Clemson Tigers vs. N.C. State Wolfpack
Date and Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Opening College Football Odds: Clemson -7
Clemson vs. N.C. State TV Coverage: ABC
The non-conference slate was brutal to N.C. State this season. The Wolfpack kicked off the year by getting beaten by South Carolina, and now, their 35-14 loss at Notre Dame ended any realistic hopes of playing for a National Championship.
That said, the Wolfpack are playing meaningful games in November, and no one thought they'd be ranked after having played against South Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame with just one of those games (Louisville) being played at home.
It didn't help that leading rusher Nyheim Hines only carried the ball two times against the Irish before leaving with a leg injury. Still, the ground game wasn't the problem in general; the fact that the Wolfpack couldn't slow down Josh Adams was.
The Tigers have to be salivating watching that tape of the Notre Dame game. The Wolfpack let Adams and the Irish run for 318 yards on 54 carries. If Kelly Bryant can have a game similar to what Brandon Wimbush had at 10-for-19 for 104 yards with two touchdowns, Clemson is going to walk out of Raleigh as a solid victor.
Let's remember that this moment hasn't been too big for Clemson in the past. The Tigers already have road wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech this season, and though those teams have proven to be mere paper tigers, at the time, those victories were as big as it gets in college football.
The biggest thing N.C. State has done this season against the teams it has beaten is hang in there through the first 30 minutes. The proverbial storm has to be weathered in order to stay in title fights like this one, and the Wolfpack are going to have to do that again in this one.
For one reason or another, the second quarter is Clemson's slowest offensive quarter. The team only averaged 6.8 points per game in the second stanza this year, a far cry from NCSU's 10.6 points per game. The Wolfpack lost the second quarter by a touchdown against the Irish last week, and if they ultimately head into the dressing room off of a bad second quarter against Clemson, we suspect the same fate is going to be set to befell them.
Clemson vs. N.C. State Free Picks
We didn't really know much about Kelly Bryant before the start of the season, but he's proving to be a tough son of a gun and a man who is a natural leader at the quarterback position.
N.C. State has been a nice story, but it's time for this saga to come to an end. This is a team that was inflated based on victories against teams that are now last and next-to-last in the ACC Atlantic Division. Take those wins away, and what's left is an N.C. State team whose signature victory is probably at Pittsburgh.
This Clemson team is no joke, and we think it's set to make a big statement on Saturday. The Wolfpack could have problems running the ball in Hines is out, and trying to run a one-dimensional offense against one of the best defenses in the nation isn't going to end well.
College Football ATS Pick: Clemson -7 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Clemson 41, N.C. State 17