years. It was just kind of getting back into that.
- But my O-line, I don’t even look like I’ve played a game. My jersey is pristine white. Any time you can go and just camp back there and deliver the ball, it’s a privilege.
- It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
- I wanted to graduate from NC State [didn’t consider transferring from NC State]. That’s huge.
- I graduate in December. That’s going to be really important for me to get my degree here.
- I never tried to get into UNC, but according to Drake [Maye] I couldn’t have. It’s good that I get a nice degree from NC State in finance and go from there.
- I had to find my parents. I love them so much, and they’ve just been such a big part of my life.
- They’re the best parents that anyone could ask for. They show constant support.
- Even when I was fourth string they were coming to every single game. The last three years they haven’t missed a game. I love them so much.
- The least I can do is go over and celebrate with them. I’m definitely going to be continuing that celebration when I get home.
- It was Terrell Timmons [was his go-to receiver on the Scout Team], and then I got him moved up. We were just tearing up the defense. He was bumped up.
- Then it was Jalen Coit.
- My tight ends were ballers. We were balling. Wake Forest was fun with that slow mesh.
- I’m glad I could do that, but it’s a team win.
- I made some crucial mistakes that I wish I could get back that I’ll learn from.
- It was the entire team, starting with Chris Dunn.
Jack [Chambers] went in there and put that 1st touchdown in.
- Our defense was making stops. It was so fun watching our defense out there.
- This is a big-time NC State win no UNC’s Senior Day. It’s not a Ben Finley win.
- Oh yeah [wants to be the starter at NC State next year].
- I’ve got 3 years of eligibility to play, which is crazy that I’m going to be in college just as long as my brother and he was in college for like 20 years.
- I want to keep playing football. I love this game. I love this team. I love this school.
Dave Doeren Loves NC State and Hates UNC, & He Ain’t Shy About It
Say what you want about Dave Doeren, but what can’t be denied is that he LOVES NC State, and he HATES UNC.
The following quote of Doeren shared during the broadcast of the game should warm the hearts of Wolfpack Nation. Salty Dave is my favorite Dave.
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Dave Doeren: “They don’t like us, we hate them. We’re blue collar, they’re elitist. Their coaches talk down to us, they talk behind our backs to recruits”
Reporter: “Is this on or off the record?”
Dave MF Doeren: “I DON’T GIVE A ****”
— Barstool Pack (@BarstoolPack) November 26, 2022
Also, you’ve freaking got to love Dave ripping off his hoodie with a “Light it RED” T-Shirt on underneath.
Ladies and gentlemen…Dave Doeren pic.twitter.com/xHChdFWzv1
— Travon Miles (@TrayABC11) November 26, 2022
The raw emotion, the love his players have for him, and his evident love he has for them is palpable.
In closing, Doeren’s dance moves…someone teach this man the Griddy. But his players love his dance moves, and they make my kids laugh.
Light. It. Red. pic.twitter.com/zZUUD8dyZg
— NC State Football (@PackFootball) November 26, 2022
Doeren has led the Wolfpack to two back-to-back drama filled victories over the Heels he (and we) hate, and has won 5 of the last 7 against the boys in blue that play in Carter-Finley West.
Dave Doeren’s Postgame Press Conference After Win Over #17 UNC
NC State Head Football Coach Dave Doeren met with the media for his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack defeated #17 UNC in Chapel Hill today in 2OT. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- What a game. Heck of a win. Super proud of our players and staff. It was awesome. What a football game.
- Coach Brown and his team battled back.
- The Quarterback for them is a really good football player.
- Our guys are just resilient. They’ve got a lot of grit and heart. They just find a way to win. That’s what we did.
- I’m thankful to be with these guys. It’s been a hard month.
- I can’t even put into words for you guys how hard this month has been for me.
- It’s a great way to finish the season. I’m very thankful. Give God the glory.
- I can’t wait to enjoy a Saturday of college football with no stress, just relaxing with my family. It’s a hell of a win.
- I don’t think people understand what Derrek Pitts had to do today [moved from Corner to Nickel].
- They casted him up. He’s got a bad wrist sprain and played.
- Jalen Frazier has been a 3rd-string and 4th-string guy all year, and he came in and gave us valuable minutes.
- Derrek Pitts. They did a great job on Josh Downs. We all know how good of a player he is. To keep him from scoring, they did a really good job at the nickel position.
- We missed Tyler Baker-Williams. We missed Jakeen Harris and Devan Boykin. All three nickels were out.
- So, it was pretty impressive that Derrek could go in there and have the recall he did.
- He was the nickel for Tony [Gibson] back at West Virginia back in the day.
- I gave everybody a game ball, but if not he would have been one of the guys that got singled out today.
- We needed Devin [Carter].
- He’s a guy who can make contact catches, and they’ve got big corners.
- He came up with a big play for us there to get the lead.
- He had a lot of contact catches that we needed to make.
- Obviously we had another one there at the end and didn’t.
- It’s good to have Devin back. We were hoping that we had Trent Pennix, too, but it just didn’t last.
- I think it’s a great lesson for people out there that you don’t give up, you keep working.
- Ben [Finley] could have easily been one of these Quarterbacks who jumped in the portal when he didn’t get what he thought he was going to get.
- Instead he was a great teammate. He went down and serviced the defense.
- I bet that the 10 weeks down there made him the player that you’re looking at right now.
- Going against that defense day-in-and-day-out has helped him see the game a little bit slower.
- Our defense does a lot and presents a lot of things, and he has to see that every day as the scout team quarterback.
- I’m super proud of him. I can’t say enough about him stepping in and taking care of the football and doing a lot of good things for us.
His brother was undefeated here. That’s cool to keep the tradition going for the Finleys. I can’t say enough about Ben and his performance today.
- I think we had 8 starters out at one point last week.
- The week before I felt like the game was taken from us more than we lost it, to be honest. So, I don’t know that it reshapes anything.
- I think it just proves the staying power that our guys have and the resiliency, grit, toughness, love.
- I told them all week that nobody is going to care about anything other than this win when we win this game. This will make a lot of things feel better.
- It’s a 365-day you-know-what sandwich that the other school gets to eat.
- We didn’t want to eat it. We wanted to have that. We wanted to finish with that pride.
- That’s what happens with rivalry games. One team gets to feel good for a year and the other team doesn’t. It’s a great job by our guys finishing.
- Yeah. ‘Light It Red’ [his t-shirt underneath his hoodie].
- That’s what we do when there’s a celebration.
- I actually wear this quite a bit underneath my top, and I just got excited.
- I wanted to go over there. I heard our fans cheering, which was awesome.
- Our parent section was great. I just wanted to go over there and thank them and get excited with them.
- I did talk about it. It’s not really a state championship because we didn’t get to play Duke.
- But we did beat all 3 teams in state: ECU, Wake Forest and UNC.
- It’s awesome to have that as part of the year, and obviously that helps in recruiting.
NC State 30 #17 UNC 27 (2OT): Highlight Reel and Condensed Game
Check out the highlight reel and condensed game from today’s Wolfpack victory over #17 UNC in Chapel Hill in Double Overtime, with NC State winning 30-27.